Biking in the Summer Heat

Renée Moore Tweet Us @bikearlington@bikearlington July 22, 2019
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Renée Moore is the Program Manager for BikeArlington. You can often find her dress billowing in the wind and leading bike expeditions to Arlington’s most awesome destinations.

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Biking when it’s hot can be enjoyable and fun by tweaking your route and adjusting your pace.

Summer is here and as usual in DC it is hot and humid. Many people forgo biking in the winter due to the cold, but I dare say summer biking can almost be unbearable. You can always layer clothes to keep warm, but you can’t legally take off enough clothes to stay cool! And because we don’t want you in any trouble, here are some tips to beat the heat.

photo credit: BigStock Photo

  1. Plan your route. Look for quiet, tree-lined, shady roads to travel. Plan to ride a bit slower so you don’t sweat as much. Look for a less hilly route if possible to cut down on the amount of exertion you will have to give to pedal.
  2. Pack extra clothes. Perhaps no matter what you do, you will arrive sweaty. Pack some extra clothes and wipes so you can clean up when you arrive at your destination.
  3. Wipe down. Carry a pack of Action Wipes or baby wipes with you. It’ll help you feel fresh when you get to your location.
  4. Wear a dress or skirt. Dresses and skirts billow in the wind and keep you cool. Tie up a long dress by making a knot at the bottom. For shorter dresses place a binder clip at the bottom to keep it from flying in the air. Or wear biker shorts underneath your dress.
  5. Let the bike carry the load. Add a rear rack and panniers to your bike so that you don’t have to lug a heavy backpack on your back.
  6. Find a place to freshen up. Many gyms offer shower-only services if you don’t belong to a nearby gym. Add in some time to your commute so you can shower before headed to your final stop.
  7. Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink plenty of water and replenish electrolytes as often as needed.
  8. Go multi-modal. If you know you have to climb a hill, consider putting your bike on Metro or on the bus rather than riding up the hill.
  9. Prevent helmet head. Wear a silk scarf or bandana to keep your hair in place, absorb some perspiration and preserve your coiffure when you take your helmet off.
  10. Get an e-bike. E-bikes help you to pedal and exert less effort when going uphill. You may enjoy it so much that you’ll find yourself replacing car trips by riding your electric-assisted bicycle.

Biking when it’s hot can be enjoyable and fun by tweaking your route and adjusting your pace. Most importantly, stay hydrated and keep cool during your summer ride.

Practice riding this summer with us to the Bike Book Club. We’ll be riding 5 miles or less to an Arlington County Library and discussing interesting books. Get some exercise, meet new people and enjoy the summer ride!

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