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Looking hot but keeping your cool

Three tips for looking hot whilst keeping your bicycle cool by a UK Australian bicycle babe Clare Powell.

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Born in the UK and spending most of my childhood in Ballarat, it’s fair to say my tolerance for Melbourne’s scorching summers is, well, non existent.  In fact, one of the things that put me off riding a bike was the fear of arriving at my destination a tomato-faced sweaty betty.

Luckily I’ve learnt a thing, or two over, the last few summers.  Here are my top tips!

1. Speed

This one’s a no brainer for seasoned bicycle babes but hearing this tip for the first time was an epiphany for me: SLOW DOWN!  Simple yes, but with the “kill or be killed” mentality on the roads and constant messages from bicycle campaigners that cycling is “great exercise,” too often we feel the need to keep up, get fit and not hold up the lycra warriors.  So remind yourself to slow down, enjoy the ride and if someone wants to hoon past you don’t feel guilty, just be smug in the knowledge that you’re contributing to a positive cycling culture…yay you, hi-5s all round!

Plus, cruise at just the right speed and you will rewarded with a lovely cool breeze that’s much more reliable than aircon on Melbourne trams!

2. Fabric

Choose a fabric that wicks away sweat and no, I’m not talking about lycra!

Silk for example, should feature heavily in any bike riders wardrobe. It keeps you warm and dry in winter and cool in summer.  Yeojin Bae is an amazing Aussie designer who does fabulous things with silk.  Check out her collection on her website.

Cotton and linen are also classic summer fabrics as they’re soft and sweat absorbing. Be careful though, cotten can get clingy if too hot and linen can be pretty wrinkly. Choose a cotton/ linen blend for a cling free, iron free ride on your trusty steed.

Whilst we’re talking about fabrics, don’t underestimate the importance of colour choice. Darker colours will absorb light whereas lighter colours will reflect light and stay cool.

3. Water

Duh.  Some may argue that if you follow the steps above there’s no need for water. For me personally, any activity beyond sitting up straight requires H2O to be readily available. But don’t worry bicycle babes, you don’t have to sacrifice style for hydration!  Retailers have wised up to the anti plastic bottle movement and are releasing a range of funky reusable water bottles.  My personal fave are Vapur water bottles. Fun, fashionable and functional, the best feature of these bottles is that they fold flat when empty, leaving room in your bike basket for much more exciting things.

On particularly hot days, or long rides I fill the water bottle up halfway and put it in the freezer horizontally.  This way you get uber cold water, without having to wait for the ice to melt.

 

So there you have it, my top 3 tips for looking, feeling and staying cool this summer. Now it’s over to you bicycle babes, what are your top tips for summer riding?

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