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In the dead of winter, you might think longingly of blissful summer days taking long bike rides on your favorite rail-trails, but once summer actually arrives sometimes the heat and humidity make that once dreamed about activity seem a lot less appealing. With a little strategizing, however, biking in hot weather need not be avoided. Follow these tips for a safe and fun summer riding experience.
Set the alarm and head out as early as possible to avoid extreme heat. Prepare the night before by packing up snacks, money, trail maps, and other items. Have water bottles filled and ready to go and clothes set
Staying hydrated in the heat is perhaps the most important consideration. Best sure to bring plenty of liquids and take small, frequent sips, which helps your body more efficiently absorb water. If your bike only holds one bottle cage, consider where you might be able to add another. Don’t underestimate
Some people go with the less is more approach and opt for sleeveless tops, while others might prefer to wear long sleeves made of a cooling fabric to avoid sun exposure. What you decide to wear is largely a personal preference although opt for fabrics that provide sun protection and wick moisture away from your body. Be sure to liberally apply sunscreen and have a good pair of sunglasses. On really hot days a cap or bandana around your head can keep sweat out of your eyes, and another bandana tied around your wrist can be useful for wiping
Make sure your bike is finely tuned for efficient riding, paying particular attention to maximizing tire pressure to minimize your effort. Don’t underestimate the difference a few extra pounds might make. Do you need the rear rack and panniers? If not, take them off so that your load is lighter.
Allow time for a post ride
While it might be tempting to forgo a bike ride in hot weather, enjoying an early morning ride on a summer day can be the perfect way to start the day.
Rail-trails, many of them traversing the darkest portions of our country, make ideal places to see the stars as you pedal your way through changing landscapes.
You'll have a variety of trail experiences to choose from in Washington, from rustic backcountry adventures to well-groomed paved routes through city centers.
Ready for adventure? Here you’ll find some of the longest rail-trails in the country that will make for an epic bike ride of 100 miles or more...