This summer has broken heat records in NSW and it’s not over yet. Bike riding can beat sticky journeys by car or on public transport if you take care of yourself.
The Cancer Council NSW has a handy widget that tells you what the UV index is and provides advice on the times of day you need sunscreen.
To reduce your risk of sunburn and skin cancer, follow Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide advice to protect your skin and eyes. Light-weight, long sleeved and a visor for your helmet can help protect you from the sun on the bike.
If possible plan journeys with more shade and avoid riding during the hottest part of the day – 11-3 during daylight saving time.
Dehydration and heat stress can be a problem on hot days and long rides. To help avoid it, have a glass of water before you start your ride, carry water with you and sip regularly to stay hydrated.
If you are riding on a very hot day, for a long time or if you ride often you may also need to replace the salts and minerals lost through perspiration. Electrolyte and sports drinks can help replace these salts and minerals, and failure to do so can increase the symptoms of dehydration.
Dehydration and heat stress symptoms include headaches, feeling faint or dizzy, nausea, panting, vomiting, or feeling unable to cool down even when you stop riding. It is important if you feel any of these symptoms to stop riding, seek shade or a cool environment and medical assistance as soon as possible.
“Heat stress and dehydration are serious and we encourage all riders to look after themselves and heed warnings,” said Bicycle NSW Communications Manager, Kim Lavender.
Bicycle NSW recommends riders avoid riding on roadways and in locations where warnings are in place for melting road surfaces, as these may puncture tyres and leave riders exposed in hot conditions for long periods.