Tag Archives: #performance

Here in this bike pic, digging through our summer archives, we captured this biker dude pedaling along the East River Road or Mississippi River Trail on the Saint Paul Bicycle Classic course this fall.

Staying cool while biking in the hot, humid weather

The return of summer is especially welcoming to most of us here in the upper Midwest. But with the warmer temps staying cool takes a little thought in reacquainting ourselves to a hydration routine.

100_0548Now with the temperature fluctuating up into the high nineties this coming week and the humidity levels on the rise, it’s important to know how to keep your body cool while staying active in the heat.

Staying cool while biking or playing in hot weather

If your favorite summer sport is cycling, knowing how to keep cool is crucial. According to a study done by Galloway and Maughan, the perfect temperature for running and cycling is 10º C (52 º F). So, unless you live in far northern regions of Canada you are probably biking in temperatures that are frequently above 30º C (92 º F) during the summer months. So, to enjoy your outdoor summer activities safely, when the weather is hot, requires taking a few precautions. Exercising in the heat raises your internal body temperature, putting additional stress on your heart and lungs, which can affect your performance and your health.

How Your Body Stays Cool

When your body temperature goes above normal 37º C (or 98.6º F) two processes, vasodilation and sweating kick in to remove heat from the body. In vasodilation, veins and capillaries expand, and the heart pumps harder to send blood to the outer layers of the skin where it can be cooled. When the outside air is warmer than your body temperature you start to sweat. The evaporation of the sweat from your body helps cool it. But on hot, humid days, evaporation is reduced and this cooling process is slowed down.

So What You Can Do to Keep Cool While Cycling On a Hot Day

100_3408Wear clothing that will allow for quick evaporation is the best choice. Fabric that wicks the sweat away from your skin, allowing it to quickly evaporate, like the material cycling jerseys are made of is best. Any light material, other than cotton, with a zipper at the front is a good way to go. A damp hand towel or a purchased neck wrap will also help to keep you cooler by dropping the temperature of the blood vessels going through your neck.

Make sure you hydrate well and use electrolyte fluids.

100_3259Drinking water frequently and in the right amounts will help replace the fluid you lose during your ride. Because everybody perspires a little differently to find out how much fluid you need to replace during a ride: (1) weigh yourself before and after a ride (without clothes)—one pound of weight loss equals 500 ml (16 ounces) of fluid. (2) then, factor in the amount you drank during that ride and (3) on your next ride drink approximately 1.5 times this amount during your rides by making frequent stops (7 to 15 mile apart depending on the length of your ride) preferably under the cover of shade.

The more the better

If you have two water bottle cages, use them both by mixing one water bottle with a sports drink that has electrolytes and the other with water. Electrolytes are chemicals that form ions in body fluids. They help make sure specific bodily functions run at optimal levels. Too few electrolytes will cause the body to cramp up. There are many brands and flavors of electrolyte supplements available in premixed liquid, powder or tablet form that is easy to add to a water bottle or a water-bladder backpack to help stay hydrated and healthy. A natural source of electrolyte for after your ride, or if you stop at a grocery store along the way that sells it by the slice, is watermelon.

When the temperature soars like it is predicted this week, try to stay out of the mid-day sun. Plan your ride during the cooler times of the day—in the early morning or early evening.

Danger Signs to Watch For

If you overdo it and experience any of these symptoms:  weakness, headache, dizziness,  muscle cramps, nausea/ vomiting or rapid heartbeat while riding in the heat, stop and find some shade to lay down in, and replenish your fluids. You should feel better within 60-minutes. These are the warning signs to look out for to avoid heat stroke when you exercise in the heat. If any of these symptoms persist longer, call for medical help.

Finding where the irrigation spray is hitting the road is the ultimate why to cool down!

Finding where the irrigation spray is hitting the road is the ultimate way to cool down!

We hope you take the tips above and incorporate them into your next ride for staying cool when the heat index climbs. Remember, there are less than three months until the end of summer. Fall officially begins on September 22.

Have Fun and Enjoy!

 

Clothing items to wear for fall bike riding.

What to Wear for Fall Bike Riding

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com

Fall is a gorgeous time to get on that bike and pedal to the medal – or maybe just pedal. The crisp autumn air makes breathing easy and without a hot sun, heat stroke isn’t an issue. With the gorgeous hues of oranges, yellows, and browns that color the landscape, fall bike riding is arguably the best.

