By Meg Ausen
WE Bike to Jacob Riis Beach!
This heat wave, huh? For most of July we have existed in temperatures in the upper 90s and humidity upwards of 60 percent. We have pedaled past endless mountains of hot trash and found ourselves surrounded by countless numbers of buses and cars, each radiating enough heat to make us feel like we are baking in a kiln, while they drive out of the city to escape this stupid heat. July is behind us but August has only begun – how can WE beat the heat while simultaneously staying active on our bikes?
- LIQUIDS! Liquids top the list. If your thirst is only quenched with a cool beverage, WE suggest putting your water bottles in the freezer the night before you ride. Or pop some ice cubes into your water bottles before heading out the door. Also try adding some cucumbers, mint, basil, lemon verbena, ginger, chamomile, pineapple, watermelon, lemon/lime, etc etc etc for a refreshing twist! Drink LOTS and often. Add some electrolytes into the mix, because you lose a lot of those in this kind of heat and they are vital to your body’s performance.
- Moisture wicking fabric dramatically alters a cyclist’s comfort level in hot temperatures. Particularly in high humidity, staying dry helps with your body’s cooling process. Body temperature regulation becomes more important at the extremes which is why this fabric is so helpful. If you are not able to get your hands on some moisture wicking fabric, wear loose fitting and breathable materials. Breathable materials are important for every body part you cover, including your seat and your crotch. Saddle sores often become more common when your skin doesn’t have the chance to breathe, and nothing ruins a ride like a saddle sore (or several)!
- Cover up! This may sound counterintuitive, but with the right fabric, covering your arms and back can help. Not only does it protect you from a sun burn, but prolonged exposure to the sun increases the chances for sun stroke and heat exhaustion. Talk to someone at your local bike shop for recommendations for long-sleeved jerseys or consider a pair of sun sleeves.
- Get off your bike and take more breaks. This takes some advanced planning so that you can still get from point a to point b on time, but WE suggest dismounting more often and finding shade (multitask: this is also a great time to drink fluids) more often during the summer. If you can, get into some air conditioning while dismounted.
- Accessorize with a cold, wet bandana around your neck and/or under your helmet (if it fits comfortably under your helmet).
- Wear sunglasses – the sun and wind tires our eyes!
- Reapply sun screen often.
- Put your bike clothes in the freezer prior to putting them on for a ride.
We often find ourselves in discomfort or pain when it’s too late. By following these tips you can prevent the heat from ruining your day and continue to enjoy your ride! Have ideas of your own? Please feel free to post on the Female Bike Forum presented by WE Bike NYC.