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Cycling in hot weather: 9 tips to beat the heat

Cycling in hot weather: 9 tips to beat the heat

Compared to running or any non-water-based team sports, cycling is surely the most pleasurable in a heatwave. The increased speeds and bike-generated movement of air…

Thursday, Aug 11

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Compared to running or any non-water-based team sports, cycling is surely the most pleasurable in a heatwave. The increased speeds and bike-generated movement of air provide a cooling blanket of sorts over the rider.

That windchill, however, can be devious and disguise just how hard we’re working, just how hot it is and how much we’re sweating. This is why staying hydrated on the bike this summer is paramount to your riding performance and enjoyment.

And there’s no doubting it is getting hotter, with 2018 the joint hottest summer since records began and 2022 recording the UK’s highest ever temperature of 40.3°C. While that’s good for ice cream sales, the physical effects on cyclists are proven and pose problems.

In terms of performance, an Australian study found that when cyclists exercise in 32°C heat, their power output drops by 6.5 per cent, while dehydration, cramping and hyponatremia (when the concentration of sodium in your blood is abnormally low) are all dangers of insufficient fuelling on the bike.

“Largely due to genetics, everyone loses a different amount of sodium in their sweat, from as little as 200mg per litre of sweat, to as much as 2,000mg/l,” says Andy Blow, founder of Precision Fuel & Hydration, which helps athletes establish how much sodium is lost when they sweat and develop personalised hydration and fuelling strategies.

Sweat contains salt, comprising 40 per cent sodium and 60 per cent chloride, so the more you sweat, the more sodium you lose.

But sodium losses are just one part of the […]

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