With spring here and summer on its way, it's time to get your e-bike out and enjoy the nice warm weather. But as temperatures rise, it's important to consider how to stay safe and cool on your ride. So, before your first summer ride, consider these comfort and safety tips.
1. Bring Extra Water
On an average summer ride, you will probably need at least 20 ounces of water handy every hour. This means unless you have regular stops along the way to refill, one water bottle won't be enough. Even if you plan on a short ride, remember that your plans may change, or you may even get lost.
This makes it important to ensure you have an ample supply of water for any unexpected detours as well as longer rides. A good way to handle this is keeping one bottle of water connected to a cage on your e-bike's frame and another in a backpack or other bag like the Espin Pannier.
2. Wear Plenty of Sunscreen
When you're riding, the summer sun can be harsh on your skin quickly. During the summer, it can take less than an hour to suffer from sunburn and other damage. This can be an even bigger problem when you're riding with less clothing to survive the heat.
So, make sure to wear at least an SPF 30 and make sure to reapply regularly. Often working up a sweat riding can make it run off quickly, so don't be surprised if you need to reapply several times on a long trip. You can try using sport sunscreens which claim to be more resistant to sweat, but it is important to pay attention and reapply if it does wear off anyway.
3. Ride in the Early Morning
Riding between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. can subject you to the hottest and most intense rays of the sun. To avoid the punishing heat and potential sunburn, try riding early in the morning.
By say getting up at 7 a.m., you can ride for hours before the temperatures get their hottest at noon. If being an early bird doesn't sound too appealing, then you could always try riding at sunset. Make sure your bike is equipped with plenty of lights, and check your local laws to make sure you have any equipment you need. This way you can enjoy the evening cool.
4. Pace Yourself
During the hottest days of the year, it can be hard to pedal at full speed. So, remember, you don't need to break any speed records during the summer heat. Instead of risking a heat stroke, make sure you pace yourself to where you feel comfortable. Make sure to take breaks to hydrate and rest. It can be a good idea to take several shorter rides to get used to riding in the heat before taking any day-long rides.
5. Try Freezing Your Water
Try using insulated water bottles and placing a few in your freezer the night before your ride. Then you can take one unfrozen bottle and drink that one first and drink the frozen bottles as they gradually melt.
This will give you ice cold water potentially hours into your ride. Also, by keeping some of the bottles on or near your body, you can help keep yourself cool while you defrost your bottles.
6. Reduce Your Effort
During the hottest days of summer, don't even try and keep up the same pace as you do during milder days. This applies to humid days as well. This can mean reducing your pedaling speed, cutting rides shorter, or using more pedal assist on your route.
7. Treat Your Battery Right
Often times it can be a good idea to bring your bike inside, at least in a garage, to keep it out of the sunlight and elements. But, when you're bringing your bike on a camping trip on the back of your car, this may not be an easy order.
During the heat of summer, try disconnecting your battery and bringing it in the car with you. In addition to this, try to remember any time your bikes will be left in direct sunlight for long to detach the battery and place it in a shady location to keep it cool.
By doing this, you can extend your battery's service life. Hot temperatures can prematurely wear out the components that make up your battery, causing a permanent loss of battery capacity; for more advice on keeping your battery healthy, check out this article.
8. Wear Cool and Comfortable Clothing
When you're riding your e-bike in the summer, you need to consider what you wear. To keep you cool and regulate your body temperature, your body needs to sweat, and this is extremely important during particularly hot days.
So, if you normally wear a full pair of bike pants, instead try shorts or capris. Some short sleeve biking jerseys offer sun protection and can still let the skin breathe.
9. Try Lycra Instead of Cotton
During mild days, a cotton shirt is just fine for short rides, but for long or hot rides, maybe not. Cotton absorbs your body's sweat. This not only feels uncomfortable, but it also weighs you down.
Lycra, on the other hand, draws the sweat away from your body, where most of it will evaporate. This allows your sweat to keep your body cool, and this can make a big difference in your overall body temperature. So consider using Lycra or another moisture-wicking fabric.
10. Keep Cool
This doesn't mean throwing a bag of ice over yourself, and in fact, this can actually hurt more than it helps. When ice presses against your skin, it causes your blood vessels to constrict and sends hot blood back into your core. When core temperature gets high, not only will your performance drop, but it can hurt your health as well.
Try using a cooling towel instead. This technology can help reduce your body's average temperature to up to 30 degrees below its regular level. To activate its cooling power, just wet it in advance, wring out excess, and snap the towel. Without one of these, just wet a regular towel and wipe down, or even just pour cool water onto your arms and neck.
The right preparation can make all the difference between a fun and enjoyable e-bike ride and heat sickness. So remember to bring sunscreen and try using these tips to keep cool on your e-bike this summer.