It’s going to be hot hot hot!
As temperatures soar toward 40 degrees in Canberra, you may be tempted to swap your cycling commute for the comfort of an air-conditioned car. Don’t do it! Instead, take note of these simple ways to stay cool on your bike.
Wear the right clothes
There’s a reason why dedicated cyclists wear lycra and spandex: technical materials allow sweat to evaporate faster which keeps you cooler. Cotton and silk are out as they absorb moisture. Not keen on the lycra look? You can get golf and tennis-style shirts made from the same technical material. You may be tempted to wear less clothing on really hot days but long sleeves and even a couple of thin layers will give you more protection from the heat and the sun.
Drink plenty of water
When you’re active outside on a hot day, you will sweat…a lot. Without lots of water to replace the fluid you lose through your skin, you will dehydrate very quickly. Make sure you’re hydrated before you get on the bike. Try sipping water from the moment you wake up. Take two water bottles on the bike with you and make sure they’re full. Drink as you ride or stop and rest for a moment in the shade while you top up.
Squirt water on your head
You’ll be amazed how cooling this is. Don’t worry about taking your helmet off, just aim high with your water bottle and squeeze. Not only will it cool your head instantly but the resulting evaporation will keep you cool for quite a while. Be careful not to use all your bottled water dousing your head though or make sure you know a spot en-route where you can fill up if you run out. It’s probably a good day to locate where the showers are at work or go for the slicked-back ponytail look.
Cool your neck
Wrap a wet bandanna or scarf around your neck. It will not only stop the back of your neck from getting sunburned but it will also keep you nice and cool.
Just an hour will make a big difference to the temperature and clear summer mornings in Canberra are really beautiful. Arrive early but avoid taking off in the mid-afternoon when the temperature peaks. Maybe it’s time to get some hours in credit in readiness for autumn when you’ll want to take a half day here and there to go for a ride in every Canberra cyclist’s favourite season.