DISCLAIMER: I'm just a simple bicycle enthusiast living in the Arizona desert. I have no fancy accredidations to my name and yet you're still reading this. That being said, I must be doing something right if I haven't managed to become Vulture food after quite a few attempts.
- Recognize when your riding window is. For instance, it's currently 106F in Tempe, Arizona right now. It sucks. And it's still going to be around 103 at Sunset. During the Summer months is when I do a lot of night riding to avoid the worst heat of the day. Sure, it's still above 100 even once the sun sets but not being blasted by direct sunlight helps a whole lot. And yes, it would be cooler to wake up earlier and ride before work but every time I wake up to that 5AM alarm somehow (magically?) I end up snoozing until a reasonable hour. Pick yer battles.
- Hydrate. You've heard this many times before but listen up because I'm gonna give you the good stuff right here. Step One: Always prep for your ride by hydrating at least a couple hours before you ride. I'm sure medical professionals are like "actually you should ALWAYS be hydrating" yeah I know but you and I live in the real world where that doesn't happen. Step Two: Bring a refreshing cold beverage to enjoy during your ride. I prefer to taste the rockies with a nice Coors Light but every now and then I'll get fancy with a local IPA. Step Three: Pedialyte. Yo, SERIOUSLY. That shit will bring you back from death when your head's pounding and you're feeling the initial symptons of heatstoke. And then another cold beer.
Exposure. As in, like, don't be the person you hear about on the 6 O'Clock news who "died of exposure" in the middle of the Summer. Find yourself a shadetree and relax. Go explore that cave you always "race" past. Remember my advice on hydration mid-ride? This would be a perfect time to crack open a cold one and contemplate your life choices and how they got you here. In the heat. Drinking. Alone.
Bring A Rag/Towellete/Bandana/Buff. Pour some cold water on one and you've got at least 30 seconds of "Hey, it's not so hot out anymore" to help you get ready for that next push. Are your gloves a wet, sopping mess? Getting more salt in your eyes from your hands instead of the sweat coming down your head? Use that ol' rag to dry off and relieve yourself of the pain. It's kinda like rinsing the shampoo out of your eyes. But kinda not.
- Harden The F%^$ Up. Listen, it's gonna be hot regardless. In order to ride in the heat you have to be prepared for everything listed above. Maybe this is more of a mental battle than anything. Are you going to complain about the heat the entire time you ride? Then don't ride. Are you going to complain about not riding while sitting on your couch? Then ride your bike and quit complaining.
And there you have it, a handful of tips to help you enjoy your Summer riding hopefully a little bit more. If this were a prescription drug commercial, this would be the 30 seconds where we tell you everything that could go wrong and then pan right back to the person smiling while they say “Don’t take XXXX if you’re allergic to XXXX”. The end!!