Open Forum : How Do You Deal with the Summer Heat?

As daily tempertures are in the 10.º range in Charlotte, NC I want to ask you :

How Do You Deal with the Summer Heat?

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67 thoughts on “Open Forum : How Do You Deal with the Summer Heat?”

  1. Kaylen says:

    Drinking lots of water, eating popsicles, wearing less clothing (cotton t-shirt and knee-length cotton skirt today), fans, air conditioning when nothing else will work, restricting activity to early morning and evening.

  2. joe cervelli says:

    i ride REALLY slow…and i take my messenger bag and bungie it to my rack so it’s not hanging onto my back…

  3. Scott says:

    I wear shorts/t-shirt on bike on my 4-mile trip to train station. Then, I change on the train, after I’ve cooled down and have stopped actively sweating. I use baby-wipes to wipe down and baby powder for my nether-regions. Then, I put on a fresh set of clothes, including underwear.

    I then feel nice and fresh the rest of the day.

    I change back on way home.

  4. Avi says:

    I live in Orlando, FL and I know about horrid summer heat. I always have a change of clothes in my bag. Shorts and sleeveless tees help a lot too. PLus, HYDRATE!

  5. Jodi W says:

    Ride early…or hit the gym for some running and lifting (cross training)…or hit Uptown Cycles for a Computrainer session.

  6. Jon says:

    I complain.

  7. dphazelwood says:

    The morning is cool enough that it doesn’t bother me.

    Dousing myself at a couple of intervals on the way home.

    I commute 5.8 miles each way in Greenville, NC – pack my work clothes so I can ride in shorts & short sleeves.

    I also am not a huge AC user at home either – helps me acclimate to the weather. More of a open the windows, gets some fans going and enjoy the draft type person.

  8. Tony Bullard says:

    Sigh…I cut down my miles drastically.

    I used to bike from home, 5.5 miles to the Park and Ride, then bus to train, train to a 2.2 miles rid to work.

    Now I drive to the nearest bus stop, bus to the train, train to a .7 mile ride to work.

    It’s sad, but I can’t come in sweating like crazy in the mornings. I manage pretty well normally, but the other day it was 86 degrees IN THE MORNING. No amount of baby wipes can make that right.

  9. Tim says:

    I’ve been getting a little less tolerant of the high heat here in Austin, TX. In my 20’s I used to say “bring it on” an take another water bottle along and enjoy the sweat. Now I’ll hop on the bus (our buses have bike racks) to get home in the afternoon if it’s too hot. Once or twice a week, I’ll brave the heat and just slow way down on my afternoon ride. Mornings are not too bad.

  10. Erich says:

    I leave my home before 6:00 am for a 21 mile cyclocommute to work. Piedmont NC temps are now in the mid-70s at that time, but the humidity is atrocious. By the time I leave work, the sun is low enough on the horizon that more than half my ride home is shaded–even though I’m in an urban area, there are still trees. I also utilize an MUP (the American Tobacco Trail), which is all shade. As long as I’m moving with a little air flow, I’m good.

  11. hokan says:

    I love riding in the heat. It’s stopping that feels icky.

  12. Steven Crawford says:

    Here in the Phoenix, AZ area where it has already been above 90 degrees in the morning and over 110 degrees during my evening commute home, I just fill up my water bottles with ice and go. Sometimes I will grab an extra for the nearly 10 mile commute.

    I think it is easier for us here because we acclimatize to the heat. It is also a dry heat (hit 2% humidity a couple of weeks ago). Our biggest issues are monsoon and dust storms that occur in this heat.

  13. Rob E. says:

    I sweat.

    Actually this lovely heat wave we’re having now does not seem as bad as a week or two back when it was upper 90s with high humidity (in Raleigh). Really, I don’t mind the heat when riding so much as I mind getting off my bike and being a sweaty mess, and sadly that’s an issue for me even at milder temps. My AM commute has more of the uphills, and it’s also, happily, when it’s coolest, so that tends to work out. But it doesn’t take a lot of heat for me to work up a sweat, so almost every day involves drying out at my desk for up to an hour before changing into dry, work-appropriate clothes. My commute is only 6-7 miles, and there’s only so much damage the heat can do over that distance. I don’t push it (in any temperature, really), and I dry off at work. And sometimes I wear one of these:
    Happy trails. Stay as cool as you can.

