Beat the Heat

It’s really warming up in our neck of the woods; yesterday it topped out at around 104F. When summer temps start reaching these heights, we adjust our normal routines and take some of the following steps to stay safe and healthy:

  • Carry plenty of water. This one seems self-evident, but it’s often overlooked by transpo bicyclists since we’re not officially “exercising”.
  • Dress appropriately. Again, self-evident. When it’s hot out, we wear light, loose fitting, breathable clothing. When temps approach the triple digits, we’ll also carry a change of clothes to work.
  • Plan trips for early and late. We check the weather report every evening during the peak of summer, and when it’s going to be a scorcher, we plan our errand runs for before 10am or after 7pm.
  • Take advantage of transit. If we must ride during the hottest part of the hottest days, we minimize our exposure by taking advantage of transit.
  • Throw in the Towel. On days when the heat is just too much, we’ll telecommute or simply save whatever it is for another day.

We’ve found that planning ahead and using a little common sense goes a long way toward taking the edge off of the most intensely hot days of summer.

12 Responses to “Beat the Heat”

  • bongobike says:

    It’s one for the records book:

  • Sara says:

    Alan, I totally agree with your advice about planning ahead. I tend to be very impulsive, and end up riding to the store to get something unnecessary when it’s blazing hot outside. I end up sweaty, and frustrated. I live in Texas, so right now, it’s not even cool in the evenings. I usually grab a hat and a handkerchief when I head out to a house show or coffee shop. The hat can cover up what would potentially be a bad hair situation due to sweat, and the handkerchief I can use to wipe the sweat off my face while being somewhat discreet. It’s a little vain, but not looking gross tends to be my biggest issue when I’m out and about in the heat. :)

  • James says:

    I ride at night. Unexpected joy!

  • Eddie says:

    As you inland folks are baking in the heat, we riders on the coast are having to wear sweaters to ward off the chill of the Pacific fog that gets sucked in by the heat. When it’s 55 degrees here we know it’s 105 degrees just over the coastal hills. Many days the fog burns off by early afternoon so we do see sun once in a while.

  • Ted Johnson says:

    Don’t forget the sunscreen.

  • Tom says:

    Sunscreen without Retinyl Palmitrate is even better.

  • Doug R. says:

    I purchased a Nite Rider “Flame Thrower”. My friend Trace and I are going Night trail riding Tuesday night! Shunks and bunnies beware!

  • kanishka says:

    i try to waste as little packaging material, and use products that will do little harm to environment after i’ve used them, which obviously is a general society trend as well. health stores have refillable laundry detergent, soap, dishwashing liquid with bulk dispensers. there’s no such option for bugspray or sunscreen that i know of yet.

  • Ted says:

    @Tom I just put on my granny reading glasses and read the ingredients of my sunscreen. No Retinyl Palmitrate.

    @ kanishka Not only is there no bulk refill for sunscreen, the kind my dermatologist recommends (for a light-skinned guy living at 7000 ft in Arizona) only comes in three-ounce tubes. Thank you, TSA.


  • Joseph E says:

    I’m surprised your dermatologist is that picky. Check out a copy of the last sunscreen ratings in Consumer Reports. None of them work well after an hour in the pool or an hour of profuse sweating, but most provide the protected level of protection from the main type of UV light on dry skin. The most expensive sunscreen will still need to be re-applied after toweling off or sweating.

    If ordinary sunscreen is not sufficient to keep you from burning, I would recommend the better, waterproof protection provided by hats, long sleeves, pants and sunglasses. Keeping your skin shaded with opaque clothing is always the best option.

  • Ted says:

    @Joseph: Consumer Reports! What a great idea. I even subscribe to their online ratings, but it didn’t occur to me to see if they had reviews for sunscreen. Thanks.

  • Rex says:

    I freeze my water bottles. In the morning when it’s under 100 I start out with two partially frozen bottles (fill each 2/3 and freeze the night before, then top off before leaving). When I get to work I put one full bottle and one 2/3 full in the freezer. The the idea being that in the 110 degree heat the partial will work for the first part of the ride and the solid will be cold to the end. The cold water is more enticing so I’m more motivated to keep drinking.

    On the 115 degree days the heat-related hallucinations only kick in after about 45 minutes (J/K).

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