Take the no-sweat challenge (and other tips to survive the heat)

Take the no-sweat challenge (and other tips to survive the heat)

Splash Dance Ride-5-4

If you see water, ride through it.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s hot out there and it doesn’t look like we’ve got much relief in sight.


To cope with the high temps, I’ve started doing something new this year. I call it the no-sweat challenge. I figured now was a great time to share more about that and all the other tricks we know in hopes of keeping more of you — comfortably — on the bike. (Because there’s no reason to stop riding in the heat. And besides, MAX is unreliable over 90-degrees and auto traffic has been hellish in Portland lately.)

OK. Back to the no-sweat challenge: The challenge is to not break a sweat while riding or when you get to your destination. How? Simple! Just don’t pedal hard. Shift into a very easy gear and just spin easily as if you are dawdling through the park on a Sunday afternoon. Not only will you stay cooler, but you’ll find that by going slower you’ll have a much more enjoyable and safer experience overall (as will the people you share the road with). It’s a win-win of stay cool and creating a more courteous biking culture.

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Splash Dance Ride-11-10

Dan has the right idea.

Here are some other quick tips culled from my own experiences and reader comments over the years:

Ride through fountains and other water sources whenever possible: Portland has water in parks, in plazas, in rivers, and so on. Adjust your route to ride through water and get soaked!

Carry your bags on your bike, not your body: Wearing a backpack in the heat is the worst. If you can, plop your bags on a pannier rack or in a basket.

Adjust your schedule: If at all possible, try to ride early in the morning or later in the evening to miss peak scorching.

Freeze your bottles: Oldest trick in the book.

Soak your shirt or other items before heading out: Lots of folks swear by wrapping a wet bandanna around their neck or under their helmet. Other variations on this tip include wearing a wet t-shirt and/or wrapping a sock full of ice around your neck.

Chill out when you’re done: As you ride, the wind keeps you cool and evaporates your sweat. But don’t let your guard down when you get to your destination. Make sure you take several minutes to cool off and gather yourself or you could get dizzy and queasy from heat exposure.

Drink a lot of water: ‘Nuff said.

What are you best tips for riding in this heat?

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