Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Ride the heat wave with these 10 proven tricks

Posted by on July 31st, 2017 at 12:18 pm

Splash Dance Ride-15-14

This guy has the right idea.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s coming. A collective flip-out has begun because several days of triple-digit temperatures are about to hit Portland.

That means unless you love being hot, biking during the day will be nasty. But there are ways to beat the heat while you bike.

The List

😎🚲☀️

  • Ride slowly
  • If you see water, ride through it
  • Get bags off your back
  • Helmets can help
  • Shade matters
  • Timing is everything
  • Freeze your drinks
  • Soak your shirt or a bandanna
  • Mind over matter
  • Carry cash

We recommend riding through the heat if you can. Here’s why: TriMet’s transit system will likely be delayed because it doesn’t do well in extreme heat or cold. And because people will opt for the most comfortable option it’s also likely we’ll see more single-occupancy motor vehicle trips than usual (which also leads to transit delays). So, like always, riding a bike will still be the most efficient way to travel for shorter trips.

But if you bike, please heed some warnings and tips. We don’t want anyone getting woozy out there and we always want you to have the most enjoyable ride possible. On that note, we’ve collected our best hot riding tips. The list below was gleaned from post posts on the topic and from the collective wisdom of our community. Please add your secrets so we can refine the list and make it even better next time. (And you know there will be a next time, because of the warming climate caused in large part from all those single-occupancy motor vehicle trips I mentioned above, but I digress.)

Here’s how to ride — and survive — the heat wave:

Ride slowly: I’m a huge advocate of riding slow regardless of the weather; but when it’s hot there’s even more reason to not race through the bike lanes. I like to think of it as the “no sweat challenge”: Shift into just the right gear that allows you to keep an efficient pace without working up a sweat.

If you see water, ride through it: This is fun and smart. From rivers to creeks, fountains and front yards — embrace every opportunity to ride through water. Being wet = being cool (and it’ll dry quick, so you don’t have to worry about showing up at your destination looking like a wet dog).

Advertise with BikePortland.

Shade is your friend.

Get bags off your back: You’ll be less sweaty and much more comfortable if your bags are on your bike.

Helmets can help: Soak the pads in water and if you’re thinking of ditching it to stay cool, remember that the foam not only protects your head it also keeps the sun off.

Shade matters: Seek routes with big trees and abundant shade. About one-third of Portland’s streets have a complete tree canopy, many of them on neighborhood greenway routes.

Timing is everything: If possible, ride early or late to avoid peak sun exposure.

Freeze your water bottles: It’s always a bummer to suck down warm liquids. And it should be obvious to hydrate more than usual.

Soak your shirt or a bandanna: Like I said above, having something wet around your neck or your head significantly lowers your core body temperature. Some readers swear by these JellyBeadz cooling scarves available for about $7 on Amazon. One BP reader swears by the wet shirt trick and finds that properly soaked it will last for a trip of two miles before drying out.

Mind over matter: Chances are you won’t experience any ill effects, so why not embrace it? Tell yourself it’s an enthralling sensation, not a dreadful sacrifice.

Carry a few bucks in cash: If you ride through a lot of residential areas, kids with lemonade stands might be your best last resort for an emergency refresher.

And finally, if money is no object, buy a Veskimo: For just $1,116 you can get a “complete personal cooling system.”

Hopefully these tips help you get through the week.

Do you plan on riding any less because of the heat?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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81 Comments
  • Eric Leifsdad July 31, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Many of the oldest routes through were along creeks but then we covered them with concrete to build parking lots and stores like Fanno Creek on BH-Hwy. Riding south on Bertha where it goes nearest the creek at Chestnut is about 10 degrees cooler. Sadly, these oldest wagon routes have become car sewers, many with high speeds and little-to-no bike space. Imagine how pleasant they would be to ride without the cars on the easiest paths around the hills.

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  • Adam
    Adam July 31, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    And finally, if money is no object, buy a Veskimo: For just $1,116 you can get a “complete personal cooling system.”

    Duct tape and water ballons are cheaper. 😉

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    • Paul Atkinson July 31, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Pics or it didn’t happen.

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    • El Biciclero July 31, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      I can see it: a vest, or even just a necklace/collar made of water balloons strung or taped together. If the water starts to warm up, just carry a pin and pop one every so often, timing carefully to pop the last one within a mile of your destination.

