Salt Monster Tales or "How to Survive on your Bike in 100+ degrees"

I have earned the official designation of “salt monster on two wheels.”

I’m not really kidding, either.

When I arrive home after my bicycle commute, there are sometimes egregious amounts of salt on my helmet straps, bicycle bag or anywhere else my salt exuding body has touched. It’s at times fascinating but mostly just gross.

Here are a few tips to help you survive and perform well when the mercury is soaring past the century mark:

  • Don’t start your rides dehydrated. Even trained athletes have been known to underestimate their hydration needs. Days that you’re biking in the heat should be days when you’re drinking a lot of fluids.
  • If you’re a salt monster like me, it might not be a bad idea to down an electrolyte beverage. Gatorade’s G2 drink has just 70 calories a bottle but doesn’t skimp on the vitamins, potassium and sodium your body may be begging for.
  • Carry more water than you think you’ll need. I really should follow this advice but usually don’t. If you have two water bottle cages, you can use some of the water from one of the bottles to act like a fire hose – a “douse your head with water” maneuver that can offer some instant relief if the heat is really getting to you.
  • Think about drinking most of your water early in the ride. Why? A simple reason is that when you’re dealing with temps over 95 degrees, the water in your bottle can get quite hot. I’ve brought bottle to parched lips and recoiled when I discovered the water was at a temperature better suited for warming up a baby’s bottle (that said, even hot water is better than no water so “cowboy up” and drink it!).
  • Back off on your speed. If you’re treating your bicycle commute home as The Tour De France and it’s 102 degrees outside, you could be asking for trouble. Reducing your physical exertion can help to keep things manageable. Yes, the granny gear just might be the ticket for that next hill…

When you’re cycling in temperatures that give the preheat setting on your oven a run for its money, I hope these tips will help. Here are some great online resources to learn more about how to beat the heat…

Extreme Hot Weather : Preventing Summer Heat Injuries
Drink Wisely
How to Avoid Dehydration

Be safe out there!

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