By staying cool, you can ride stronger, longer, and more comfortably this summer.
Riding early in the morning is good because it’s the coolest time of the day. Right at dawn is great. 8:am is ok, but even then, it can be pretty hot.
Don’t ride between 11am and 3pm if you can avoid it. The sun is really hot then. Direct sun makes it feel hotter than the thermometer registers.
You can also get a light and ride at night if you’re the adventurous mountain biker type, but it’s still pretty warm at 9pm most days.
Wear Light Colors
Dark colors don’t show dirt as easily, but light colors are great because they reflect sunlight. Darker colors absorb it, and the light is then converted into heat, which you feel against your skin.
For summer riding, I suggest a lightweight, white jersey. Something with a full-length zipper is even better.
Feel The Breeze
Exposed skin is probably the easiest way to stay cool. Definitely look for a full-zip jersey. You can unzip it on climbs to get more air on your skin. (This feels really good!) Evaporating sweat cools you down.
A sleeveless jersey is another option. It lets the breeze hit your armpits, where your axillary arteries are located. That means the breeze can cool your blood here for a good effect.
(In the winter, ever put your hands under your armpits to warm them up?
This is the same thing, just used differently.)
It’s also nice if your helmet has vents and this is where you need to use wisdom. Because some helmets that has vents are really not strong at all.
Most people who buy helmet that has vents end up complaining of braking up too easily when it falls on the floor.
So make sure you do good research before going down that path.
Take a Water Bottle Bath
Carry extra water in the summer. Not just for drinking.
- When you get heated up, squirt some cool water from your bottle onto the back of your neck.
- You can also pour the water on your cloth. It helps make you wet for a long period of time and you won’t feel tired so soon.
- You get the coolness of the water, and you also get the evaporation cooling effect.
Carry Cold Water
Use lots of ice or freeze your water bottle before the ride. You can also use an insulated water bottle, such as the CamelBak Podium Chill, to keep your water colder, longer.
Ensure you take some cash with too to get some on the way. I avoid taken a 3 to 4 bottles with me because the others might get warm up due to the temperature.
Deal With Niggling Mud
If you will be mountain biking, you will encounter mud. Know how to deal with it and it will be a lot of fun (except when you have to clean up afterward.)
My first tip is to get some non-stick cooking spray like Pam. If you are planning a very muddy ride, you can even coat your bike in Pam first to discourage mud from sticking to it.
(Do this only for a very muddy ride though – otherwise the spray just makes a mess that’s even harder to clean off than mud.)
Now, how to ride through mud:
Stay seated, with your weight over the saddle.
Shift to a moderate gear that allows you to pedal smoothly. You don’t want to in a big gear because the mud will be too hard to push through. You also don’t want to be in a low gear because your legs will spin out and you’ll lose stability.
Go in a straight line. Don’t try to turn, or you’ll get stuck and fall over.
Exit the mud pit.
Enjoy the rest of your ride.