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  • Phil Richman July 31, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Looking forward leading rides out to Pickathon on Thursday & Friday! Hope to see other readers there! https://pickathon.com/2017/07/bike-to-pickathon-3/

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    • Esther July 31, 2017 at 1:30 pm

      Be careful! A friend of mine almost got heat exhaustion when we were riding out there in 90+ degree weather. The hill up 162nd is kinda brutal and fairly exposed.

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  • Ted Buehler July 31, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Jonathan wrote
    “One BP reader swears by the wet shirt trick and finds that properly soaked it will last for a trip of two miles before drying out.”
    https://bikeportland.org/2009/07/27/sweat-and-sprinkers-thoughts-on-sultry-cycling-survival-21493#comment-1368739

    Jonathan — thanks for reposting — I was thinking about trying to dig up my 2009 heat wave post for this week’s weather.

    I still *highly* recommend the wet cotton or linen shirt trick.

    I do it all the time, 8 years later.

    Here’s how it works:
    Before leaving the house:
    * take off shirt inside
    * soak cotton shirt in the sink
    * step outside, put it on
    * ride away.

    Evaporative cooling in Portland’s super-dry heat will keep your skin chilly for a couple miles. This saves your body from having to sweat. Keeps you comfortable, keeps you smelling fresh, doesn’t drain your body of electrolytes.

    You can do variations, too. For a short ride, only soak the top half of your shirt. If it’s only 90, not 95 or 105, you can soak the whole shirt, and only pull it down to your chest for the first half of the ride, then pull it down to your waist after the top half dries out.

    (And, I did a 4 day bike tour in the Bitterroots in N Idaho last week, soaked my shirt in many rivers, and was pretty comfortable most of the time, putting in 50 miles a day on a loaded touring bike through the mountains in 90+ temps.)

    Embrace the dry heat, folks!

    Ted Buehler

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  • rick July 31, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Summer heat is why I’ve politely asked ODOT’s Jacob Peters and Stephen Hay to plant more Incense Cedar trees and other shrubs in West Slope on the Highway 26 multi-use path. The path on the north side of the freeway has many trees providing shade or at least blocking fumes.

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  • rick July 31, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I plan to document the need for more suburban swales to handle flooding and stormwater through the record heat. I know of many streets with underground springs with pumps putting the water into the street.

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  • Lester Burnham July 31, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Oh good. I just got the A/C recharged in my ’74 Eldorado!

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  • Adam
    Adam July 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Here’s my list of tips for riding a bike though the upcoming heat:

    1. Ride your bike.

    That’s it!

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    • Mike Quigley July 31, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Ahhh… A true sage. Exactly what a bodhisattva would say. To achieve enlightenment, ride your bike. And once you achieve enlightenment, continue to ride your bike.

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  • Roger July 31, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    One trick I’ve used over the years in high heat situations during my daily commute was to use try and anticipate the timing of lights. It is much cooler to go slow and keep moving versus getting to a stop light and then have to wait.

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  • Esther July 31, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I like carrying a garden mister for days like those: https://www.amazon.com/Pressure-Herbicides-Pesticides-Fertilizers-Solutions/dp/B01GMMBUGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501533035&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=garden+mister&psc=1 You pump it to pressurize then pressing the button releases a fine long spray of mist. Other people REALLY appreciate being misted. Mist other bikers!

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    • branble July 31, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      I love those thing!!

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  • Robert Ping July 31, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    There are also water bottles that fit into your cage that have a nozzle for drinking plus a spray mister! Less than $15 on Amazon. Bring two bottles on your ride, one standard one for drinking ice water, or splashing down the back of your neck every couple of blocks, and one for misting your face. And wear loose, white, wet clothes. A light, wet long sleeve is better than bare arms.

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  • Kate July 31, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I’ll be bike commuting all week including riding up Thurman for a trail race on Wednesday night (the worst day, it appears) in Forest Park. That wet tshit/scarf idea is a pretty good one, now I just need to remember to bring a bandana to work on wednesday so i don’t overheat on the way up to the race start!

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    • Steve July 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Please tell me that trail race is for runners, that’s my way home (Leif Erickson)!

