Cycle: Joe Berman's Tips for Beating the Heat During Summertime Rides

Last week, Joe Berman, a local bike rider and owner of Sunday Cycles in North Phoenix, took to Facebook with some advice for local gear heads: "News flash ... We live in the desert, it gets hot, summer sucks. Ride your bike and get over it."

Berman says he could deal with casual complaints he's been overhearing, but when his cycling friends started bitching, he knew it was time to take some action. 

This week, he sat down with Cycle to share his seven tips on how to "deal with it" during a bike ride in the summer. 

1. Wake Up Early
Without question, early morning riding is the most ideal in terms of temperature. The streets have cooled off and the sun hasn't started cooking everything yet, but rolling out of bed can be a challenge when the heat keeps zapping the energy.

"You just have to get out of the Door," says Berman. "Don't just hit the snooze button. Set the alarm on your phone to ask questions to force you up. Or plan rides with someone. Misery loves company."

And as Berman likes to point out, "There are smells, sights and sounds in the desert that only exist in the early morning hours."

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2. Hydrate
Obviously, dealing with the hotness is all about taking in a steady stream of fluids, but Berman stresses consuming electrolyte-rich drinks to keep salt and sugar levels in check.

"I just keep drinking water and electrolytes, and eat a banana or two to keep from cramping. Gels and chews are always good for electrolytes as well."

3. Reward the Effort
Just because it's miserable out does not mean it has to be a miserable experience.

"You just busted your butt in 100 degree heat. Go treat yourself to a frozen yogurt or something."

4. Ease Off
The heat places added physical stresses on the body, so there's no need to go all out in terms of an effort. The heart rate and calorie burn will get there all the same.

"You don't have anything to prove in the heat. And you can really hurt yourself if you push too hard."

Tailor back the distance or the power output to maximize the workout and avoid dehydration or sun stroke.

5. Stop
There's no rule that says you can't take some mid-ride breaks. Berman recommends finding some cool, shady spots to let the body cool off and refresh the water supply.

"Whenever I'm out, I will find a good local business and just let me cool down. Breaking the ride up keeps things a little more interesting."

6. Enjoy a Mid-ride Shower
If you ride with a Camelback, Berman suggests a handy trick to cool off. "Blow into the bladder to create some back pressure and then just spray yourself down for a quick shower."

If you're riding with bottles, just pour water on your head, back of your neck and lap, but make sure it's water and not sports drink. Wet is cool, sticky sucks.

7. Embrace the Heat
"Don't be surprised about how it gets hot. We expect the summer for months in all other ways. We just need to embrace this time and not let it control us."

Anything else?

"Shut up and ride your bike!"

Berman and his Sunday Cycles shop minion threaten with physical harm if you don't get out and "embrace the heat."
Berman and his Sunday Cycles shop minion threaten with physical harm if you don't get out and "embrace the heat."
photo by Jason Franz

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