View Full Version : biking in the heat

10-23-2005, 04:38 AM
Right, this is my first summer here in Western australia and the temps get up to 45c...(I think by looking at the map of members here that some of you live where it's hot and might be able to help) and i'm kind of wondering the following:

1-Do you ever ride when it gets over 30c??? It was 30c today but didn't know until we got home...!

2-When you do ride in the heat, how much do you drink?? How much is enough??
I have my 2l hydration pack and went through all of it today on a 2hr ride...

3-Are there any tips or suggestions that you can provide that may make my ride smarter for the heat???

My other half seems to think that i'm going to be ok riding in 35c(on road and off)...am i nuts to do it? There's no escaping the heat...although it's not hot yet..



10-23-2005, 06:16 AM
I don't have to deal with that kind of heat at home, but I managed to survive day after day of 100+ degree (Fahrenheit - 38 degrees Celcius) temperatures during my cross-country tour (http://denise2002xc.crazyguyonabike.com) back in 2002. The very hot temps followed me across the mid-west, starting in Ohio, and continuing through Kansas. Looking back at my journal, the stretch through Kansas was the worst from a heat standpoint.

I can't tell you exactly how much liquid I went through per hour because I didn't track my time. But when I look back at my journal, my ride lengths ranged from 44 to 73 miles. Assuming a 12 miles per hour pace - which is pretty normal for me when I'm touring and hauling a load, I'll assume I was on the road between 3 1/2 and 6 hours. I usually went through at least a full 2-liter Camelbak of water - more on hot days - and 6 to 10 water bottles of Gatorade (at .62 liters per bottle). Based on that, on a shorter ride I probably went through 4+ liters of liquid, and on a longer ride 8 liters.

So on the long days I was drinking just over a liter an hour. Was that enough? Well, it kept me going, and I don't believe I was ever dehydrated.

Hope that helps as a sanity check!

--- Denise

10-23-2005, 07:16 AM
Riding in the heat can be a definite challenge, but it's still possible if you are smart about it. I didn't start riding until after I moved to Texas, but this is what I've learned about coping with the heat so far:

Get out early! Getting out as the sun is rising will buy you a couple of hours riding time before the temperatures peak. One of my riding partners has kids, so in addition to beating the heat, he likes to get out early while his wife and kids are still asleep -- we tend to meet at first light and go from there.

Another option is to head out at the end of the day. I'm not as big a fan of this strategy, because the temps don't drop a lot until the middle of the night where I live, and the pavement still holds a lot of afternoon heat, but you do avoid exposure to the direct sun.

Make sure that you're well hydrated before you start, and take lots of liquid with you. On a 3 hour ride, I'll go through my two bottles and much more trying to alternate between water and a sports drink with the two bottles. My bf and I (as well as our local cycling club) will plan routes that allow for convenience store stops midway. This is a great chance to refill the bottles and grab some Gatorade or something similar.

Other tips/suggestions:
Finding routes that are shaded is always a good thing. Good amounts of shade can be difficult to find for road rides where I live, but the local mtb trails offer plenty of it!

I find that I handle the heat better if I am able to build my tolerance through the spring and early summer months, making sure to put in the miles as the weather is still nice but starting to heat up.

Know you limits. As much of a no-brainer as this sounds, it's easy to push yourself too hard in the heat. Spending the rest of the day trying to recover and rehydrate after a long hot ride just really isn't all that fun. If it's too hot, cut back on the pace or distance, or skip a day or two.

Having grown up in the northeastern US, I tend to equate Texas summers to Pennsylvania winters. (People spend a lot of effort minimizing their outdoor exposure as they rush from the house to car to office, etc.) The weather usually isn't so extreme that it will limit you from the things you want to do, but it does take a little extra preparation and forethought before you head out the door.

Good luck! :)

10-23-2005, 08:44 AM
aahh crazy - summer in Perth - yep it sure gets hot and can stay that way for weeks on end.

My bit of advice for you from a WA girl would be definitely try to stay out of the sun between about 10am-4pm. Dont forget we have a big hole in the ozone down in the southern hemisphere and also the highest rate of skin cancer caused by sun exposure in the world. Be smart and ride early, drink heaps of fluid and wear a good sunscreen and you should be able to ride thru those long hot summers.

10-23-2005, 04:02 PM
Thanks for the tips...I knew some of the tips however i thought the ladies here may have some more...

In regards to shade..i can't say there's enough of that on the routes avail....There is some though...!

I haven't given up even if it's a bit hot. I'm happy to slowly adapt so i can see what mistakes i need to change. (sunscreen & water so far)

Fluid..i'm going to add a cage to my bike and drink more.

Getting out earlier....can't sleep in here..sun's up at 5am or a bit ealier as we don't have daylight savings..