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      • I wear many hats July 31, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        Somehow the anti bike zealots are perfectly fine with organized foot races on the trails in Forest Park Where is the wilderness talk when it comes to trail running in huge groups?

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      • Kate August 1, 2017 at 9:09 am

        It is indeed for runners, you’ve probably noticed the crowd of them starting/ending on Leif on Wednesday nights. They announced a postponement last night so thankfully you won’t be dodging victims of heatstroke on your way home.

        ps- that’s a sweet commute!

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  • Kyle Banerjee July 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Be aware that dumping water on yourself does not necessarily make you cooler unless the water is cooler than your body.

    Evaporative cooling makes a huge difference in body temperature. However, if you sweat enough to soak your clothes, you are already enjoying the evaporative cooling effect (and adding water faster than it can evaporate) so pouring additional water on yourself makes you cooler via conductive transfer — the cool water washes warmer water off you carrying away heat and providing a new heat sink — this benefit doesn’t happen if the water is hot.

    Effect of heat will depend on the individual. But a normal commute in triple digit temps shouldn’t be much of a strain for a healthy individual for the simple reason few people ride long enough to lose that much water, though it’s certainly enough to be drenched with sweat and stink to high heaven. It’s still a good idea to drink plenty of water.

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    • Kyle Banerjee July 31, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      This in no way contradicts Ted’s advice. If you put cold water on your body as he recommends, that cools you outright, with further cooling resulting from evaporation which delays you from even starting to heat up.

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      • Paul July 31, 2017 at 3:46 pm

        And if you use water, you don’t have to use sweat. That has some advantages.

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        • Kyle Banerjee July 31, 2017 at 4:09 pm

          Using water prophylactically or to conduct away heat will delay sweating. But once your body is hot, you’ll sweat no matter how much water you have on you or what the outside temp is.

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          • John Lascurettes July 31, 2017 at 5:20 pm

            Indeed. And my outside can be cooled while my body is still trying to get rid of internal heat (see riding in the winter but still sweating). That’s where slowing down helps on hot days.

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          • Paul July 31, 2017 at 10:47 pm

            Yeah I try to avoid ever getting my body hot in the first place.

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    • Ted Buehler July 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

      Kyle wrote
      “Be aware that dumping water on yourself does not necessarily make you cooler unless the water is cooler than your body.”

      Not true.

      Don’t believe it? Soak your shirt in hot water on Wednesday, and go for a ride. The shirt will get chilly in a minute or two.

      Part of the magic is that when Portland has very high temperatures, it also has very low humidity, and when water evaporates, it cools. The faster the water evaporates, the faster it cools. And in very hot, very dry conditions, it evaporates very quickly.

      Compare:
      https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/portland-or/ext

      Today: high 89, humidity 32%
      Wednesday, high 104, humidity 18%
      Thursday, high 101, humidity 19%
      (Need to “mouse over” the days on the calendar to get humidity in this particular user interface)
      And, Wednesday Aug 9, high 80, humidity 34%

      Fact of the matter, if you soak or spritz yourself, and have a had with a broad brim and a wet long sleeve shirt, if you’re moving around outside in Portland over the next few weeks it won’t make much difference if you’re riding this Wednesday with 101 temps and 19% humidity, or the following Wednesday, high of 80, 34% humidity. You’ll be fine and comfy either way.

      Compare with my hometown of Minneapolis, MN. Today’s forecast is 83 with 49% humidity. That’s muggy, sticky, and there’s no getting away from it.

      Heat in Portland is really a non-event. As long as you keep yourself in the breeze, in the shade, and keep your clothes a bit wet.

      (Bonus tip — if your house has window screens, take them off and open the windows. Let the wind flush through through. That 10 mph north wind on Wednesday will keep you reasonably comfy all day.)

      Ted Buehler

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      • Kyle Banerjee July 31, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        Ted Buehler
        Kyle wrote
        “Be aware that dumping water on yourself does not necessarily make you cooler unless the water is cooler than your body.”
        Not true.
        Don’t believe it? Soak your shirt in hot water on Wednesday, and go for a ride. The shirt will get chilly in a minute or two.

        This is because both your body is cool and massive. The shirt is thin and not massive so it takes very little time for the relatively small amount of heat in it to transfer to your body and be lost to evaporation. The net effect is you feel cool or even cold.

