How to stay cool on your bike in the summer heat
This post gives some tips and tricks to stay cool while riding, like when on longer rides (cycle camping, bike touring, randonneuring, etc) when the summer heat is cranked on full !! Some helpful tips we have found over the years based on this can be categorized under these themes:
WATER: To help your body keep cool through perspiration and keep those vital organs intact, drinking plenty of water is key.
Pack your bike for lots of water/liquid handling capability. For example, bottle cages that are not just on the seat tube and top of the down tube, but on the bottom as well, or attached to the handlebar. At least 2-3 is optimal, depending on the duration, terrain, accessibility to water, and heat where you will be riding.
Also, manything cages are really handy for holding big (like 1,5L bottles) bottles, and for attaching to other places on the bike like the forks and side of racks.
Drink the right beverages. Your body loses a lot of salts and minerals while sweating, so I usually crave salty and sweet water/drinks while riding. On a trip once through Estonia in 30+ degree heat, some of us found energy drinks to be the thing to get us through the day! Make sure to keep in mind that you hydrate while replenishing what you've lost through sweating.
Go swimming. If you're not in a rush, why not? You can also pair it with a picnic :).
SHADE: Getting some shade also keeps you cool. But how to do this while riding?
Wearing a cycle cap, or light cap with neck shader helps keep the sun out of your eyes and provides a little bit of shade on your head. It won't totally block airflow to your head from your helmet, but do expect to sweat like hell on that hat!
Sometimes wearing a layer that covers your body instead of wearing as little as possible helps too. Especially if it's the right material, like loose linen, silk, or merino wool. It also protects your skin from the sun.
The ultimate shade against the heat, and a tactic used by many in Töpy, has been to ride during the night. The cover of night allows the rider to not just ride in the cooler hours of the day, but roads tend to be much more empty, calm, and one can usually find some wildlife out and about. During the day, one can find a shady spot to sleep, siesta, and chill.
WIND: Luckily being on your bike provides its own breeze – better than walking or standing still!
OTHER random tips: It has been confirmed by a colleague that soy yoghurt is a nice balm against sunburned skin. Good if you can't find any aloe!
Happy summer riding!