Tips Staying Cool Summer Rides | Macfox eBike
    Discover essential tips for staying cool and hydrated during summer cycling. Learn about pre-hydration, electrolyte drinks, breathable clothing, sun protection, and more.

    Tips for Staying Cool While Riding in Summer

    • By Macfox Bike
    • May 29

    Compared to running or team sports, biking or ebikes still offer an enjoyable summer pastime, thanks to the increased speed and natural breeze created by pedaling. But how do you stay safe and hydrated on a hot summer ride? Read on for essential tips to beat the heat and optimize your summer cycling adventures.

    However, this comforting breeze can be misleading, concealing the actual effort, heat, and sweat loss from summer rides. Therefore, understanding and managing your hydration during these rides is not just vital to performance and pleasure, but it also gives you a sense of control and empowerment over your cycling experiences.

    In the United States, recent heat records have been remarkable. 2023 became the hottest year on record worldwide, including several extreme heat events. In July 2023, temperatures reached 54.4 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit) in Death Valley, California, the second record-breaking extreme heat in the region after 2020 and 2021 (NOAA) (NOAA) (Yale Climate Connections).

    In addition, the average temperature in the United States in July 2023 was 75.7 degrees Fahrenheit (24.3 degrees Celsius), 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit above average, making it the 11th warmest July in 129 years. Arizona, Florida, Maine and New Mexico set the warmest July on record (NOAA).

    These extreme heat events are a serious challenge for cyclists.

    The Impact of Heat on Performance

    Australian research has shown that when cycling in 32degC heat, power output can drop by a significant 6.5%. This decrease in performance is not the only risk. Dehydration, muscle cramps, and hyponatremia - a condition where sodium levels become dangerously low - are all potential dangers of inadequate hydration. These risks underscore the importance of staying properly hydrated during summer cycling.

    Andy Blow, founder of Precision Fuel & Hydration, notes that sodium loss varies significantly across individuals due to genetic variations, typically between 200mg to 2,000mg per liter of sweat loss. Knowing your sodium loss rate is critical to creating an effective hydration strategy tailored specifically for you.

    Sweat contains 40% sodium and 60% chloride; increased sweating leads to more significant sodium loss; however, drinking enough will depend on your sweat rate and ride duration.

    Practical Tips for Staying Cool and Hydrated

    Staying cool and hydrated is essential for safe and enjoyable cycling in the summer heat. Here’s a detailed breakdown of practical tips to help you manage the heat and maintain your performance:


    Start hydrating the night before a long ride. Drink water regularly throughout the evening to ensure your body starts the day well-hydrated.

    On the morning of your ride, consume at least 500ml of water 2-3 hours before you start. Follow this with another 250ml of water about 15-30 minutes before you head out. This ensures your body is fully hydrated and ready to tackle the heat.

    Consider drinking beverages that contain electrolytes in addition to water. This can include sports drinks, coconut water, or water mixed with electrolyte tablets. These help in maintaining the electrolyte balance in your body, which is crucial for optimal muscle function and preventing cramps.

    Maintain Electrolyte Balance

    When you sweat, you lose more than just water; you also lose essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and magnesium. These are crucial for muscle function and overall performance.

    Incorporate electrolyte-rich drinks into your hydration plan. Products like sports drinks, electrolyte tablets, or powders can be added to your water bottle. These help replenish the sodium and other electrolytes lost through sweat.

    Sip these electrolyte drinks consistently throughout your ride rather than waiting until you feel thirsty. Aim for a balance between plain water and electrolyte-infused drinks to maintain hydration without diluting your electrolyte levels too much.

    Read more: How to Build an E-bike from Scratch

    Wear Lightweight and Breathable Clothing

    When selecting cycling apparel that quickly wicks moisture away from the skin to facilitate drying processes and keep you cool during high-heat rides, look for technical fabrics designed for high temperatures that allow evaporation. Such materials help you stay cool.