        Once you’ve warmed your body up, that water gets you nothing. Given the same body temperature, a shirt soaked in 100 degree water from the sink is not going to cool you off more than one soaked 100 degree sweat.

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        • Ted Buehler July 31, 2017 at 9:36 pm

          Kyle — have you tried it? I’d suggest trying it in real life before getting all worked up online about my technique not working.

          Last week I met friends for dinner 4 miles away. 6:30 pm, temp about 85. I soaked my shirt before I left. It was 80% dry when I got there. I was cool, refreshed. I hadn’t sweat. My skin was cool to the touch.

          Had I not wet my shirt, I’d be warm and sweaty, and it would have taken a few minutes to “cool down” before my body would have stopped pumping sweat and I’d be comfortable sitting down inside.

          Also, sweat is salty, salt water doesn’t evaporate as readily as fresh water, and it doesn’t cool as much as fresh water when it does evaporate. So a shirt soaked in fresh tap water will certainly provide better evaporative cooling than a shirt soaked in sweat. It will smell better, too.

          I demonstrated this plenty of times on my bike tour last week, too. Dip my shirt, and usually my whole self, in a river, and I’ll be cool for a good half hour of riding. After the shirt dried, the evaporative effect of the water on my shirt stops cooling me, my body heats up, I get sweaty. Sure, the shirt is wet with sweat, but it isn’t as cooling as the river water. And sometimes it was an hour or two between river stops and I’d be trying it your way — cool with sweat, and, no thanks… Instead, I’d rinse shirt, rinse self, and ride away cool for another half hour. I tried it both ways, and I assure you that a cotton shirt + fresh water, warm lake water or cool river water (or tapwater), is really the bomb when you’re riding a bike in hot, dry weather.

          Ted Buehler

          p.s.
          Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes + Northern Pacific Rail Trail + Route of the Hiawatha is a nearly continuous loop of rail trails. Start and end in Plummer Idaho. 200 miles, only 40 miles on highways. Have 4 days this summer and want to experience beautiful mountains, lakes, and rivers on rails-to-trails routes? Do it!
          https://goo.gl/maps/HzMvxbcVDDo
          +
          https://goo.gl/maps/6XrgrNtV7T22
          Hat tip Carye and Jason Bye.

          Ted Buehler

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          • Kyle Banerjee July 31, 2017 at 11:20 pm

            Sure I’ve used water to cool off. I’ve jumped in streams, lakes, etc fed by snow melt that’s way colder than anything coming out of any tap. The technique you describe only works at low exertion levels and/or for short distances. I don’t doubt it works fine for 4 miles — that’s not nearly enough to get warmed up.

            Even at low humidity, evaporation simply cannot keep up with what a body produces if you’re moving. If you’re working hard enough, producing more sweat than can be evaporated when wearing only a single light layer at temps below freezing is very doable.

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            • Ted Buehler August 1, 2017 at 11:01 am

              Kyle — I’ll try the wet shirt trick with hot water today, just to test my theory. My guess is it will be a bit comfier to put on, and will chill down to a comfy chilly riding temp in a couple minutes. Will return and report…

              & glad you liked the trail tip.

              Ted

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 12:06 pm

                I expect the same result that you do. I am debating doing the same test myself today and/or tomorrow. I predict I would start sweating a couple miles later than normal but I’ll be drenched with sweat anyway by the time I finish and my body will wind up the same temperature as it would have otherwise.

                One thing that might keep me from doing it is that I enjoy riding in heat — the muscles seem to really like it.

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              • Ted Buehler August 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

                I tried a warm water shirt.

                Okay, but not as functional as a cold water shirt.

                It got plenty chilly in just a minute or two, as I thought it would. But that represented a lot of the water evaporating off, and the shirt was pretty dry by mile 3. I thought I’d get 4 miles out of it.

                Summary —
                * hot water shirts will cool you just as well as cold water shirts after a minute or two.
                * but the single-soak will dry out sooner as a result of evaporating a lot of water in that first minute or two.
                * I like cold water shirts better.

                Lovely day today, eh? Super hot, super dry, breezy. Pleasant overall, IMO.

