Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t worry as much about heat as we would in other parts of the country. But maybe our weather is getting warmer, or maybe you’ll be riding further inland, where it can get very hot indeed. These tips might remind you how to ride safely in very hot weather.
When it’s hot, the body cools itself by sweating. The sweat evaporates and that cools the body. That’s why it’s good to wear vented gear or textile mesh. The wind generated as you ride evaporates the sweat. However, when your body loses more water to sweat than it takes in, you can get dehydrated. You might not be aware of increasing dehydration until you feel nauseous and dizzy. Should that happen, take it as a sign that’s it’s just too hot to ride farther. Pull over, drink water, and rest until you recover.
In addition to vented or mesh jackets and pants, remember to wear vented gloves. Riding without gloves may seem “cool,” but, should you have a fall, you can really wreck your hands.
Choose an under-layer that wicks moisture away from your body so it can evaporate more quickly. What’s worse than feeling hot? Feeling hot and clammy.
If you’re still wearing a clunky, nearly air-tight helmet, consider getting one of the newer, lightweight, fully vented helmets that will keep you cooler.
Be sure to take plenty of non-alcoholic liquid along when you go. Bring sunscreen and, if you’ll be in the sun when you’re not riding, consider packing a light, long-sleeved shirt and a hat. If you’ve got allergies—like to bee stings—bring your Epipen.