  14. locus says:

    For those of us guys who commute in work clothes, I’ll say this again.

    Choose wool. Lightweight (100 wt.) fine-spun Italian wool.

    Trust me on this. I ride in the summer in the high heat + humidity of downtown Washington, DC. I tried linen, seersucker, etc. but nothing beats wool.

    Wool is light. It breathes. It has natural odor-resistance. If you’re careful, you can wear them over and over again before drycleaning.

    I’ll admit that you need to have the right saddle (non-abrasive materials) or you will quickly wear through the seat of your pants. But you should be sticking with leather saddles anyway.

    Embrace the Fred inside you!

  15. matt says:

    1. get up early and leave the house before it’s too hot

    2. freeze water bottles the night before for the way in and at work for the way home.

    3. be willing to ride a few extra miles to find a shady route. tree cover is HUGE

    4. no long sleeves or pants

    5. work late

    but there are benefits to biking when it’s hot. co-workers are always impressed!

  16. Jack says:

    Across the state in Cary, we are having much the same weather. On the ride home, I have about 1/2 mile in the sun and then I drop down to the greenway which is very shady. It makes a giant difference.

    Also most of the week I have been wearing sandals instead of sneakers.

  17. Al says:

    I’ve noted that I finished off my entire water bottle to and from work due to the heat. I started bring a second and filling it with half ice and half water or Gatorade. Hot water tastes terrible in the hot sun, I also wear white shirt, shorts, and gloves without pointing out the obvious help reflect the sun’s rays. Going faster works too.

  18. Grendel says:

    Lots of water with an occasional gatorade, banana or potato. Seems to work for me.

  19. Robert Rowe says:

    Up in PA (outside Philly), it’s just as bad. I’ve just been doubling up on water, and slowing down on rides. For my commutes to work, I had to resort to wearing shorts and changing when I get there instead of wearing my normal work pants.

    Stay cool!

  20. Stephen Almond says:

    Live in England…

  21. Mostly, I ride early. And drink lots.

  22. John in Portland says:

    When it is hot, I ride earlier. I don’t stop riding, though. I take lots of water. I keep my water supply in a pannier, where it won’t heat up as fast. Frozen water bottles are a must.

    Maximum SPF waterproof sunscreen is a must. Nobody wants a burn, but there are some great sunscreen products nowadays.

    Light color shirt, as in white. I don’t wear cotton. Use high tech materials, they dry much better. (But be sure to wash them or they’ll stink forever.)

    Oh yeah, this is something I personally do, that nobody else would dream of doing: I avoid air conditioning, especially in cars. I find that it spoils me, and I don’t want to do anything when it is warm.

  23. MW says:

    It’s been in the 100s here in NYC (thank goodness it’s only that hot only a few days a year, but we have a lot of days in the 90s).

    In general – go early and stay late. My ride is about 7 miles, some of it through slow, heavy traffic. I try to go slow to stay cool, but once I crest the bridge over the east river, I’m hot and sweaty again.

    I wear light, loose, moisture wicking running shorts and t-shirt in the morning to work, and immediately remove them and rinse them out upon arrival. For myself, I run my head under cool water, use a wet microfiber washcloth to clean up with, reapply deodorant and head over to my desk.

    I’m able to keep my bicycle at my desk, and after work (I usually work to 6:30 or 7) If it’s in the mid 90s at 5, it’s often dropped to the high 80s by 7 or 8, and is much cooler…and traffic is lighter.

    I’ll run the the shorts and t-shirt under cold water in the sink before changing back into them to head home. They’ll stay wet for about half my trip, and it keeps me cool. I’ve seen people with a wet washcloth under their hats, I’ve not yet tried this with a bike helmet.