                Could be worse — weather in Hong Kong today is 90 degrees with 66% humidity and a 10 mph S wind (which you can’t feel at ground level anyway)
                — “feels like 104”
                https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/hong-kong/hong-kong

                Ted Buehler

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 10:15 pm

                I also gave it a shot, though with a cold water shirt.

                It was 95 when I started back, but it practically felt chilly at first. However, between evaporation and my body cooking off the water as it got up to temperature, my shirt was dry in literally 3 minutes — I didn’t even make it 2 miles. At that point, I was cool and comfortable. I went a couple more miles cooler than I otherwise would have been as the sweat started to build up. 10-15 minutes later, I was up to full temp and soaked in sweat.

                I took the coldest shower I could when I got home to drop my temp and get cleaned off. Not a bad ride. By a strange coincidence, I have a meeting downtown at 1 after which I have to ride back up Marquam Hill. In the expected heat, I would normally get messy enough I’d need to wash my shirt in the sink and drip dry in my office. I’ll give the cold water thing a shot before I return to reduce the reekage when I get back.

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              • Ted Buehler August 2, 2017 at 12:56 am

                Kyle, glad you tried it and had a good experience.

                2 minutes is awfully fast.

                Was your shirt cotton? Needs to be 100% cotton or linen. No synthetics, no wool, as they can’t be loaded up with water.

                And did you soak it? Like, in the sink, or with a hose, no dry spots. Wring it out just enough that it doesn’t immediately soak your shorts… For maximum effectiveness it needs to be soaking wet, not just kinda wet or damp.

                And how thick was it? I was wearing a standard cotton T-shirt. For longer-lasting cooling you can go with a thicker shirt, like a sweatshirt. Or, for more intense cooling, do a long-sleeve T-shirt.

                And, for more flexibility in cooling, do a button-up shirt. Leave it open for a while, then when you start to warm up button it up so it covers your chest.

                Ted Buehler

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 2, 2017 at 6:04 am

                This is a super thin technical fabric (yes, good looking button down shirts can be had in this stuff) and it was just rinsed in the sink.

                As you point out, these fabrics and wool don’t hold water. However, my wardrobe consists almost exclusively of light technical fabrics and thin merino — partly because this stuff dries virtually instantly, but also because it performs well in an incredible variety of conditions, is super packable, and washes easily by hand.

                While being cool/wet is useful in the conditions we have now, it’s normally a liability so everything I own is pretty much designed to prevent that. But I can see how heavier cotton could yield the effect you describe for quite awhile in heat like we have today.

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              • Ted Buehler August 2, 2017 at 10:08 am

                Kyle —

                You didn’t actually “give it a shot” unless it was a cotton shirt. I’m not sure what “technical fabric” is, but you might re-read my original instructions to get it dialed in.
                https://bikeportland.org/2009/07/27/sweat-and-sprinkers-thoughts-on-sultry-cycling-survival-21493#comment-1368739

                Cotton T-shirts can be had from Goodwill, free piles, roommates’ or kids’ closets, etc.

                Its really quite comfortable. You might like it. And it will be helpful 2 or 3 months out of the year, so if you like the Goodwill version you could add a few cotton dressy shirts to your wardrobe.

                Ted Buehler

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              • Kyle Banerjee August 2, 2017 at 10:55 am

                Sea kayakers, mountaineers, and backcountry travelers have a saying — “Cotton is rotten.” The stuff is a one way ticket to hypothermia so I literally haven’t bought it for years because I spend a lot of time in environments where I can experience huge temperature differentials over the course of a few hours and need materials that work in those conditions.

                Cotton has excellent skin feel and is especially comfortable in hot weather which is why it’s popular in warmer climates. I agree it would probably work for 2 or 3 months, but I’m a minimalist when it comes to clothing and wear the same thing year round — i.e. I literally wear the same stuff when it’s 20 as when it’s 100.

                The technical fabrics I mention are specially engineered synthetics. To most peoples’ eyes, what I wear looks similar to what others have but is ridiculously overpriced so it’s hard to find. But it performs very differently. For commuting purposes, these differences aren’t important, but they are for other things I do.

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              • Eric Leifsdad August 3, 2017 at 8:33 pm

                Cotton is rotten for the cold because it has no insulation value when wet. Water evaporating from the outside of your shirt will absorb some of the energy from the air’s heat, maybe more than your heat. A thin cotton shirt would tend to be more like the water evaporating directly from your skin, taking away heat from your body.

