South African summers are scorchers, with temperatures ranging into the high thirties some days. And while it’s more appealing than the European snow, it comes with its own set of challenges. If you’re out on your bike, make sure you stay cool and ride strong with these 5 simple tips:
1. Time your ride Obviously, heading out in the dead of day is going to be swelteringly hot. Extreme heat carries dangers, like overheating, dehydrating and sunburn. Avoid riding between 10am and 2pm, when the sun’s burning rays are the strongest. There are plenty of daylight hours to take advantage of, with some parts of the country only going properly dark around 7:45pm, so go for a ride in the early evening or morning when it’s cooler. Remember, though, to make yourself clearly visible when going on an evening ride with lights and/or reflective clothing.
2. Keep hydrated This one is perhaps the most obvious, but most people don’t realise that by the time you experience thirst, it’s already too late, and your body is dehydrated. According to Dr John Ivy, fellow in the American Academy of Kinesiology, member of the American Physiological Society and American Diabetes Association and author of two books on sports nutrition, as little as 0.5% loss of water can increase strain on the heart.
Furthermore: 1 percent loss of water can reduce aerobic endurance; 3 percent loss of water can reduce muscular endurance; 4 percent loss of water can reduce muscle strength, decrease fine motor skills and cause heat cramps; 5 percent loss of water can result in heat exhaustion, cramping, fatigue, or a reduction in mental capacity and; 6 percent loss of water can cause physical exhaustion, heat stroke or coma. Make sure you sip a sports or electrolyte drink throughout your ride to ensure adequate levels of hydration. Even better, plan ahead and freeze a bottle filled with HIGH5 Zero to enjoy an ice-cold drink while you ride.
Try these HIGH5 ICE LOLLIES for the ultimate in refreshing hydration.
3. Dress accordingly With the advances in materials and technology these days, no cyclist worth his salt should be wearing constricting clothing that traps body heat ad harbours sweat. Use a lightweight base layer or a full-length front zip to regulate temperature and rid the body of sweat, and look for materials with good wicking properties to help you cool off quickly.
Ftech’s Hydro Ftex Soft Touch is an Italian fabric especially indicated for active sport, because its innovative honeycomb structure let’s just enough air flow through to keep skin cool and dry and allows humidity to be expelled immediately, offering you maximum comfort. It also offers protection against UV rays and the fibres are resistant to shrinking, stretching and wrinkling. The Vuelta fabric is innovative, allowing for high breathability and resistance to pilling and abrasion, as well as an exclusive anti-bacterial treatment that blocks the proliferation of bacteria.
Shop Ftech HERE.
4. Protect yourself before you wreck yourself Sunburn may seem like just a temporary irritation, but it can seriously hamper your training, performance and overall health. Unlike a literal burn, sunburn causes skin damage before significant redness appears, which means you could be burning long before you become aware of the damage. Besides increasing your risk for skin cancer tremendously, you’re also accelerating your body’s rate of dehydration – sunburns draw fluids to the surface of the skin and away from the rest of the body. So make sure you smear on sunscreen before you set off, and don’t forget to grab your sunglasses, as the sun is particularly damaging on the eyes as well, causing a number of problems like cataracts, macular degeneration and photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea that results in blurred vision and/or temporary vision loss).
5. Know your geography This is another obvious but often overlooked tip: plan around the land. Riding in the shade is obviously better than hitting the full afternoon sun on your way home. Plan your route so that you’re spending most of your time riding under shade, or pick areas near lakes/dams or the oceanfront that are known to be cooler in general. If it’s too far to ride, there’s nothing wrong with loading your bike up in the car to get there and then cycling. Another interesting strategy is using adiabatic cooling to your advantage – this means that the air temperature cools by about 3 degrees Fahrenheit (-16 Celsius) for every 1000 feet (305m) of altitude gained. If it’s too hot down low, go climbing!
SHOP SIDI HERE