We really love to ride. We ride year round and enjoy it immensely. But weather conditions can put a damper on even the best of rides. Here in the desert, we are usually dealing with heat this time of year. Temps can get up to over 100 degrees in the afternoons, and that is just plain hot. On the plus side, it’s almost never humid. But it gets hot nevertheless. We have a few tricks that we use to help us stay cool on hot summer days. Here are just a few suggestions.
Get an Early Start
Even on the hottest of days, early morning temperatures can be really nice. Get up with the sun and get out on the trail. The earlier you start the better. The hottest part of the day is in the afternoon. If you can avoid that afternoon heat, do it.
Take lots of water with you, and we mean lots. We usually take around a gallon per person. Take something with electrolytes in it too, like Gatorade. Remember to drink the water you take. This may seem silly, but we’ve seen people carrying lots of water with them end up getting dehydrated because they didn’t drink it. So drink up. You may also want something salty to keep your sodium levels up.
Also, wear sunscreen. We’ve found from experience, you really don’t want to get burned. You’ll be miserable. You can seriously damage your skin. You can get burned badly enough that you’ll have a medical issue on your hands. And your body is much less efficient at cooling itself off when you’ve got a sunburn. It’s a really bad idea, so do your best to avoid the situation.
Speaking of avoiding sunburn, wear lightweight layers to keep yourself out of the direct sun. Loose, breathable clothing will help a lot. Maybe even go with light colors, as it can help keep you cool. You’ll probably want to cover your skin, rather than go for a tank top. This may seem counterintuitive, but the more of your skin you can keep out of the sun, the better. You’ll stay cooler and protect yourself from sunburn.
Pick the Right Trail
Look for shade, water and elevation. Choosing a trail with a good combination of these will help you have a more enjoyable trip. If you pick a totally exposed trail, with no shade or water to be found, staying cool is naturally going to be much more difficult. So choose your summer rides wisely, especially if you’re going during the hottest parts of the day.
Take Shade Breaks
Find a shady spot and take a break. Also, take more breaks that you normally would Avoid overexertion and cool off.
Enjoy the Evening
The evening won’t be as cool as the morning. But the sun will be much less intense than it is during the middle of the day. Evening rides can be extremely enjoyable. There is no better way to end the day.
Freeze your Water Bottles
Having ice cold water can be so nice on a hot day. This is guaranteed to help you cool off, but be careful not to break your bottles when you freeze them. Water will expand as it freezes and can warp your bottles. We like to fill ours halfway, then freeze them while they are lying on their side. Once we are ready to hit the trail we top them off with cold water. This helps keep them their proper shape. We also don’t freeze all of the water. We don’t want all of it to be inaccessible if we need it.
Use a Bandana or Cooling Towel
Somehow having something cold on your neck makes you feel so much better. Use a bandana or cooling towel if you have one. Dip it in cool, clean water every chance you get. This is a wonderful way to keep cool. Don’t dip it in stagnant water though. That’s just gross.
Lastly, if you’re riding with a full windshield in place, you may want to consider a convertible one like we offer at Clearly Tough. Having a half windshield really increases the airflow in the cab, and helps keep you much cooler.
These are just a few of the things we like to do to stay cool during the summer. There are numerous ways to cool off and enjoy your summer rides. How do you like to cool down? We’d love to hear your suggestions.