I hit 8000 miles on my road bike at the beginning of yesterday afternoon’s ride. I was coasting down through the UMBC campus in the 92-degree heat, on my way to Poplar Ave. That’s part of my usual strategy for beating the heat on hot summer afternoons. The two keys are: take it easy, and drink lots of water. Coasting down hills is one of the easiest things you can do to stay cool. In general, it’s best to keep pedaling, but extreme heat is one of the exceptions to that rule. Coasting gives you a breather, and the air movement helps cool you off. In the heat, you also want to think holistically; in other words, take the entire ride into consideration when planning how hard to exert. My ride home consists of rolling hills for most of the way, followed by a 1.5-mile uphill grind. I have to be careful not to overexert at the beginning of the ride, or I will overheat and run out of gas on the final climb.
I ride like this when it’s 90° or more out, and also during Maryland’s trademark “code orange” bad air quality days, which lately seem to happen almost every day (though we seem to have gotten a reprieve today). Paradoxically, on really hot days, I often arrive home less sweaty than I would on a slightly cooler day, because I tend to go faster and push harder when it’s below 90 out.
The road bike is still seeing the lion’s share of my riding this summer. It’s my go-to bike when it’s hot and dry out. This fall it’ll likely need new tires and maybe a new chain. Also, I’m starting to see silver peeking through in a couple spots on the handlebars, so I may need to re-wrap them soon. Tire-wise, I’ve been pretty happy with the Continental GatorSkins I’ve been running on this bike, so I’ll likely go with another pair, though I’ll probably up-size from a 700cx23 to 700cx25.