Summer Riding Tips

Here in NW Florida we enjoy great weather practically year round for cycling. With only modest adjustments to your riding clothing you can maximize your cycling enjoyment whether cruising along the beach, road biking on the 30A or hitting the trails in one of our local State Parks.

During the Summer months our temps can get in the 90’s but rarely hotter especially close to the water or wherever the breeze can get to you.  Also on the average Summer day we have those beautiful white fluffy cumulus clouds which provide temporary bits of shade as they slowly migrate overhead.

If you are enjoying a cruise along the beach, the only appropriate attire is a comfortable swimsuit. If you start to overheat find the nearest place to lock your bike and take a dip in our beautiful emerald Gulf waters. If you don’t want to have the salt water residue then go to one of the many public beach entrances which have showers available. And in the month of August the shower water may be cooler than the Gulf.

For road or all-terrain cycling here’s a refresher on some hot weather strategies which might make your time on the pedals more enjoyable.

(please note, these are just common sense guidelines. If you are planning an intense hot weather activity consult a qualified expert)

 

Sun DialTIME OF DAY: When planning your trip take into consideration the start and finish time of your ride. During hot weather avoid riding between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. In the Summer months you will have plenty of daylight to ride. Here on the NW Florida Coast during Summer months it starts to get light at 5:00 am and sunset at 8:00 pm there are a lot of hours available for multi-hour rides that are not during the ‘heat of the day’.

 

HydrateHYDRATE: Sweating is the body’s primary means of keeping cool. If you are not hydrated, or don’t stay hydrated you will not be able to sweat and will overheat… NOT GOOD! Most people already know that staying hydrated is necessary for good idea overall health. Water is required for the proper functioning of our bodies, and a regular intake throughout the day allows our bodies to effectively process the water.

So assuming that you are not starting from a hydration deficit, you don’t need to drink a gallon of fluid before riding on a hot day. All you need to do is drink -slowly is preferred, a 16oz sports drink (of your choice) an hour before your ride. For long rides take enough fluids (a combination of water and sports beverages) so that you can take sips throughout your ride. The idea is to maintain consistent intake without overwhelming your digestive system. If your ride is longer than a couple of hours you should plan on taking a break ideally in an air conditioned location. Pay attention to your body, it will ‘tell’ you if you are getting low on fluids. If you begin to feel dizzy or if you get stomach cramps it’s time to call it a day. Head to the movie theater for a cool break or go take a cool bath. If you have a pool that has shade, go for it but try to avoid direct sun exposure until you feel completely refreshed.

 

Italians know how to dress for SummercCycling!

Italians know how to dress for SummercCycling!

ATTIRE: Loose or tight, dark or light, covered or uncovered? There is still a lot of debate on this topic. What we are liking these days is tight, light and covered. A tight high-wicking jersey is ideal, if you get a short sleeved version make sure you use sunscreen on those arms. Get a front zipper as opposed to a pullover. For all day rides take an extra one you can change into halfway into your ride. The color black is always popular and while you are riding and the wind is blowing over you it’s fine, but as soon as you slow or stop you will pay the price. Get white or light colors for your jersey, shorts and helmet.

 

BREAKS: If you are riding the 30A during the Summer you will be taking breaks as traffic and pedestrians will abound in Watercolor and Seaside. If you are starting your ride at either end, these are good midpoints on the route. If you are planning a non stop 20 mile blast you will need to leave by 5am between April and September.

 

 

Cold Weather Cycling

It’s January (Happy New Year!)

Here in Northwest Florida we don’t get too cold, even though visitors from the lower portion of the State will disagree!
We where on the beach just the other day, it was 60 degrees with a slight breeze blowing, the sun was out and it was beautiful. There was the family dressed in snow gear. The kids building a sand castle with mittens on their hands, while the poor parents sat huddle together watching and trying to stay warm. Felt sorry for them…
Cold Weather BikingAnyway…
A little cool weather is no excuse to stay off your bike. If it’s rainy and cold head to the gym, but if it’s sunny, GET ON YOUR BIKE!

Cold (‘Cool’ for our Northern based fans!) weather riding tips:

We don’t have to worry about snow and ice 99% of the time so your bicycle needs no winterizing. Just remember to factor in the earlier sunset when riding in the afternoons.

Clothing:

If the temperature is in the 60’s you’ll be nice a toasty with a just light jacket.. zippered is preferred so you can adjust how much ventilation you get. If you are already warm when you start your ride you will be too hot in a matter of minutes and will have to make adjustments. So start your ride feeling a little cold and you’ll be just fine.

With temperatures in the 50’s you will want another layer such as a light sweatshirt under your jacket. Also, a beanie or cap (you probably already know that you lose 30% of your body heat through your head). Once you warm up it’s easy to take your cap off and stuff it in a pocket.

When we dip into the 40’s it’s time to add a layer to the legs and a pair of cold weather riding gloves and some warmer socks. If there is a wind blowing you may want a face guard on longer rides. Make sure you remember to stay hydrated. Cold weather can dehydrate you faster than warm weather and the last thing you need is a cramp 10 miles out.

It rarely gets colder than that around here and when it does it’s a great excuse to just relax with a warm beverage and catch up on some reading (or binge-watch the last season of…..).

Or you can swing by the Bike Shop for a visit and see the new bikes and accessories we have for 2015!

See you soon!

Coastal Cruisers