Bicycle Commuting in a heat wave.

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Western Wisconsin has been suffering through a heat wave for the past few weeks. Despite the heat there are still lots of bicyclists out on the road commuting to work, shop or just heading out for a cool drink with friends. Just like winter, the hot humid summers here can pose challenges for some bicyclists. Here are a couple of thoughts about bicycle commuting in a heat wave.

Hot Tips

  1. Timing: Try leaving for work a bit earlier when it is more likely to be cooler.
  2. Slow Down: If you follow tip one, you should have plenty of time to ride a bit slower, that way you will sweat less. Plus you will get to enjoy the scenery more.
  3. Axe the Packs: Backpacks and messenger bags can look cool, but they can leave you with a sweaty back. Try equipping your bike with a rack and panniers. If you have a rack but not panniers, use a couple of bungee cords to hold your pack/bag securely to the rack.
  4. What to Wear: Light weight natural fiber clothing will keep you cooler, but will show wrinkles a bit more. A hat or helmet with a brim will keep the sun off you face and having a bandana handy will let you mop any sweat off your brow. I also like wearing my sandals and rolling up my pant legs when the thermostat goes up. Short pants or skirts are also a way to keep cool, just watch out for sunburn.
  5. Drink Up: Sweat helps keep you cool, but you need to be hydrated or your trip will be miserable. Drink plenty before you ride and if you commute is long, take a water bottle along for the ride.
  6. At the Office: Try keeping a natural color extra shirt in your office, just in case to sweat a bit more than planned and need to change shirts. Other things you might want to keep in your office include an extra stick of deodorant, wet wipe or a small towel. If you have access to a shower at work, this is a good time to take advantage of it.
  7. Hot Seat: If you have to park your bicycle outside all day, you may have a very hot seat when you start your ride home. Try a light color seat cover, take your seat inside (if it has a quick release) or you can use a rubber band or two to cover it with a piece of light colored cloth. White bandanas work well for this.
  8. Thermostat: Turn your thermostat at home up a bit, the greater the temperature difference the hotter it seems.

Do you have any tips for surviving a heat way as a bicycle commuter? Share them in the comments section.

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