I remember the sunscreen and lots of it...I've got the slip, slop, slap embedded in my mind.

Thanks again ladies,


10-23-2005, 06:32 PM
I also put lots of ice in the water bottles or freeze a water bottle that is maybe 25% - 50% full. I top off the bottle with regular water & usually have a nice supply of still-cold water towards the end of the ride.

10-24-2005, 11:21 AM
I did 3 of my centuries in the middle of summer in temps between 90-100. I think one of them the temp even reached 109. (sorry I don't know the conversion to celsius) I wear a 100 oz camel back and carry 4 20 oz bottles of water, 2 in the pack and 2 on the bike with eletrolyte replacement in them. Now granted the humidity here in New Mexico stays very low in the summer so I don't have to deal with damp, sticky heat. Every time I stopped I filled up anything that was empty just to make sure I had plenty of water. I also made sure I drank at least 1 bottle per hour, sometimes more but never less.

ps: I love riding in the heat so I may not be the right person to answer this question! :p

11-17-2005, 01:20 AM
There are events happening in summer when I have no choice but to be out in the sun for 7hrs or more. I'm talking 35 degrees C+ (about 95F+). I drink all day the day prior using Gatorade & Ribena (or Cascade...Aussie brand) & water. I'll stop about 8pm so I'm not up all night. Next morning I'll have 2 cups of the same. I'll carry 2 bottles on the bike: 1 water, the other Gatorade with extra salt ( according to taste). Organised rides have stations where I'll drink extra water & sports drink & eat carbs (cake, banana etc). I'll do 4 days of carb loading prior. The carbs help your body hold water. Don't be afraid if you gain a couple of kilos..it'll be fluid. Unorganised events: I'll stop & hydrate frequently including refilling bottles with water. It takes a bit of planning, but I've learned the hard way. Agonising cramps & once renal colic which ended with me in the emergency ward. It's easy to forget hydrating enough in winter as well. Through trial & error over 7 years, this is what works for me during the sometimes vicious summer months here in Australia. NEVER have I considered not being out there.
Hope this helps you Cheryl. LOL.

PS- Sorry it's late. I've only just seen it.

11-17-2005, 03:28 AM
Thanks for that Yasmin..(What event btw are you referring to?)

I can't remember if you're a mtn bike chick or a roadie...Is there a 12 or 24hr in Adelaide??

I'm getting there with the hydration and ensuring i take my time when i ride...

What do you think about the people who did the crocodile trophy???


11-17-2005, 02:52 PM
[QUOTE=crazycanuck]Thanks for that Yasmin..(What event btw are you referring to?)

I can't remember if you're a mtn bike chick or a roadie...Is there a 12 or 24hr in Adelaide??

I'm getting there with the hydration and ensuring i take my time when i ride...

What do you think about the people who did the crocodile trophy???

Mental blank..what does btw stand for?
Also, I'm mostly road bike when I enter events (so I can keep up with my team), but I have a MTB & hybrid which I mostly use with another, social group I catch up with. They're more touring style. I'm not a "bike snob"... I reckon if you're out there on a bike, good on ya!
The events are Bicycle SA primarily eg Grand Slam `(1st 80km increasing to the 5th at 200km, Sea to Vines (120km), Be Active Tour (150km) etc. The others are non organised & self inflicted. We're doing the Audax Alpine Classic Jan 22nd, 2006 which is 200km centered around Bright in Victoria. That'll be a roadie too.
The only other tip is: SPF 30+ within an inch of your life. I've got good old Irish type skin...freckles...not designed for these conditions. This & hydrating well should see you through.
PS - I've not heard of the crocodile trophy, embarrassingly enough.

biker chick
11-17-2005, 05:38 PM
I also hydrate before I ride. 2 hours before I ride, I drink about 16 oz. of water. Then 1 hour before, I drink 8 oz. of water. I also make sure I stay away from alcohol at least a day before riding. Then, I drink, drink, drink water during the ride. Sometimes, I add something with electrolytes on an especialyy long ride.

11-19-2005, 10:06 AM
During our Phoenix summers, many mornings begin at 30 degrees C and quickly climb from there. We hydrate all day long. I pack a 100 oz. Camelbak as full as possible with ice and then add water. I carry another bottle of water as back-up plus a frozen bottle of gatorade. I know places all along my routes where I can refill if needed, although usually this is sufficient. Sometimes on longer rides I just plan to stop at a quick-mart of some kind to treat myself to an ice cold Red Bull; some places have the ice chest right there at the counter so it's a quick in and out.
Go slower, go shorter as necessary in the beginning of the summer, and then increase speed/distance as your body acclimates to the season. I HATED running in the summer because it was so hard to carry enough fluid and so hard to keep from overheating. Riding in the summer has never been a problem, because you can carry so much to drink and you create your own breeze.

Enjoy your summer!