                The difference between warm and cold water is a small amount of energy compared to the phase-change of evaporation.

                https://saxonylutheranlovechemistry.wikispaces.com/file/view/phase%20change%20energy.png/348631500/720×361/phase%20change%20energy.png

                If the water temp is above your body temp, you’ll absorb some heat but it will start cooling very soon (if you only have warm water, wave the wet shirt around and it will cool off before you put it on.) I imagine this also made it dry faster because the water on the outside would more readily evaporate.

                I have a walz wicking cap. Just soaking it and my hair kept me cool for a good hour on Tuesday evening (that, and the electric bike, which has also been very good for breathing less of this smog/smoke.)

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          • Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 10:41 am

            But thanks for the trail tip. I won’t be able to take it right away because I have other plans, but it gives me ideas.

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    • Chris I August 1, 2017 at 10:01 am

      “Don’t dump 90+ degree water on your body.”

      That’s pretty good advice.

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      • David Hampsten August 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        I’ve ridden in 90+ rain. Not pleasant, no refreshment at all.

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        • X August 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm

          The humidity was 100%.

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    • X August 2, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      This statement is somewhat alternative in nature. ( My other comment nested poorly. ) A change in state, liquid to gas, is much more significant than a change in temperature.

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  • Portlands Electric Bike Store
    Portlands Electric Bike Store July 31, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    NO CAPES!

    Seriously. if you wear a cape, be absolutely certain it has a break away mechanism in the cord that goes around the neck.

    It is very easy for something like that to get caught in the wheel and is a crappy way to die.

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  • B. Carfree July 31, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Twenty years of mostly longish commutes (50 mile RT) in the Central Valley (typical summer day is 95F, but lots of 105+ highs) taught me a thing or two about riding in heat. Mostly, I’d say that Adam is right when he says the key is to ride. It’s a lot more comfy riding through the breeze than getting into a hot oven car and it really doesn’t take long to get comfortable riding in heat.

    Also, riding in a loose cotton shirt helps, as noted by others. My favorites had buttons the full length so that I could maximize air-flow as needed.

    Perhaps most importantly, don’t live in air-conditioned buildings. You simply cannot acclimate to heat if you don’t experience any warmth during the day.

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    • BB August 1, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      “Perhaps most importantly, don’t live in air-conditioned buildings. You simply cannot acclimate to heat if you don’t experience any warmth during the day.”
      Tell that to everyone in Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix.

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      • SE Rider August 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm

        Yes, I’ll take comfort for 23 hours and a little discomfort during my one hour of bike commuting.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 2, 2017 at 12:58 pm

          It’s not even that uncomfortable if you’re used to it. Trying to avoid discomfort and inconvenience is a surefire way to maximize your exposure to those things. It’s like those people who drive forever to find a parking spot a few yards closer to their destination.

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      • Opus the Poet August 2, 2017 at 7:23 pm

        The trick is not to go too far with the AC. My office stays at 80°F all summer long. Conversely the thermostat is set at 57° in the winter.

        Now I have ridden 70 miles in 145° air temps and the key to survival in that is hydrate like there’s no tomorrow and insulate your water bottles from radiant heat off the road surface.

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        • Alan 1.0 August 3, 2017 at 11:51 am

          Given that the world record air temperature is 134°F (Guinness) or 129 °F (Wikipedia), I guess you’re talking about an in-the-sun, solar gain temp. That’s still damn hot!

          Good to see you around, again/still, Opus!

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  • q July 31, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Avoid sharp turns. They can be more than ninety degrees.

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    • resopmok July 31, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      I like the pun, but I think it’s backwards.. A wider turn is greater than 90 deg (obtuse), whereas a sharp turn would be less (acute).

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      • Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 11:27 am

        Left turns are way more than 90 degrees.

