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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Memphis area cyclists can find ways to beat the summer heat

Memphis area cyclists can find ways to beat the summer heat
By:  Michael Lander
Memphis can have incredibly high temperatures with high humidity
in the summer, but it isn't enough to deter most cyclists from riding
after they acclimate themselves and stay properly hydrated.

It really shouldn't come as a news flash or as a surprise to anyone.  If you spend any time in Memphis, you quickly find out just how hot and humid it can be around this city in the summer and trying to get out and ride a bike during this time of year can feel a lot like trying to do an intensive work-out in a steaming hot sauna.

Even though there is nothing you can do to change the reality of living in what can be an oppressively hot place, there are some ways that cyclists can still get in a good, long bike ride without needlessly suffering from it in the process.

While summer officially begins on June 21 and ends on Sept. 21, you can't always rely on the calendar to tell you when the sweltering heat will come and go in Memphis.  During this timeframe, on average, you can expect to see high temperatures in the mid-90's with heat indexes well over 100. 
  
Riding in the summer can sometimes feel like an uphill climb, but cyclists
can overcome the negative side effects of the heat by consuming enough
fluids with electrolytes.

When the brutally hot temperatures are here, the first, and most obvious step that cyclists can take is to try to ride in the early morning hours and later in the evening when the temperatures and the heat index aren't quite as bad as they are in the middle of the day.  It can be a better and cooler time to ride with a little less traffic on the road and with an added bonus of catching a sunrise or sunset in the process.  The only concern in doing this is making sure that you are wearing visible gear and have lights on the front and back of your bike.

Even though you can acclimate yourself to riding in the stifling heat, it is often best to ride when the temperatures are more tolerable so that you can enjoy the ride more, remain safe, and avoid any unnecessary risk of heat exhaustion or heatstroke. 

If you do ride at the hottest times of the day, it is important to drink before you get on your bike and to make sure that you bring enough to drink throughout your ride, (preferably something that will help you to replenish your loss of electrolytes). 

Cyclists in Memphis can beat the heat by riding earlier or later in
the day and wearing cycling gear that is light and non-absorbent.

Dehydration
is always a constant threat for cyclists, since you are often losing more fluids through perspiration than you are probably taking in, and you can't afford to wait until you get thirsty.   With the loss of fluids, you also need to take in something that will replenish the sodium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals lost through sweat. 

Proper hydration can go a long way in helping to alleviate leg cramps, nausea, and a more serious, life-threatening condition that can develop in hot weather conditions.  Click here for information on proper hydration.  Your diet also plays a very critical role in your performance, and you need to be sure what you consume to fuel you, regardless of what the reading is on a thermometer.

By taking a few precautions, getting plenty of fluids, and taking a common sense approach to Memphis' suffocating summer heat, Memphis area cyclists should be able to get out and enjoy a good ride all summer long.

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