What NOT to do Cycling in the Heat

Hello Southern Californian. It’s that time a year when things start to cook and we are given our annual lists reminding us of what to do in the heat.

I know you’ve been around the block a few times, so I’ll spare you the usual pointers.

Hydrate. Sunblock. Clothing. Rest. You know this. Hopefully you’ve already caught on to the basics and you’re not eating paste.

Today is about addressing the details about what people get so wrong out there.

Even as this heat hits biblical proportions, there are still social norms that have to be addressed.

I’m here for you. Look like you know what you’re doing. Here’s what not to do:

    • Laugh at the guy wearing arm warmers. Odds are the additional coverage is being used to protect against UV rays. Skin cancer isn’t cool, so don’t look like a jerk calling someone out for wearing extra clothing.
    • Spend $1.99 on your water bottle holder. Cycling accessories can get expensive and it may seem hard to justify spending even a little cash on something that isn’t even mechanical. When you buy those cheaper plastic models, your bottle tends to fly off and half the time you don’t even notice it. Hold onto your water bottle. Spend the money.
    • Ride out and back roads. Santa Anita Canyon and Mt. Baldy are a couple of roads that come to mind as places you could get trapped if there’s a fire below. Besides checking the heat, look at wind conditions as well because once things light up, fire can travel fast. Heck, even Mandeville Canyon hasn’t had a big fire in ages.

      What good does this do?
    • Post to social media how hot it is. Yes, we get it. Everyone knows how hot it is out here. If you’re trying to show it’s one degree hotter where you are in Arleta, big deal. And if you think doing it for your friends out of town is a good reason, then heads up: they’re probably glad you’re melting. There’s so much to envy about California that the extraordinary heat is seen as payback.
    • Bogart your water. The rider next to you might be really struggling and may not have the wherewithal to ask for help. I always try to be pre-emptive with my offer just so the person knows its there. You never want to come off like Dusty Bottoms.


  • Forget to put sunblock underneath your jersey. Odds are you will be wearing a lightweight jersey up top, so the sun will be looking to pierce through unzipped or not. A farmer’s tan looks silly enough, but try explaining the unusual lines created by your cycling bib. SPF 50 please.
  • Heat denial. Some people think they can ride in any temperature, but really underestimate how conditions can get exponentially worse with each rising degree. A fitness instructor from Phoenix lost her life succumbing to all the insatiable conditions. No ride is ever worth this.

You could say beating the heat takes common sense, but I’d say take a heightened level of it. Things can always go bad cycling and these temperatures can make your problems arise exponentially.