It’s starting to heat up around the country, and whilst we are all excited to enjoy some time on the bike over the summer break, it is important to take certain precautions when riding in hot weather.
With this in mind, we’ve put together a few quick tips to help keep you safe and happy on the bike this summer.
The golden rule for hydration is ‘drink before you’re thirsty’. If you’re planning a big ride in hot weather you should be consciously topping up your fluids the day before and sipping steadily on the ride, from start to finish.
For long rides on hot days, you should always take an extra water bottle. Some riders even like to take one bottle straight from the freezer, so they can use it to cool down throughout the day.
TIP: Water is great, but electrolyte-rich drinks containing sodium, potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium, calcium and B-vitamins are proven to be even more effective in assisting hydration and rehydration. You can get all types of electrolyte supplements, in tablet, liquid, powder or gel forms.
Wearing the right protective gear on a hot day can be critical in avoiding overheating and fatigue. A sunburn does more than burn your skin, it drains your energy and increases your metabolism – which means even more water is required to stay hydrated.
You should do everything in your power to protect your skin whilst riding in the sun. This includes sunscreen (reapplying every 2 hours at least) as well as riding gear with built in sun protection.
TIP: It is a good idea to wear a cap under your helmet to protect your head from the sun! Your clothing colour choice is also important, with black colour schemes absorbing rather than reflecting heat, so it's best to go for white or pale colours in summer.
It doesn’t matter how fit you are, our bodies need time to get used to the heat. Jumping straight into hot weather riding before your body has acclimatised to the heat will lead to physical exhaustion and a higher risk of injury.
Instead, you should make sure you start your summer riding early or late in the day when the weather is cooler, and let your body get used to the heat when the sun is at its highest and you are off the bike.
Planning ahead is always important for longer rides – even more so when hot weather is at hand. You should do research on your course and find out if there are cafes, restaurants, toilets or water stations along the way. It is also important to let loved ones know where you are riding, and always carry your mobile phone!
Planning ahead also involves packing extra sunscreen, water, electrolytes and anything else that may help you out when the sun is beating down on you.
When riding in fire season, it is important to understand the risks in the region before you set off on your ride, and always avoid areas of high risk on hot and windy days. Bike riders are particularly vulnerable in bush and grassfire conditions.