Cycling in the heat

Make sure you have enough water and drink little and often
Victoria Hazael's picture

Cycling in the heat

As temperatures soar this summer, Cycling UK’s Victoria Hazael has some top tips for staying cool on your bike.

The combination of heat and strong sun can make a simple cycle ride less pleasurable, and if you are doing a longer ride you could be affected by heat exhaustion, sunstroke, sunburn and dehydration.  

Be prepared and freeze ahead

Take at least two bottles of water on your ride. The night before, freeze one bottle of water (only fill it up 75% as ice expands). As you ride the ice will melt and soon you’ll have a refreshing cold drink.

If you are feeling very warm you can also use your icy water bottle to squirt yourself to cool down too.

You can freeze bananas too for a cold nutritious snack that won’t be mushy.

Keep hydrated

Cycling in the heat will mean you will sweat more, so you will need to drink more than normal. Don’t wait to feel thirsty to have a drink, drink water little and often throughout your ride.

If you're feeling dehydrated, drink plenty of fluids such as water, diluted squash or fruit juice. These are much more effective than large amounts of tea or coffee. Fizzy drinks may contain more sugar than you need, and may be harder to take in large amounts.

Use sunblock

Use a sweat and water resistant sunblock with an SPF of 50. It offers the best level of protection. Cyclists often forget to use sunblock on the back on their necks and ears, and if your top doesn’t reach your shorts when you lean forward you’ll need to put sunblock on your lower back. Don’t forget to reapply your sunblock every few hours. Also, be extra careful if you have a bald spot and make sure your head is covered.   

Don't rub sunblock near your eyes as it will irritate them. Opt for sunglasses to keep your eyes protected from glare and insects too.


Snacks will fuel your ride, but in hot weather chocolate will just melt, so choose food that isn’t sticky.

Keep alert

Watch out for the first signs of heat exhaustion. This is where a person experiences extreme tiredness. It results from a decrease in blood pressure and blood volume. It's caused by a loss of body fluids and salts after being exposed to heat for a prolonged period of time. Someone with heat exhaustion may feel sick, faint and sweat heavily. You will need to take action, so that heat exhaustion does not develop in to sunstroke.  


In warmer weather, you will need to take more breaks, so factor in rest when planning your ride. Always try and stop in the shade and have a sit down (and an ice-cream!). If you are not sure where to stop for rest and refreshment take a look at Cycling UK's Cyclists Welcome.




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