Cycling gear summer essentials
'Tis the season of the sun and the season of the bike - even in the midst of a pandemic! We've heard a lot about "essential" and "non-essential" these past few months. When it comes to the summer, there is cycling gear that is quite definitely essential. With a bit of preparation, you can be ready to safely tackle heat and sun. With the right cycling gear, you can avoid dehydration, sunburn, and heat exhaustion.
Hydration is one of the most pertinent needs with summer riding. Make sure you drink lots of water before a ride, and that you bring enough water along. You'll want at least 750ml on a hot summer ride. Look for well insulated water bottles that will keep your water cold on the hottest days.
However, you'll want to check out our nutrition department for other means of hydration as well Isotonic sports drinks are at the same osmolarity as our bodily fluids and can therefore be absorbed into the body as fast as or faster than just drinking water. Alternatively, electrolyte tablets dissolve easily in water. They provide your body with minerals vital for muscular contraction and the regulation of your body’s fluid balance, which helps us to maintain performance in the heat.
One of the key components to keeping cool is the jersey you choose. A key characteristic of summer cycling jerseys is the ability to wick away sweat from the body. This will help to keep us feeling cool and comfortable as the mercury rises. Lightweight mesh panels are ideal, although be aware that the sun’s rays can penetrate the holes so you may need some sunscreen under your jersey. Nowadays, you can find jerseys with SPF ratings - look for these for an extra layer of sun protection.
In addition to a well ventilated jersey, you're going to want a well ventilated helmet. Aerodynamic helmets that take seconds of your cycling time are not the best choice for a hot summer day. You'll want to swap to a better ventilated helmet on warm days or when there’s going to be lots of climbing involved because ventilation is key to remaining cool.
Protect those eyes
Sunglasses block out potentially harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV can be attributed to the development of eye problems like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Bright summer sun can lead to headaches and strain on your eyes. When looking into the sun we squint, which stresses the muscles around our eyes and over time can lead to eyestrain. A darker tinted pair of sunglasses will mitigate squint-headaches.
Lastly, you're going to want to invest in some bags to carry all your summer gear in. Store sunscreen, lip balm, an emergency kit and an emergency stash of money. Going for a longer ride? We've got bags in all shapes and sizes to meet the needs of just about any ride.