Friday, July 22, 2011

Hot rides in the city

I knew it was going to be a hot ride when my radio said it was 83 at 7:00 when my alarm went off.

I took a couple of steps to arrive at work not a sweaty mess:

1) Wear as little as possible- skirts for women, shorts for non-cross dressing men. Today I wore a light colored all natural fibers sleeveless dress (silk liner, cotton exterior).

I love these polka dot heels ($19 at DSW)
 I also didn't dry my hair- evaporation being a good thing to encourage on a day like today.

2) Icewater.  I don't normally bring a water bottle on my 5 mile commute, as I just don't think a normal healthy person can get dehydrated that fast.  However, icewater helps cool you from the inside, and is a real help above and beyond hydration.

3) Stay away from cars , and seek shade as much as possible.   I don't know if you've noticed, but cars put out a lot of heat, and being stuck in among a bunch of them in not a good thing in the heat.   I chose to ride on the dirt path, which I normally avoid, but it was in the shade, and the concrete was not.

An advantage of taking the multi-use path along the charles is that I personally don't feel the need to wear a helmet there, as I do on a city street.YMMV.  I keep a "vented" style helmet around for the couple of days this time of year when my bern helmet's holes are not enough airflow,  and I put it on before I ride through the city, in traffic which might cause me take evasive action or wreck.

4) A handkerchief is the fastest way to make yourself presentable at your destination.  If my face is dry, I feel 100% more pulled together, even if the small of my back is a bit damp.  I have a bunch of vintage linen-cotton hankies with cute leaf appliques, which I treasure, but any kind of hankie works wonders.

5)  go slow.  Not a good day to set a PR.   I have to consciously remind myself to shift down a gear, and go slower than I feel "comfortable" doing,  because I know once the breeze of my passing stops, I'll be hotter than I 'd like to be.

What steps do you take to cope with the heat of riding in summer?


  1. I have discovered a neat water bottle trick recently. I fill the water bottle up, but only put a LITTLE ice in it. That way, when I get near my destination the water is only pleasantly cool and is wonderful when the rest of the bottle is poured over my bare arms. It is also nice when dumped over my head, but then people comment on how hard a workout I got and I hate to mislead.

    You have to judge the right amount of ice to use depending on temperature and distance. When it is over 100, you use more. When it is under 80, you don't need much.

  2. I got out of the city today... thank goodness.

    and that heat from cars you speak of is a bane on the Summer, but a brief respite from the brutal cold in the Winter! Ahh biking/cycling in NE ;)

  3. i just wear shorts and a tee, and change into my work clothes at work. i sweat too much to wear a cute dress en route. ;)

  4. I try to leave as early as possible. It seems to me that the morning can heat up quickly, so leaving even 15 or 20 minutes earlier than normal can make it a little easier. Then if I need to slow down to keep from overheating, I don't worry about the time.

  5. well for work, i just plan on changing my entire outfit. as for trips where changing is not possible, i wear a loose jersey dress/tunic preferably with generously-cut armholes (my wide handlebars also help with underarm cooling). To combat the dreaded butt crack sweat, i wear bike shorts or cut up tights underneath (i don't buy light-colored regular shorts for this reason). in my purse, i keep a small handtowel or washcloth which is way more absorbent than your hankerchief (i need it!!). i used to wear extra strength deodorant during the summer, but stopped because i learned that the extra strength is not just the fragrance, but also the aluminum content. so now i carry a small tin of solid perfume to use after i blot my face and neck. it's also nice to dab a little at your hairline or right under the ponytail to freshen up hair if it's not freshly washed. mostly i'm okay with looking red and sweaty because i carry my helmet and people know i look that way because of riding my bike.