We here on Marco Island are pretty much used to the heat and the humidity during the summer months and beyond, nevertheless it can still get pretty hot out there. But don’t let that discourage you from riding your bicycle. Whether you just want to do a leisure ride around the neighborhood or you are going for a long distance ride, here are some hints on how cyclists can beat the heat and stay cool.
1. Choose the right clothes to wear: Choose clothing that allows perspiration to evaporate quickly, so that pretty much will rule out cotton and silk, they absorb and hold on to sweat. The best choice is “technical” fabrics like spandex or lycra. These will wick the moisture instead. Some technical fabrics also use a level of SPF to block out sunrays. You don’t have to wear exactly the type of outfits you see Lance and his fellow cyclists wear, but something similar will keep you much cooler and dryer.
2. Water bottles: First drink LOTS of water. If you have water bottle mounts on your bicycle you can store one or even two bottles on your bike. If not, put them in a handlebar mounted basket or bag. For colder water longer, try freezing the water the night before, usually about halfway is good. Anything more than that will crack your bottles as they freeze and expand. The ice will melt as you ride, offering you cold water along the way, instead of the too warm stuff that’s not so refreshing. There are also water bottles designed that are insulated to keep the water cooler longer.
3. Squirting water on your head: If you are going on the longer rides it is nice to have that extra water bottle cage to use for squirting water on your head. About every 15-20 minutes or so just squirt a little water through the vent of your helmet, the initial zap of water will help in the temperature relief. Next the evaporation effect will continue to keep you cool as the water dries by carrying heat away from your body as you ride. Just remember to have access to enough water during your ride!
4. Bandanas: A great and simple way to keep cool is by wrapping a water soak bandana around your neck. Another nice little trick is to fold a bandana in half, stitch up the two sides, leave one side open, stuff with ice cubes and wrap around your neck. Now that’s an intense and lasting chill, and it’s refreshing as the ice melts down your back and chest! It’s also easy to replenish the ice.
Now that you have a few ideas on how to keep from getting overheated and staying cool, get out and ride!!! Enjoy the summer, and lastly—remember SUNSCREEN!!