  24. BluesCat says:

    I posted my strategies for dealing with the Arizona heat just a little while ago on the Bike Commuters site.

    It was rather lengthy, so rather than filing up page space here I posted the same information in my blog at Biking in the Arizona Heat.

  25. Thomas Brock says:

    It’s been a record summer here in Jacksonville, NC…And though I haven’t been commuting by bicycle as much as I’d like, I’ve ridden on some pretty hot days.

    The heat isn’t much of an issue for me. I drink about 100 oz of water during the day and carry a 22 oz insulated water bottle on the bicycle…

    I sip the water, sweat and ride.

    My biggest issue was sweat running into my eyes and gumming up my contact lenses…But that was solved with a sweat-wicking Walz Cap.

  26. matt says:

    From a 30 mile a day commuter in the Tampa Bay area it’s pretty easy to survive ans enjoy the 100 degree temps. First off is WATER, before, during and after your ride. With all the other methods of sun/heat protection out there use what suits you best (hat, sunscreen, light colored breathable material). Plan you route to include rest stops. Avoid riding in the hottest part of the day. Safe safe, been seen and did I mention WATER.

  27. Patrick Zyduck says:

    Considering that I am riding hard to loose weight, I hydrate really well and keep on riding! The more I sweat, the faster the weight will melt off. I do however, pay VERY close attention to my water intake. So far, no problems.

  28. SeaWhiskers says:

    1) Drink plenty (and by plenty I men LOTS) of water.

    2) Be thankful that the roads aren’t iced over.

  29. qx87 says:

    I have a wooden floor, I pour cups of cold water on my head and let it dry off.

  30. Rich Fox says:

    It is in the mid to high 80’s here in Boston with 93% humidity. I make sure I drink a lot of water through out the day and wear breathable cloths while commuting. I tried getting a bag for my rear rack that could hold my school stuff and work stuff, but it just wasn’t for me. I carry a Chrome Ivan Rolltop pack and I just deal with having sweat build up during the commute. It at least feels nice when I take the bag off. I use a lot of baby wipes when I get to work…

  31. Euro Biker says:

    The best feature of my city (Skopje, Macedonia) is the large river which have a bicycle track, so commuting here this summer is better than with a car with AC.

  32. I live in Boulder, Co so getting out during the summer is not too bad as long as you start early. But I did just get back from San Antonio and that is an entirely different situation. I think there you just have to gut it out. If you go out early, the humidity is heavy in the air, during the day, it’s just hot.

  33. This is my first summer commuting in austin, tx and i must admit it’s pretty hot, but it’s definetely still doable, and enjoyable.

    as long as i ride in the morning and in the evening, my shower at work makes for a good experience.

    now if i didn’t have a shower at work….

  34. norm says:

    Drink a lot, pour water on my head, ride on the shady side of the trail 😉 Of course that wouldn’t help in 100F/100%RH conditions, in which I probably would only ride before dawn and after sunset.

  35. Dan says:

    I ride early in the day if I want a workout. If I just need to get somewhere and its really hot, I use my electric bike and don’t pedal very hard. Drink lots of water. Wear spf 45.

  36. Demario Mitchell says:

    I usually bring extra water. When its going to be a particularly hot day, I will leave earlier or later then usual. My commute tipically takes place at night so, I don’t worry about the heat more then I need to.

  37. Robyn says:

    Hmm… I guess I tend to leave for work earlier and then leave work later. Not really the best plan for a good work/life balance, but makes it more fun to ride!

  38. Carl N. says:

    I’m a bike mechanic in Boulder, CO and commute 6 miles each way about 150+ days a year. Our heat today was in the 90’s and they say tomorrow may touch 100 BUT we don’t have your humidity.

    My solution involves riding early or late, staying off high traffic roads (which get hotter than Hades) and instead on shaded bike paths, and liquids (in me and on me).

  39. Geo says:

    Lightweight clothing that breathes real well. (super light wool is fantastic!)

    Riding in the rain as much as possible!!!

  40. rh says:

    I stopped riding after 11am.

