What is this warm skin tingling feeling, this bright yellowy white orb in the sky? Could this be Summer in Britain?
It's been a scorcher over the past couple of days, with temperatures reaching the high 20's all over the UK. While we've been praying for warmer weather and longer days, it's important to remember to stay safe while out on the bike.
Before you rush out the door to hit those beckoning roads and trails, remember: Safety First!
As cyclists, we're obligated to keep our tan lines crisp and razor sharp, but we still need to slather on the sunscreen to prevent burning.
The higher the factor, the more protected you are against UV rays. It's a good idea to buy a travel size bottle for your ride essentials so you can top-up as you sweat it off. Key places to cover is your face and neck, but it's equally important to cover any exposed skin areas too. Don't forget those puckering lips!
Sunglasses aren't just for protecting your eyes from rogue debris and insects, but they are essential for taking care of your eyes from harmful sun-rays.
Ride Earlier or Later
It's cooler first thing in the morning, and later in the day, so try and alter your riding time so that you don't get caught out in the harsh peak temperatures. The great thing about this is that it's usually a lot quieter out on the roads and trails so you can get some uninterrupted pedal time in.
It's important to hydrate on a cycle ride, or for any amount of training, but it's even more important during hot days as you sweat a lot more.
Your body sweats as a way to help regulate your body temperature, so you need to replace the fluids lost by re-hydrating. It's also important to replace salts that you lose as well, so many cyclists tend to have a plain water bottle and an electrolyte drink bottle.
We're supposed to drink approximately 2 litres of water per day, but when you factor in exercising and high temperatures, your body will need a lot more. How much more depends on you and so it's important to listen to your body. Drink when thirsty, or feeling hot, but don't overdo it so much that you feel bloated and ill.
Stay in the Shadows
If you're out trail riding, consider visiting forest locations which have canopies of leaves and foliage to provide shade and shelter from the baking sun.
When cycling in town, find those lines that take you through shaded areas just to give you a break from the heat.
While your helmet should provide enough ventilation and protection from the sun, you can always pop on a thin cycling cap just keep keep those rays at bay.
Thin leg warmers and arm warmers are breathable and they provide skin coverage for those sun sensitive types, and they also reduce running the risk of awkward cycling tan lines.
Listen to your Body
At the end of the day, listen to your body. If you're feeling too hot, too thirsty or too tired, then hop off the bike and take it easy. There's no shame in pushing that climb, or sitting down for a rest and hydrate. Your body will thank you.
Take extra care when cycling and training in hot weather. You'll lose fluids quicker, burn faster and tire more easily, but if you take extra precautions you can still have a fun-in-the-sun adventure.