#BeatTheHeat: 10 Equipment Choices for Riding & Racing in the Heat
With summer in full swing, making small yet relatively inexpensive changes to your equipment choices can make big differences to your training and racing. Here we have compiled a list of some of the key changes you can make to aid your comfort and performance.
Opt for light coloured clothing (white) and avoid black or dark coloured clothing. This is due to the physical characteristics of dark objects tending to absorb light from the sun and subsequently emitting it as heat, while light objects tend to reflect the wavelengths of light and so absorb little.
Choose light coloured shoes, with good ventilation and large toe-boxes. This may help to alleviate foot pressure and swelling. NorthWave shoes generally have larger toe boxes.
Use a non-greasy sunscreen with high SPF (30+), which not only protects the skin from damage, but may also help to marginally reduce skin temperature.
Choose UV ray blocking sun-glasses, preferably in a dark tint to protect your eyes (i.e. grade 3).
Saddle injuries are more common when riding in the heat, particularly if the terrain is flat and you are spending much of the time riding in the saddle. To alleviate this problem, apply chamois cream to the skin and to use cycling shorts with a high-quality pad.
Opt for well vented helmets to promote optimal airflow and to keep the head as cool as possible. It would also be advisable to choose a light coloured helmet in order to reduce radiant heating. The exception here would be for time-trials, where a compromise between cooling and aerodynamics must be considered.
Choose jerseys and shorts with mesh panels in order to provide higher rates of airflow to the skin and reduce heating. Remember to apply sunscreen to the skin underneath the mesh panels!
Choose insulated bottles over normal bottles, and store in the refrigerator prior to your ride/race to ensure drinks remain cool!
Add electrolyte tabs to your drink, and carry some for a top-up to keep hydrated on your ride. For more on ride hydration, check out our previous blog here >>>
Choose a light coloured, breathable sock to reduce radiant heating and aid drying. Polyester fabrics or merino wool are good options and mesh panels further help keep your feet cool.