  41. elvez says:

    Under Armour HeatGuard shirts, gym shorts,panniers(a recent life saver after 20 years of back packs),Crocs,shades and a full water bottle. From South Texas

  42. Cycle Jerk says:

    Here is a post I did on the subject.

    You don’t need a shower at work!

  43. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    When the temps are high, I try to plan my route where I have the most headwinds… When its really hot there is nothing worse than a strong tailwind..

    I also increase my salt intake a little.

  44. Scottgem says:

    I started commuting by bike for the first time in April (got a new job). I live on LI, NY. The office is 9 miles from my house. In the mornings I stop by a gym a half mile from the office for a shower and change into my work clothes. I then cycle the remaining half mile to the office.

    Form my morning commute I generally start between 6:30 and 6:45. On hotter days I leave a little earlier to take it easier. But I’ve found this time in the morning has still not heated up to oppressive yet. I do arrive at the gym hot and sweaty. But the shower refreshes me. And I take it slow that last half mile.

    I found that while I’m moving (on either leg) the breeze I generate wicks the sweat off creating a natural air conditioning. Its only when I have to stop for street crossing that I really feel the heat.

  45. Tom Bowden says:

    I wear loose fitting cotton clothing. A $15 short sleeve plaid shirt from Target, and some khaki shorts are just right. Maybe some seersucker or madras shorts would be lighter, but might clash with my shirt. Style is important after all.

    Mostly, I take it easy and keep moving. Let the seat keep you cool – that’s what it’s there for. Of course, drink lots of fluids. Not a big factor for me as my commute is 10 miles +/-, but I do stay hydrated throughout the day, and there are plenty of places to stop for water or other drinks on my way home, so I don’t carry a bottle.

  46. harl says:

    Fill up my water bottle with ice cubes, add water, and hydrate as I ride.

    Wear “wick away” clothing and change when I get to work. Wear sandals.

    Wear a bike helmet with a bill to help shade my face and cut the heat.

  47. sportmac says:

    I leave early for my 10 mile commute so it’s not so bad (but a bear in the winter). Bomb home in the afternoon, work up a good sweat (not hard to do in Washington, DC summers).

    Lots and lots of water.

    3 to 5 times a week I then hit the tennis courts. That’ll get you used to it fast. 🙂

  48. Elise says:

    A friend of mine puts one of those flexible ice packs that are used for sports injuries in the top of his helmet. Looks like your head is very tall, but cooling off your head really helps keep your body temperature down! (you can’t be concerned about looking good though)

    I rely on my electric motor a lot – I get the cool breeze from cycling but don’t have to work so hard. When it’s “wilting” temperature outside, I’m happy to work less but still get to ride the bike instead of the car.

  49. hippiclimber says:

    less clothes, more speed.

  50. Jeremy Green says:

    I leave for work early in the morning. On the way home I just suck it up.

  51. I live in the UK. If it’s hot it’s a miracle. Don’t worry, it will rain/snow/blow a gale soon and then you can complain about how cold/wet/windy it is.

  52. Jack says:

    1. Drink electrolyte enhanced beverages by the gallon.
    2. Carry a sweatshirt to wear whenever I get to my (usually air-conditioned) destination. Not only does this keep me from freezing to death once I go inside, but it also serves to help disguise the fact that I’m sweating like a dog.
    3. Keep extra drinks wrapped up in a sweatshirt or something (helps them stay cool a lot longer than they would just sitting in the beverage bottle holder).
    4. Take rest stops in the shade every few hours on a long ride (even ten minutes helps).

  53. Robert says:

    I’m in San Antonio, it stays hot here almost all the time.

    I shower when I get there, because clients don’t want lawyers who smell bad.

  54. Fiona says:

    Here in Houston I’ve been having more problems with Thunderstorms than with heat the past month, but I have found that going an extra 10 minutes early and washing off in the coldest bathroom in the building helps. After riding slowly, A few cold wash cloths and ten minutes in the 68 degree bathroom and Im office ready pretty quickly.

