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I am from India and this is beginning of summer. I rented an electric bicycle for daily commute during winter but now it is difficult to do during summer screeching heat. What should I do to continue my cycling activity in summer while being eco friendly?

Updated: My office is 12km in one direction and it is not having much traffic. I generally leave to office at noon and it takes me 30-35 minutes to reach.

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You mentioned that you rented an electric bicycle, I am assuming you still need to put in efforts and the motor just provides pedal assist. Most pedelecs are limited to providing assist only up to 25 km/h. Beyond this speed, the motor is cutoff and the rider has to put full effort to maintain the speed. If this is true for your case, you will get the best outcome by maintaing speed just below 25 km/h.

Also watch your cadence, choose a gear that is not too hard or too easy so your body uses cardiovascular and leg muscles optimally.

You also mentioned you leave office at noon, so it looks like you are only concerned with the ride back home. If sweating is your only concern, keep your self hydrated and go on anyway. I would still advise you to follow your instincts and slow down or stop if you are feel exhausted. Take a shower once you reach home and cool down for a few minutes. Ensure you do not shock your body with too much of a temperature difference though.

The following are generic points which can help further. Midday temperatures can reach 40°C in summer, where I live. I plan my rides to avoid the hotter parts of the day. My work hours are mostly fixed so commute to office is easy. See if you can adjust your timings for this season if you are working in shifts.

I switched to riding in cycling shorts/jersey and change of clothes at office instead of riding in work dress. Along with a good pair of sunglasses, a wet handkerchief under my helmet and another around the neck are useful accessories. For longer rides, I found that squirting small amounts of water on my face from time to time feels good.

Another advice i started following is to ride slow for the last 5 mins etc. to allow my body to cool down.

When I have to go out in the afternoon or if there is any uncertainty in the duration i might have to spend outside, i take the public transport. Car/bike pooling is another option that is still quite eco-friendly.

I keep myself hydrated with plain water, and with sugarcane juice or tender coconut water for longer rides.

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    I’m reading the question as leaving the house to go to work at noon – Swifty Mar 28 at 6:57
  • My personal rule is that I do not ride if the temperature is 35 or above. But I live in a much colder climate; there is still some snow on the ground here. You might choose a point which makes sense for you, above which you will not ride. – Michael Hampton Mar 29 at 13:38
  • +1 I've also found a wet buff under the helmet to be amazing on hot days. Keeps the sun off the head, and helps keep you cool too. – Andy P Apr 1 at 9:12
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Put a rack on your bicycle, and buy a good quality pannier so you don't have a backpack on. When cycling use light clothes, when at work go to the first toilet and dress whatever dress you need to have during work time.

If it does not work, just go slower, if going uphill take it super easy.

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Keeping cool on an ebike is the same as keeping cool on a regular bike. Lightweight moisture-wicking clothing and a ventilated helmet make a big difference. Road cycling shoes are designed with parts made of a mesh material to allow air to flow through, keeping your feet cooler. These shoes may not suit your ride, but the same principles apply. Get some light, airy running shoes and some lightweight sport socks too.

Hydration is essential. Drink very cold water before starting to bring your core temperature down and bring a cold bottle of water to drink while riding too. Freeze a half filled bottle the night beforehand, then top it up with cold water in the morning. Using an insulated bottle like the Camelbak Podium Chill will also keep your water colder for longer. Take small sips often.

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    "Drink very cold water before starting..." I am probably an outlier but i don't like very cold water, especially when it is hot outside. Very cold water does not help quench my thirst and probably increases the risk of temperature shock while out in the hot sun. A quick google search shows lot of results with from sources with varying levels of reputation. Here is one such site [link]food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/…. Freezing half a bottle and adding plain water seems to be a good suggestion for long rides though – Kiran Kulkarni Mar 28 at 5:09
  • @KiranKulkarni Freezing half a bottle and topping up with water is a great way to have a supply of cold water to sip outdoors, yes. – David Richerby Mar 29 at 10:31
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While may not fit for every situation, simply pouring a bottle of water over head have solved for me the problem previous summer when I have unexpectedly ran into severe heat wave. It can buy 10 - 20 minutes of time that may be enough for the 35 min ride. Make sure water has good conditions to evaporate (my helmet has really many holes). I assume, the water will be warm, as everything around.

I have tried on myself and worked for me well. I am however not a specialist; try on your own risk and be careful.

  • Depending on hair and clothing, pouring water over your head can result in it running down your body into your shorts, which is no fun. A better variation is to wet the sleeves of your jersey - that can actually make a long sleeve one cooler, and you also get some sun protection (though likely less from wet fabric). Or you can use sun sleeves, which are even easier to wet down. – Chris Stratton Mar 31 at 22:42

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