Traveling cross country and living full time in Florida I have done my share of riding in the heat. On two occasions I have traveled the southwest in the dead of summer. Had I not prepared ahead of time I would have looked like eggs fried on the asphalt. Even everyday riding in summer in Florida can be a challenge to stay cool. Here are some things I learned along the way that might be helpful if you are planning a road trip this summer. (that’s me on the left)
- Wear a wick away long sleeve shirt. It keeps the sun off of you and keeps you from getting sunburned. It doesn’t make you any hotter than you already are but protects you from some of the elements and will keep you cooler.
- Carry 2 cooling towels. You can find these at Walmart, Target, etc for approx. $10 or less. The night before you head out, soak the towels in water and place them in separate plastic bags, and place them in the freezer. Last thing before you head out in the AM place them in a small cooler or your saddle bag and when you feel the heat is getting a bit much, stop and place one around your neck, it provides an area of cooling that is near blood vessels which is going to and from the core of your body. You will notice a difference.
- Drink PLENTY OF WATER I can’t stress this enough. Even if water isn’t your drink of choice it’s what your body needs on a ride in extreme heat. I have a cup holder and a stainless steel thermos I carry on my bike. I fill it full of ice and then add water. It may not look pretty but I am able to stay hydrated while I’m riding. Somehow I don’t relish the thought of crashing the bike because of heat stroke.
- Take breaks more often. This may put a bit of a crunch in your ride schedule but so will ending up in the hospital with heat stroke. We tend to get up at the crack of dawn and head out. It minimizes your time in the heat for the day.
- In 2016 I spent 3 weeks touring the south west. It was that trip I decided to purchase a cooling vest. LOVE IT! They are not expensive and it kept my core cool for several hours at a time. I did the same thing with it as I did with my neck coolers every night before bed, wet it and freeze it.
So I know there are many more tips and tricks for riding in the summer heat but those are just a few of my personal ones. I hope you all have a safe and memorable summer riding season.