    Choose jerseys equipped with mesh panels or ventilation zones that allow airflow across your body and boost cooling, helping prevent overheating. This can help provide enhanced cooling and help avoid overheating issues.

    Opt for light-colored clothing. Dark hues absorb more heat from the sun and can make you feel hotter, while light hues reflect it and help to keep you more relaxed.

    Consider wearing cooling neck gaiters or arm sleeves. You can soak them in water to provide an evaporating cooling effect as they evaporate away.

    Use Sunscreen and Sun Protection

    To reduce sunburn risks and long-term skin damage, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating. Such a formula offers protection from UVA and UVB rays and reduces your chances of burning or long-term damage to the skin.

    Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you sweat profusely. Keep a small bottle handy to top up during your ride.

    A lightweight, well-ventilated helmet equipped with an inbuilt visor can protect you from direct sunlight and help reduce the risk of overheating. Add one via the clip-on option if your current helmet does not include one.

    UV-blocking sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful sun rays while reducing glare that could cause eye strain and headaches.

    Choose Optimal Timing and Routes

    Plan your rides during early morning or late evening when temperatures are at their lowest, to avoid riding in midday sun rays, which peak between 10 am and 4 pm when temperatures can soar.

    Select routes with ample shade - such as those passing through wooded areas, parks, or shaded streets - to escape direct sunlight.

    Use weather apps or local heat maps to identify the optimal times and routes for your rides, and adjust your schedule to avoid peak heat times of the day.

    Take Regular Cool Down Breaks

    Plan on taking regular cool-down breaks during your ride, approximately every 30-45 minutes. Use these rest stops to rest under a shaded area and allow your body to relax.

    Bring along a small, damp towel or cooling scarf in your kit. When taking breaks, place these on your neck or head to help reduce body temperature.

    Utilize breaks as an opportunity to hydrate and snack light snacks. Drinking water or electrolyte-containing drinks helps maintain both hydration levels and energy.

    Use Hydration Packs or Easily Accessible Water Bottles

    Consider investing in a hydration pack that allows for convenient sipping without stopping. Typically, these packs feature tubes that run from their reservoir to your mouth, which makes sipping simple while riding.

    If you prefer water bottles, ensure they're easily accessible using bottle cages mounted to your bike frame. Carry multiple bottles if embarking on an extended ride.

    Create a routine in which you take small sips of water or an electrolyte beverage every 10 to 15 minutes to maintain proper hydration without overburdening your stomach. This will ensure you stay hydrated without going dehydrated too quickly.

    Monitor Your Body for Heat-Related Issues

    Be mindful of heat exhaustion and heat stroke symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, headache, excessive sweating followed by no sweating, muscle cramps, rapid heartbeat rate, and confusion.

    If either of you exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned above, stop riding immediately and seek shade or cool areas, drink plenty of water or electrolyte drinks, and cool the body down by using wet towels or ice packs.

    Wear a heart rate monitor to track your exertion levels and detect when they become unusually high; an extraordinarily elevated heart rate could indicate that your body has overheated.


    Cycling during the summer can be both exhilarating and demanding.

    By prioritizing proper hydration, balancing electrolytes, selecting suitable clothing, protecting yourself from sun exposure, and carefully planning rides, you can maximize the enjoyment and challenge of cycling this season.

    Regular breaks and awareness of heat-related symptoms are not just precautions, but they also provide a sense of security, ensuring your safety on two wheels.

    With these tips, you can confidently face the heat and keep your rides enjoyable and safe! Stay calm and hydrated, and have a fantastic summer on two wheels!


    What are the best times to cycle during hot weather?

    Early morning or late evening, when temperatures are cooler.

    How often should I reapply sunscreen while cycling?

    Reapply every two hours or more frequently if sweating heavily.

    What should I drink to maintain electrolyte balance?

    Use sports drinks, electrolyte tablets, or coconut water to replenish lost electrolytes.

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