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As the drab, icy winter months move on and we blossom into balmy spring, it’s time you re-thought your bike etiquette. From your skin to tyres, this quick-fix guide intends to get you up to scratch on three of the most important things you need to know to make cycling during the summer months as comfortable as possible.
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First things first guys, let’s start with your skin. If you’re riding two or three times a week in sunny climes, then you need to protect your skin. Now, that’s not to say you need to invest in some overly feminine, scented moisturiser and start fretting about crow’s feet (beg your pardon?!), but you do need to take precaution to keep your skin safe. It’s important to use a high factor cream especially on vulnerable areas like the backs of your ears and your nose, and make sure you reapply a couple of times during your ride, especially if you’re cycling during the heat of the day.
Taking vitamin e as a supplement could potentially protect your skin against free radicals in the air. These include smoke from cigarettes, pollution and sunlight as well, so no matter if you’re cycling to work or through a remote countryside valley, taking vitamin e is a wise choice, especially as it can’t be stored in the body for a long period of time.
There’s a common misconception that warmer weather and lighter evenings mean that cycling automatically becomes easier than during the winter months. It isn’t. Changing your tyres can make a huge difference to comfort, speed and agility so it’s worth changing depending on the season. If you’ve got a cross country ride, opt for lighter weight inner tubes and tyres. Narrow semi-slick tyres with treaded patterns are optimum for a good ride. Don’t forget to check your rims and tweak them with molegrips if needs be, and make sure the spokes are in check for even tension.
Speaking of tyres, if you’re packing a little winter weight or want some summer-appropriate gear then now’s the time to update your gear.
As it’s mentioned before, protecting your skin is important for summer cyclists. So don a cycling cap – not only will it shelter your head and face from the sun’s harmful rays, it’s also a great sweat barrier, keeping those beads at bay! Remember that you’ll need to make sure it fits comfortably under your helmet.
Change your socks to a pair of lightweight summer socks – your feet are really important to consider when thinking about cycling gear. It’s one of the most crucial points of contact between the bike and the rider so you need to be as comfy as possible: thin socks will help keep your feet cool by allowing as much air to get to the feet as possible. It’s the same with your hands – with all the bumps and contact, your hands need protecting but long-fingered gloves can get pretty hot. Thinner, fingerless gloves are your perfect solution here, and are well worth investing in.
Whether you’re training for a race, on a bid to get fit or just want to make the most of the great outdoors this summer, these tips are sure to help.