        The takeaway is to avoid right turns…

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  • Todd Boulanger July 31, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    #11: stay at home to work remotely
    #12: utilize a “guaranteed ride home”…with your supervisor’s pre approval…
    #13: Car2Go with a bike rack and a friend
    #14: reserve a Motel 6 near work (or your favourite bar) since it has AC (and 50% of NWers do not (likely higher for bike commuters
    #15: find all the large malls or office buildings (Big Pink) that you might be able to ride through on your way home…bike ninjA!
    #16: stay / sleep at work…no AM commute and its got AC, need I say any more…bring earplugs (for you) and a Bud (for the cleaning crew)…

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  • John Liu
    John Liu July 31, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I’m a) going to work early, b) working as late as I can, c) drinking lots of water, d) soaking my cycling cap and helmet.

    You know that stylish urban hipster helmet that people buy because it isn’t a geeky bike helmet full of vents? This week will suggest why some people wear the latter.

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    • SE Rider August 1, 2017 at 11:13 am

      You’re still going to wear a cycling cap when it’s over 90 degrees?

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      • Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 11:30 am

        Depending on the helmet and cap, that can be cooler than a helmet alone. Plus it can keep sweat out of your eyes. I prefer to use a Halo band for this purpose. However, all this heat mitigation is like using a chain saw to cut butter if you’re only going a few miles in town.

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        • El Biciclero August 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm

          Halo “do-rag” style (tied to fit in back) head cover is one of the best inventions ever for the hair-challenged cyclist. I wear a white one under my helmet. Not only does it prevent most of the sweat from running into my eyes (not all, but I used to get a steady stream of sweat directly into my eyes [and onto my glasses] after more than about 20 minutes of riding, which I no longer have to deal with), it keeps sun off and provides better evap cooling than hair (if I can recall correctly from when I used to have some).

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      • John Liu
        John Liu August 1, 2017 at 11:33 am

        Always do. When you squirt water from the bidon into the helmet vents, it is better if the water soaks into the cycling cap, rather than immediately running down into your face . . .

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      • Dan A August 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

        I bring multiple and swap them out when they become saturated.

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  • mran1984 August 1, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Yeah, you all make sure and wear those black, ugly, but apparently “hip” helmets. I do not miss talking people out of buying those awful Bern lids at all…so hip.

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    • Justin M August 1, 2017 at 3:33 pm

      I can’t even wear a helmet when it’s hot. I’m more likely to get heat exhaustion on my commute than hit by a car or random passing rock.

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      • q August 1, 2017 at 3:57 pm

        That’s a good point. It would be ironic if the safety equipment (helmet) that so many people focus on (especially non-cyclists) was what led you to get injured by way of heat exhaustion, or wooziness that led you to fall or stray into a car’s path.

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 1, 2017 at 4:22 pm

          I sometimes think about that when I’m grinding up a steep extended climb — I once collapsed from heat exhaustion at the end of a long hard day on a climb when I failed to recognize the symptoms. If you’re barely going 6mph, you’re not going to hurt your head if you fall and cars just don’t go fast on those types of roads.

          While a good helmet can keep your head cooler than a bare head (keeping in mind that most people wear helmets with terrible ventilation), you need to be moving to get that benefit.

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  • GlowBoy August 1, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Jonathan’s #1 tip is really important: just take it easy. I think most of us tend to ride hard enough most of the time to break a bit of a sweat even when it isn’t hot. Backing off a couple mph can make all the difference. Even when it topped 100, I never let that stop me from biking home over the West Hills from Beaverton to SE Portland. 4-5 years ago I did it on a day when it was 106 on the westside. The only things I did differently:
    1. Slow down and take it easy on the uphills.
    2. An insulated water bottle is a really good investment for the occasional hot day. Personally, I love Hydro Flask’s products. Fill an insulated bottle with ice, top it off with cold water, and time your consumption so you’re finishing it as you approach the end of your ride.
    3. Choose the lowest-conflict route possible. People get testy in the heat, drivers included. Over the West Hills that also means a route with more climbing, but on super-hot days I decide the more expedient routes (Beaverton-Hillsdale, or bombing down the shoulder of US 26) are not worth the risk.

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    • GlowBoy August 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Oh, but I would add, contrary to Jonathan’s advice to ride slowly enough that you don’t sweat: of course you ARE going to sweat. You will sweat just standing still in the sun, especially if you’re out on a slab of pavement. The way to think of it is to ride at a pace that wouldn’t make you sweat if it were 65 out.

