Commuting by bicycle is the perfect way to beat the infamous Maltese traffic jams, but with this summer’s heatwaves seemingly getting worse as time goes by, you do have to be a little careful.
1. Hydration is key
If you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that you are already dehydrated. Think in terms of drinking twice your normal daily average during a heatwave. As B.A.G. put it, “carrying a bottle of water isn’t just for the LifeCycle or Tour De France professionals!”
2. Dress lightly
This one might be a little obvious, but it’s still vital to keep in mind. Of course, please keep in mind basic rules of public decorum, and avoid the midday sun even if you’ve managed to dress lightly. Seriously consider investing in some tech clothing that wicks sweat away if you really can’t avoid that hill.
The bottom line is you don’t want to be that guy cycling at noon in a suit.
3. Go for flatter routes
Malta’s roads are actually full of tiny hills which go a long way into making cycling harder than it seems, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to avoid them. All you have to do is plan ahead a little. Pick routes which are flatter, and it will instantly make your life way easier.
4. Learn how to work the shade
Early mornings and late afternoons are very different when it comes to sunlight, so find out which roads are in shade at which times. o work these new shady lanes into your commute.
5. Your bike is your luggage-carrying friend
It’s only going to be hotter (and harder) if you’re cycling with more stuff on your back, so get as much off you and onto your bike as you can. Ditch the backpack you carry your work clothes in for panniers, a saddle bag or a handlebar bag.
Don’t be bogged down with all the clothes and bags that you don’t need to be carrying, it only make things worse.
6. Don’t forget to take care of your helmet
Sure, your bike is probably your precious baby, but don’t forget that your helmet also needs some TLC. There are better ways to make sure it – and the interior pads – lasts longer. Instead of removing pads that get sweaty, leave them in and rinse the entire helmet.
Also, a bandana under your helmet can really help to either soak up any sweat, or to keep your head cool by wetting it before leaving. Double awesome.