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Summer Cycling Essentials I Can't Live Without

24 July, 2018

When it comes to summer cycling, I'm no stranger to long rides under the summer sun. I've spent way to many mornings along bikes paths with other early risers, riding relentlessly for the sake of riding before the high heat. When summer is here though, cyclists love to boast of razor sharp #prohours tan lines, long miles, and adventures in epic places but while we are out for miles in the sun, there are some things we should focus on: protecting ourselves against dehydration, sun and wind burn, and keeping cool. Knowing that I'll be outside riding till the temperature rises to unbearable degrees, I always prepare and pack my summer essentials to ensure I'm prepared for every hot situation. That said, here are my top essentials for cycling in the heat.
Handle Bar Bag - I'm not a fan of carrying things on my person if I could help it when it's hot out. Weightless bags for summer rides are essential since they can carry the basic necessities. Road Runner's Burrito Bag and Po Campo's Kinga handlebar bags can carry those summer essentials without adding much weight to your bike. I always keep a small bottle of sunscreen, spf lip balm, chamois packet, a zip lock of money, and handkerchief to wipe sweat off my face during rides. Plus you never know when you'll need to reapply any of these items or need a dry dollar bill.
SPF Kit - When it comes to kit, covering up with a UPF jersey and bibs or UPF arms sleeves can help protect you from sun damage. Machines For Freedom carries the Summerweight Long Sleeve Jersey providing UPF 50 to protect your skin from the sun. Made from a super lightweight fabric that keeps you cool, it's perfect for even the hottest days. Their Print Jersey's are made of the high performing European fabric for the best moisture wicking, breathability, and form fitting comfort. The Endurance Bib also carries sun protection and are made of high performing fabrics for moisture wicking with a top quality chamois sized for all sit bone widths and carbon micro fiber fabric to prevent bacterial build up. I personally am a huge fan of MFF's quality material, form fitting design, and comfort in their kits. I don't think I could survive a long warm days ride on the saddle without my endurance bibs, top quality kits here.
Sun Protection - Sunscreen should always be on whenever you step outside for long periods of time.  For body and face sunscreen I highly recommend a sunscreen that is environmentally friendly like Kiehl's Active Sunscreen or Daily UV Defense. Chemical sunscreens usually absorb UV radiation, allowing it to pass the surface of the skin but preventing it to reach the deeper layers, while mineral sunscreens reflect the UV radiation, blocking it from entering the skin at all. Products that block UVA and UVB radiation will be labeled as broad-spectrum (or full-spectrum) protection. I highly recommend a non-greasy broad-spectrum sunscreen with antioxidants to add another layer of protection too. You want to make sure you're getting the best protection while keeping your pores breathing to release sweat
Eye and Head Gear - Be aware that while being #outsideisfree it'll cost you your vision of you don't protect your eyes with riding specs. Also, getting bugs, dirt, and grit in your eyes can be both painful and dangerous on a bike, and the chances of that happening are greatly increased in summer when bugs are plenty and dirt roads are tempting for a wondering adventure. One way around the problem is to invest in some UV protective riding specs like Rapha's Pro Team Flyweight sunglasses

Cycling caps can go a long way in both protecting your eyes and absorbing sweat - preventing it from getting into your eyes with the stinging effect of sunscreen. If you have thick heavy hair like myself and don't like wearing caps in summer, wearing a headband will also help to keep sweat dripping down your face into your eyes while protecting your face from sweaty hair and hairlines from sun damage while letting your head breath under your helmet. 
Hydration - Staying hydrated seems like an obvious one, but let’s break it down. Not only do we get way sweatier while cycling out in summer weather but we’re generally losing more fluid throughout the day too, thanks to the heat and humidity. Sure, this makes us thirstier, but dehydration affects many processes within the body that we might not even be aware of, like brain function. 

Obviously hydrating and replacing electrolytes is key to keep our bodies from becoming dehydrated but in the heat we sweat more and lose more salt. Consider carrying one bidon with water and another mixed with electrolytes to help you avoid bunking and dehydration. I highly recommend OSMO Active Hydration that dissolves in your bottle. You can keep refilling your bidons with water and just drop one in.

What have I missed? What are your favorite summer riding essentials?

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