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  • Justin M August 1, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Apologies to all the purists, but I’m going to plug in an e-assist right now. For better or worse, driving a car isn’t an option for me while I’m in school, but neither is avoiding River View or LaView Dr or Corbett. Neither is showing up at home too exhausted to do three hours of homework, so if you see a Faraday bike going up River View today or tomorrow, be sure to wave hello!

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  • jessie August 1, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    Remember, pedestrians (and their doggies) are a bit punchy with the heat and are even MORE likely to step directly in front of you than they usually do, so be careful. I love the idea of the wet cotton shirt – I will put mine in the freezer a few minutes before the ride! And drink ice water before I start the ride – cool the body from the inside. And. . . . with all that water drinking we are all doing, remember to add a little salt & honey (or drink a sports drink) to avoid diluting electrolytes. I go slow and feel sorry for all the people standing (and standing, and standing, and standing) as they wait for a bus/MAX. And I look at the people in their cars as they frown at the traffic jam. I LOVE MY BIKE!!!!!

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  • Ted Buehler August 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    “Cotton is rotten.” The stuff is a one way ticket to hypothermia”

    That could be a clue, right there.

    I’m gonna say “Technical fabric is a one-way ticket to heat exhaustion”.

    Ted Buehler

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    • David Hampsten August 2, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Ah, yes, nice hot dry Portland humor. Just sweating here in NC thinking about it…

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      • Kyle Banerjee August 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm

        Yah, but we already did snow humor. There’s a reason why everyone makes jokes about us…

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 2, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Good tech fabric keeps you cool as well as warm — they are not at all created equal. Even expensive bike jerseys often are made of fabric with poor thermal and moisture management properties.

      Nonintuitively, it’s easier to stay warm with very thin layers and keep cool by covering up if you have the right stuff. Ironically the people who dress heavy in the cold and wear practically nothing in the heat are more vulnerable to freezing and burning up.

      BTW, I just returned from 2nd and Taylor to OHSU on my recumbent trike equipped with panniers and Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (i.e. heavy rig). I did not wind up soaking my shirt with water as planned before leaving but it proved unnecessary. I was sweating a little upon arrival, but not enough to require any cleanup. Colleagues who drove from the same location were surprised I arrived at the same time they did and was not messy.

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      • X August 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm

        I’ve been pouring water on my head since 11 am and most of it was warm. Within seconds it gave a cool sensation. Wikipedia–enthalpy of vaporization: When water changes from liquid to gas it absorbs over 5 times the energy it takes to raise it from 0 C to 100 C.

        Thoroughly rinse your hat or your helmet pads first, otherwise the salt from the perspiration you haven’t noticed (yes, low humidity) will run down in your eyes.

        Everyone must have prizes.

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  • Ted Buehler August 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Kyle — have you bought a $4 cotton “hypothemia inducing” shirt yet? Like I implied in my post above, the best, most comfortable clothing to wear when you want to keep cool is something that is “hypothermia inducing”.

    Just curious.

    Ted Buehler
    Cotton-wearer

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    • Kyle Banerjee August 3, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      I have and used to swear by the stuff. I agree that for purposes of tooling around Portland on a bike, it’s hard to beat in terms of comfort, functionality, or value. If I’m working outside all day in hot sun, my first choice for comfort and protection would be a long sleeve 100% cotton dress shirt.

      The reason I don’t buy cotton now is that we don’t have that much hot weather and to be honest, what we’re experiencing right now isn’t that bad which is why DH is having fun with this thread. The other reason is that I deal with considerably greater temperature differentials than most people because of the activities I pursue so I look for more versatile clothing which I use for regular life as well.

      Cotton is great for heat and mildly cool weather but it’s not great for cold, particularly when it’s wet — which is what we get a lot of in the PNW.

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      • Big Knobbies August 3, 2017 at 10:48 pm

        Winter in PDX is the banana belt compared to most of the US. 😉
        8/3 @ 10:48 pm pacific

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        • Kyle Banerjee August 4, 2017 at 9:39 am

          PDX doesn’t even have winter. But the mountains do — even during this heat wave, temps in the low 30’s can be found if you climb high enough. In the winter, I’ve slept outside when it’s below zero.

          Tomorrow, I plan to be on a glacier. I would be surprised if there isn’t at least a 50 degree temperature (probably closer to 60) between the warmest and coldest parts of the climb. It would be nuts to wear cotton on such a trip.

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