With the spring and summer months comes better weather and, for a lot people, more time on their bike! But just because the rain and mud are gone doesn’t mean that you have nothing to worry about. Rising Portland temperatures can be very dangerous and heading out for a ride in the summer heat takes some planning and precautions in order to remain safe and responsible.
It’s best to wear breathable fabrics to allow for greater air flow around your body. If you’re not too keen on sweat-wicking jerseys, you can go casual by choosing lighter weight materials such as cotton. If you do go the tight-knit Lycra route, make sure there’s plenty of built-in ventilation.
Aside from making you look cool, sunglasses will also shield your eyes from the glare of the sun, as well as provide protection against any dust or debris that may be present in the air.
To deflect the hot summer sun, we recommend wearing a light-colored helmet and making sure that it’s very breathable with plenty of air vents to keep your head cool and dry. But, even if you do get hot and sweaty, never sacrifice your safety by riding without a helmet. Try pulling off the road and taking a break to cool down or get a drink of water.
With temperatures on the rise, staying hydrated is possibly the most important aspect of summer riding. Dehydration can be deadly so drink lots of water! Make sure you always have plenty of water bottles or a hydration pack to take with you when you head out for a ride or commute. You can also plan your route to take you past a restaurant or convenience store where you can top off your liquids. Your water consumption will increase greatly compared to the cool winter months and you should always plan on having a source of hydration even if you’re only biking a short distance.
Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or above before heading out for a ride, and carry it with you to reapply at least every two hours or more frequently if you’re sweating heavily. Also, to avoid the direct sun, try finding a shaded or tree-lined route.
Everyone adapts differently to climate, and if you’re not used to riding in heat or humidity then you’ll need to plan ahead and acclimate yourself to the hotter environment. Start off with shorter rides in the early morning or late evening, when the temps are cooler. Eventually, you can work your way up to longer, mid-day rides.
Don’t push yourself to keep the same pace as you would on a milder day. If temperatures will be particularly high, plan ahead and allow yourself more time for your commute so you can take it nice and easy on your way to where you’re going.
When riding long distances in the summer heat, it’s important to recover afterwards. Continue drinking lots of water to stay hydrated and replenish. Try escaping the heat by stepping into an air-conditioned space or relaxing in the shade.