Hot days in Iowa can be insufferable, especially with the high humidity summer brings. It's tempting to hang out in air conditioning comfort and postpone riding until cooler temperatures arrive.
But, summer’s riding season passes by so quickly! Winter will be here only in a matter of months, filling trails with snow, bringing the wicked wind, and making bike rides way more challenging than heat and humidity ever could. So, ride while you can. With a bit of planning you can stay comfortable on a hot day and not have to miss out on summertime bike riding.
Here are a few strategies I use to ensure a pleasant ride despite Iowa’s heat and humidity:
- Pack an extra water bottle or make sure you know where to stop along the trail for refills.
- Freeze your water bottle, or add lots of ice to your insulated bottle.
- Don’t have an insulated water bottle? A thermos works great too!
- Switch out shoes for sandals. Pick a sturdy pair with closed toes or some designed for clipless pedals.
- Wear a headband underneath your helmet to keep the sweat out of your eyes and off your sunglasses.
- Soak a bandana in cold water and loosely tie it around your neck.
- Plan the right ride. Head to the shade of a greenbelt and keep your distance within your fitness level.
- Chop up a long ride into chunks and allocate time for getting off the bike for breaks in the shade.
- Have a cooler waiting for you back at the trailhead. Cold beverages and cool moist towels are a great for wrapping up a sweaty ride.
- My personal favorite: End the ride within close distance to an ice cream shop.