    My hair, however, is not. Riding days are ponytail and headband days, as there isn’t much I can do to keep my hair sweat free under a helmet in the heat.

    I’ve been wearing regular workout shorts (not bike shorts) and cotton tanks and bringing clean & dry underwear, office clothes, and a fresh tank, socks, and sports bra to ride home in. Because frankly, they would be gross after 8 hours in a locker. I’ve got a giant gallon ziplock to keep the stinky stuff in during the day.

  55. Gardengnome says:

    I’m in the central valley of California, where 95 to 110 is normal high for summer. I’m very lucky in that we have a shower and locker room at work. Mostly control the heat by wearing bike shorts and a shortsleeve jersey to ride, changing when at work or home (and showering) and drinking lots of water.

  56. ss says:

    Nuun tabs in my waterbottle are the only things that can keep me from dehydration, cramping and headaches in 100 degree weather. Plain water = cramps, sports drinks = cramps, NUUN = happy ride.

  57. David says:

    I live just outside of Washington DC. I actually commute in a thin, fitted (not tight), long sleeve, wicking Heat Gear jersey made by Under Armor. It’s surprisingly comfortable – for me the closest thing next to biking without a shirt, which, until I lose 20 lbs, is something I would not do.

  58. OJB says:

    I live in the Northern Central valley in Calif. 95-100 is normal summer temp. I wear moisture wicking shirts and normal sports shorts.
    Don’t wear cotton, it holds the heat in. My feet get really hot so I wear mesh shoes or cycling sandals. Drink plenty of fluids. I use Accelerade, it’s great for hydration and recovery.
    If you feel dehydrated or overheated stop and cool down.

  59. John says:

    In Salt Lake City, we are over 100 for much of the summer. Fortunately, a little research has allowed me to find a route that is largely shaded (side streets, cut through a few parks) which takes the edge off the heat. I try to keep my load as light as possible, so my route passes by several public water fountains, rather than carrying a large supply of fluids. Works great, even in the heat.

  60. JR says:

    Live in Vegas, and it is currently warm for 90/95 days each year… I leave about 5:30 AM during the warm months, with a light T-shirt and hiking shorts to make the ride possible.

    In the afternoon, tis not the heat but the sun has a bite I do not remember as a yooth, or youth as we pronounce younger in this desert valley!!!


  61. Greg says:

    I also live in Houston. I am a larger guy so and sadly I have no showers at my job. I bring a towel and dont change my shirt right away. I dont want to ruin two shirts. haha. Also for thoes of you that have short cut hair. I wear a bandana or cycling cap under my helmet it keeps the sweat out of my eyes wonderfully.


  62. Ray says:

    Tokyo is pretty hot this time of year with very high humidity. Along with things already mentioned I also use a sweat gutr under my helmet. Works wonders.

  63. Mark says:

    I have a 10 mile commute into work here in Dallas. I beat the heat by freezing my 2 water bottles overnight. By the time I arrive into work, they have both melted to the point that I can drink them. They definitely help cool me down before entering the office. During the summer, i try to adjust my hours where I can leave about 6-7pm so I don’t have the sun glaring down on me as much.

  64. chunkymonkeybiker says:

    I used to commute in 100 degree weather in So Cal. I’d wear a long sleve workshirt and drench it with water. It was cold at the beginning of the ride but felt great and eventually dried with in 1 hour. I’d do it again if in the same situation.

  65. bryan says:

    move to the UK you will never ever get to hot.

  66. patrick says:

    I live in Austin. It has been 105 every day this month so far.

    These things work for me:

    1.) Cotton seersucker shirts are the best thing on god’s earth for hot weather anything. Wash them, then air dry. Get lightweight pants, dark colored. A few changes of these are a bit of money, but I think worth it.

    2.) Pannier bags, not backpacks

    3.) A towel to wipe off if needed

    4.) Spray on “mineral salt” deodorant, used generously.

  67. steph says:

    I wish, but no, i’ll be in the states (Florida specifically) where cars are dominant on the roads 🙁

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