by Liz Jansen
With hot weather in full swing across most of Canada and the US, (although certainly not in my neighbourhood) it seemed fitting to revisit this topic, pulled from the archives. Keep cool everyone!
It happened to me and it can happen to you. Headache, nausea, confusion, disorientation—and I was on a solo trip in a foreign country, thousands of miles from home.
And if, like those of us in northern climates, we’re not acclimatized to the heat, it can affect us at even moderate heat temperatures.
The onset of heat exhaustion can be insidious. A few easy proactive steps can help us stay well hydrated when riding in hot weather.
- Wear light colored clothing – including your helmet.
- Layer your clothing so you can adjust as the temperature changes. Breathable layers are better than nothing at all – even under your riding gear.
- Drink plenty of fluids – pure water is best. Start drinking well ahead of your ride – the effects of dehydration are cumulative. I have started adding an electrolyte supplement in the form of an effervescent tabs.
- Avoid caffeine. Liquids with act as a diuretic and push water out of your system. If you must have a cup of caffeine, make sure you drink 8 ounces of water for every cup of coffee or soda that you drink.
- Drink 1/2 ounce of water for every 1 pound that you weigh (as a rule of thumb, in a day).
- Sip your water every 15 minutes or so, rather than drink more at longer intervals.
- Install a cup-holder or use a hands-free Camelback. I strap mine around my tank bag rather than on my back and it works just fine.
- Wear lightweight clothing that covers your skin. It minimizes the sun’s drying and damaging effects.
- Stop frequently to rest, stretch, move around, drink water and cool down.
- Plan your day around the weather. Start riding earlier and avoid riding during peak heat times.
Signs of dehydration include: less frequent urination (urine passed will be less in volume and darker in color), fatigue, headache, dizziness and cramps. If you are not drinking water, it is hot and you are not sweating, be careful. This could be a sign that you are nearing heat stroke.