Our advice for riding in the sun safely

  • Le Cul du Moulin © A. Lamoureux

The sun is shining and the air is hot... Are you setting off for a ride along the Loire à Vélo? Here is some advice on how to get the most out of your summer getaway with no setbacks.

Protect yourself from the sun

Helmets play the dual role of protecting you if you fall and shielding you from the sun. There are many different types of summer helmet. Lightweight and made with vents, they let you ride and feel the wind in your hair. Another tip: choose a light colour, which absorbs less heat.

Protect your eyes with sunglasses Again, there are many models to suit all faces. Ask a professional for advice on how to choose the right pair. It you don’t want to carry lots of pairs, some glasses have interchangeable lenses.

Even while cycling the sun’s rays will hit your skin! Make sure you carry sun cream with an index adapted to your skin. Choose a container that is easy to use and above all remember to apply it regularly to avoid sunburn!

Cycle break © C. Mouton – CRT Centre-Val de Loire

Keep drinking

Even if you don’t necessarily feel thirsty, remember to drink regularly. Don’t forget your water bottle(s), which you can even flavour with mint leaves or lemon, for example. Consider using insulated bottles to keep your drink cool for as long as possible.

You can also opt for a solution such as a Camelbak. This rucksack contains a water bladder that allows you to stay hydrated using a tube to suck the water through. Different sizes are available according to the length of your outings. If you run out of water, stop at a small grocery store or a drinking water fountain.

Choose the right clothes

Choosing the right clothes is also very important. Prioritise light, breathable fabric that lets the air pass through and keeps you dry. If you are looking for technical jerseys or shorts, you will find many models in all price ranges. If you opt simply for shorts and a t-shirt, choose natural fabrics such as cotton or linen.

Keep your body as cool as possible

Wondering how? Here are a few techniques to remember:

– always have a spray bottle on you and within easy reach. Don’t hesitate to use it, because the more you cycle, the cooler the air will be on your damp skin!

– in the case of very hot weather, stop at water points in cyclists’ rest areas to wet your t-shirt.

In addition, as much as possible, start early in the morning, have a nap in the early afternoon and set off again when the sun is less strong.

If you overheat, go into the shade and lower your body temperature gradually by drinking cool drinks and applying water to your neck, hands and feet.

Take it easy

It’s important to take account of the weather when doing sports activities. The Loire à Vélo is no exception! You’re on holiday, on a weekend break… There’s no rush! If the weather is hot during your travel dates, plan shorter stages with more shade. Stop on the banks of the Loire from time to time to cool off… in short, take your time!

The island at Chalonnes-sur-Loire © A. Lamoureux

Eat a balanced diet

What you eat is important in summer, especially when cycling. Prioritise food that is easy to digest and meals that won’t upset your stomach… as well as “medium-sized” quantities so that it’s not too difficult to get back on the bike!

Avoid raw or high-fibre foods (tomatoes, salad, melon, etc.), tea and coffee (which prevents your body absorbing the essential minerals for keep up your energy) and dairy products.

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