As the height of summer approaches, it seemed like time to amass some tips for cycling in the heat into one post. Here they are: my tips and tricks for riding in the heat over four summers in Nashville. None are rocket science, all have helped me at one time or another.
- Get baby wipes, or, better yet, ActionWipes, to keep at your office and wipe down once you arrive.
- If your feet sweat, put baby powder or cornstarch in your shoes before leaving the house, and after you arrive at work.
- Use dry shampoo (did you know you can make it yourself? True fact!) to absorb odor from sweaty hair. Also: braids braids BRAIDS.
- Ride slowly! It’s surprising how much of a difference this can make. Dottie talks about that here.
- Wear loose clothing—dresses, loose linen shirts, etc. The more air can hit your core, the cooler you will be.
- Consider a dark color or a fabric with a print, the better to hide any sweat stains (tip of the hat to Lovely Bicycle for the print idea).
- Pick a route with minimal stoplights and traffic. There’s nothing worse than sitting at a red light, with heat radiating off cars and the blacktop. Side streets also tend to be shadier.
- Don’t apply lotion (including body lotion) or foundation before leaving the house. It blocks your pores and will make you sweat more. (If anyone has found a body lotion that does not do this—please let me know what it is!)
- Keep your back clear! Put up your hair, use a pannier, not a backpack, etc.
All that said, working up a light “glisten” on summer bike rides is usually unavoidable. If you have to smell like a human for a few minutes once you get to your destination, give yourself a break. Just think of all the toxins you are unloading!
Do you have a favorite trick for keeping cool while biking in the summer? Tell us in the comments!