10 tips for cycling in hot weather
Cycling in the summer has its rewards, but it can also be challenging. Over the years at Swinnerton Cycles, we have collected some tips and tricks that will help you stay cool and at peak performance in the warmer months.
1. Stay hydrated
This is a tip that sounds obvious, but it is one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to cycling in the summer. Making sure that you have water on hand when the sun is beating down, and you are exercising will allow you to replenish throughout the ride.
One way to check whether or not you are dehydrated is to check the colour of your urine. If it is a darker colour, you will need to drink more; however, if it is clear, you should be good to go.
Top Tip: Make sure that you take a sip at regular intervals during your ride. If you only drink when you are thirsty, it is too late.
Topping up your water levels in small amounts regularly, will feel more comfortable on your body rather than excessive volumes in one drink.
Browse our selection of hydration equipment, which includes everything from hydration backpacks to water bottles you can lock to your bike whilst on the go.
2. Wear suncream
Even on overcast days, the sun can still beat down on you through the clouds and leave you with sunburn and even sunstroke. To combat this, make sure that you apply sunscreen before your ride and regularly throughout the day.
You can expect a t-shirt tan when cycling in the summer, but to minimise the risk of sunburn, heatstroke, and even skin cancer from excessive ultraviolet exposure, make sure you apply the cream on exposed body parts. Ensuring that you cover your face, shoulders, arms, legs, and neck with cream is vital for longer cycles throughout the day. Make sure you keep some suncream close to you for reapplication.
3. Dress appropriately
When heading out on your bike, make sure that you wear appropriate clothing for the journey. At Swinnerton Cycles, we have a range of lightweight cycling clothing that is ideal for summer rides.
When searching for summer cycling clothing, you should look for breathable garments that allow your body to cool naturally. Consider adding a base layer when heading out, as this will help soak the sweat from your body and regulate your body temperature.
4. Don’t go super hard
We know the frustration of wanting to push harder when you train, but in the summer months make sure that you take it easy when you first set off on your journey.
Your body needs to acclimatise to the heat, so taking it steady within the first ten minutes of cycling will allow your body to get to grips with the temperature.
If you do decide to go full throttle, you may experience dizziness and nausea. Gradually work up to your full pace and enjoy your surroundings.
5. Take a break
One way to make sure you don’t burn out when cycling in the heat is to take regular pit stops. Whether you decide to refuel with a visit to a coffee shop, ice cream or even just a sip of water by the roadside – taking a break can be beneficial.
Not only will a break whilst cycling allow your body to recover, but it also allows you to take in your surroundings. This is especially useful if you are taking a track that you haven’t ridden before. Pause, take some pictures and soak up the atmosphere and fresh air.
6. Eat before you train
You will know how important it is to fuel your body correctly before training or taking a ride. Cycling can burn a lot of calories, and cycling in hot conditions; you can expect to burn even more.
When in hot conditions, you can burn carbohydrates very quickly. To make sure you don’t deplete your sources, have a light snack or a small meal before you set off on your ride.
If you don’t, you may feel light-headed and won’t be able to train or ride to the best of your ability, and with enjoyment – you’ll just be thinking about your empty stomach.
7. Avoid midday training
The sun is at its peak from 11 am to 3 pm. Try to avoid cycling in this window, if possible, as during this window, you will find temperatures are at their highest, and you will be exposed to the sun.
A better alternative is early morning or mid-evening to ride. Why not watch the sunset or rise whilst on your bike?
8. Try indoor cycling
If the weather is too hot for you to handle, there are other ways of getting your cycling fix into your day. Try indoor cycling at your local gym, where you will be able to train harder than you would be able to in the warm conditions outside.
Alternatively, you could use the warmer weather as an excuse to try a different form of exercise, such as weight training or swimming.
9. Watch out for the road surface
If you are a cyclist who likes to take to the road on your expeditions, it is important to keep an eye out for the road surface when cycling in warmer conditions.
Watch out for excessive gravel and loose segments of the road as well as potholes. These can all be a cyclist’s worst enemy in the summer months and can cause accidents very easily. Ensure that you keep a lookout on the terrain when summer cycling, especially for those potholes that can cause some nasty scrapes and grazes!
10. Cooldown correctly
When your ride comes to an end, you’re going to be hot and sweaty. This is why it is important to cool down in the right way.
Make sure you have an active cool down by continuing to move your legs and walk around. If you choose to sit immediately after a ride, you can start to feel dizzy from the blood pooling in your legs. To encourage blood circulation throughout the body, walk and refuel your body with snacks. You’ve earned them!