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Speaking of Safety

Sun safety and the cyclist. Revisited.
By Louis Bruno
Posted: 2024-05-29T13:26:49Z

Sun safety is crucial for cyclists who spend extended periods outdoors, exposed to the elements. Here are some key tips for maintaining sun safety while cycling:


1.Wear Sunscreen

Broad-spectrum Protection:

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.


SPF 30 or Higher. Ensure the sunscreen has an SPF of at least 30.

Water-resistant Choose water-resistant formulas to withstand sweat.

Reapply Regularly. 

* Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you sweat a lot.


2. Clothing and Gear

Long Sleeves and Pants. Wear long-sleeved jerseys and cycling pants made from lightweight, breathable materials. I personally use what appears to be an arm warmer in the summer but it is actually lightweight and rated specifically for warm weather sun exposure. There are also lightweight summer protection clothing for legs as well.


UV-protective Clothing. Look for clothing with built-in UV protection.


Gloves and Socks. Protect your hands and feet with gloves and socks.


Helmet with Visor. A helmet with a built-in visor can help shield your face from the sun. My helmets are of the visor type though large cycling sunglasses will also offer protection.


3.Accessories.

Sunglasses. Use UV-blocking sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays and reduce glare.


Cycling Cap. A cap under your helmet can provide additional protection for your scalp and forehead. 


4. Timing Your Ride.

Avoid Peak Hours. Try to ride early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is less intense.


*IMPORTANT.   Monitor UV Index. Check the UV index forecast and plan your rides when levels are lower.


5.Hydration

Stay Hydrated.  Drink plenty of water BEFORE ,during, and after your ride to stay hydrated and help your body cope with heat.


6. Skin Checks.

Regular Skin Exams. Regularly check your skin for any new or changing moles or spots and consult a dermatologist if needed.


7. Shade and Breaks.

Seek Shade. Take breaks in shaded areas to give your skin a rest from direct sun exposure. 


Rest Periods such as hydrating .  Use rest periods to reapply sunscreen and hydrate. Ride leaders should regroup on hot days and request the group to rehydrate. 


By following these sun safety tips, cyclists can enjoy their rides while minimizing the risk of sunburn, heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and long-term skin damage.


From a personal perspective, last year suffered heat exhaustion on a short bicycle ride and it literally was a terrible experience as the temperature reached 99 degrees later in the afternoon….“My bad”…this year I will be following the above advice never again riding above 90 degrees.