Want to stay safe while riding your bike this summer? These are the most important tips to keep in mind before you hit the road during hot summer months!
Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers facing summer cyclists. It can sneak up on you and before you know it, you’re hot, dizzy, and scarily unsteady on your bike. To prevent getting overheated and dehydrated, make sure you have plenty of water every time you get on your bike. Fill up a water bottle before your ride, one that can be opened easily with one hand or with your mouth and drink from it regularly. If you don’t like to drink and ride, make sure to drink plenty of water once you get to your destination.
Sun exposure in the summer is no joke. Not only does extra time in the sun increase your risk of skin cancer, it also will speed up the time it takes to exhaust and dehydrate you, which can impact your immediate safety on your bike. While sunscreen can help block the sun’s harmful rays, it’s important to cover up with loose-fitting, light clothing that will allow your skin to breathe while you ride. Make sure the fabric around your legs isn’t so loose that it will get caught in your bike gears or chain though.
Be prepared for sweat
If you’re riding your bike to work or to meet up with friends, have a backup plan for if your cycling clothes get sweaty. Bring your “real” outfit in a backpack or saddlebags, and pack along anything you’ll need to freshen up like a hairbrush or tissues. While this requires a little extra planning, it’s worth it in order to not spend the whole ride stressing about every bead of sweat on your forehead.
Slow down for pets and kids
Summer bike rides are often done for fun more than the practical “getting to work/school” rides we see throughout the year. If you’re taking a casual ride, you might be inclined to bring along a child or pet with you. While this can make cycling more fun, you do need to consider that dogs and children likely have a lower tolerance for the heat than you do. Don’t assume that just because your dog is running alongside you the whole time that they aren’t suffering; dogs will keep running to the point of exhaustion in order to keep up with you, which you don’t want. Little kids pushed too far or too fast are likely to suffer exhaustion and dehydration sooner and more intensely than you. If you bring a companion along on your ride, make sure you slow down a little, ensure they are staying hydrated, and check in with them regularly.