On my ride today my GPS (Garmin Edge 1030) kept giving me a Heat Advisory warning. While cyclists need to take precautions in the heat, some advantages we have during hot weather are that we generate our own cooling breeze and can carry plenty of water. But there are other steps we can take to protect ourselves from hyperthermia:
Ride during the coolest part of the day. – I try to get out early and avoid riding at midday.
Pick a cool and shady route. – If I can, I like to head for my favorite shady rail trail that runs along a river. This route is considerably cooler than riding on the road. If I do overheat, I can always cool off in the river.
Drink plenty of water. – My GPS allows me to set an alarm at the completion of ever mile. I use this alarm as a reminder to take a drink. I never wait until I feel thirsty. I’ve found that if I do, it is too late and I’ve already started to dehydrate. I carry three water bottles and refill them every chance I get so I will not run out of water.
Take frequent breaks. – Since I can’t easily monitor my body temperature, I watch my heart rate very closely in hot weather. If I see it rising for an unknown reason or not returning to an expected rate after heavy exertion, I find a shady spot and take a break until it returns to normal.
Wear cool clothing. – Here cyclists are in luck. For the most part, our clothing is designed to keep us cool. However, I add sandals, sun sleeves and head scarf to my kit to keep me cooler.