Rather than putting a bike in storage early due to the fluctuation in weather, here’s the answer you’re lookin for. To conquering this fall problem is by wearing layers. While this might seem obvious, the key lies in correctly layering appropriate clothing. If correctly done, it can optimize comfort for the rider. Not only that, it can also increase the ability of how each layer works to maximize moister and temperature regulation.

Base Layer

Your base layer should have great moisture and wicking ability to keep your body dry. Also opt for something that you’d wear if it were to get on the warmer side compared to the colder side for this layer. For example, put on the short sleeve jersey, undershirt, and arm warmers compared to a long-sleeved jersey or shirt. If it gets too warm, you can only do so much with long sleeves whereas you can always taken off the arm warmers if you become too toasty.

For fall bike riding, at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, knees should always be covered.

For fall bike riding, at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, knees should always be covered.

For your bottoms, keep up with this same principle. Realize that legs will warm up quickly while pedaling. Whether you keep them bare by wearing shorts or your usual spring/summer attire or go with wearing long knickers, it’s good to layer these items as well. Leg warmers are also a good thing to use if you have them. Also, they can easily come off and be put away when the temperature rises.

Remember, at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, knees should always be covered. Even if they warm up during the ride, with wind, it’s best to keep them protected from the cold.

Top Layers

The top layers are arguably the most important layers you need to choose. This is because these are the layers that you’ll remove to try to reach that ideal temperature. There are many different potential items that you can layer over the base layer, but the rule of layering for fall weather absolutely applies. The Rule: Layer smartly. Keep in mind that the last item you’re putting on should be the one you’d want to take off first.

Clothing items to wear for fall bike riding.

Arm warmers are a great clothing items to wear for fall bike riding if you have them.

We like the idea of having a long-sleeved jersey or shirt that can help keep the arms warm, whether that ends up over or under arm warmers (if you decide to use them). A windbreaker can be exceptionally helpful. Even if there are no gales going through the area, biking moves you though the air and produces a ‘wind’ that can chill you. Over the long-sleeves, we’d recommend a jacket – heavy or lighter depending on you and the weather. Other layers can be added as well.

Other Important Areas – Head, Fingers, and Feet

Today, there are many different accessories and products that can help keep the other parts of your body warm and therefore keep you happy and riding longer. Scarves, earmuffs, full-fingered biking gloves, cycling caps, shoe covers to reduce cold air into the shoe – these are all things that you can consider adding to your list.

Clothing items to wear for fall bike riding.

Depending on the out door tempurature full fingered gloves may be more desirable to wear for fall bike riding.

Neck Up

Scarves help ensure cold air doesn’t sneak into your jacket where you don’t want it – plus it keeps your neck and can keep part of your face warm!

Riding is hard when your ears are cold and aching. This is where earmuffs, or a hat with earflaps, are a welcome sight. It’s something you won’t regret once out biking, especially when it gets colder or the wind picks up!

Your head tends to be overlooked when going out to bike. While the helmet can feel warm while biking, when the temperature drops more, sometimes a little more is needed to keep your scalp warm. Today, many helmets allow some leeway in them for biking caps or headbands to help keep the rider’s head warm.

Hands and Fingers

Many bikers have fingerless cycling gloves, but when it comes to colder weather, full-fingered biking gloves are a must. When your fingers are frozen stiff and numb, you can lose your grip and find it difficult – if not near impossible – to shift gear. Since this is so dangerous for the rider, we would highly recommend getting a good pair of full-fingered biking gloves.

Feet and Toes

Shoe covers aren’t generally necessary until the temperature drops further – usually below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Socks made of wool have great breathability and warmth, but even so, your toes can get chilled when the wind picks up. Shoe covers can help keep the wind out from those breathable athletic shoes many wear in the summer.

 Again, if you’re not exactly sure how to layer, just remember that the last article of clothing that you put on should be the first item that you’ll want to take off.

No mater what your choice in clothing items to wear for fall bike riding, get out and have fun.

No mater what your choice in clothing items to wear for fall bike riding, get out and have fun.

It might take a few tries to get this right. With so many different material types, combinations, and different conditions to factor in, a lot of the time it takes a few trial and error runs to find the order that you should layer on clothing. However, once you figure it out, it’s easy sailing! Then, you can reach your perfect temperature and adjust whenever needed during your bike ride.

HaveFun and ride on!

 

Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.