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Nov 18, 2020

Virtual riding is on the decline, so more cyclists are back on the road, which means taking precautions against sun damage and dehydration, especially during the summer months.

Chris van Rooyen of Team Bestmed gives some practical advice on how to protect yourself from the summer sun while cycling.

  1. What gear would you recommend that provides sun protection, but also keeps you cool?

Less is more. It is easy to overheat if you are over-dressed on a hot summer’s day. UV sleeves are great to protect your arms from burning. Arm warmers and thick jerseys are a no-no.

Always use a good sunscreen and make sure it has been endorsed by CANSA.

  1. What factor sunscreen would you recommend and how often should you apply while cycling?

The higher the factor the better and the longer it will last. In other words, the lower the factor, the more frequent you need to apply.

I apply the following before I ride: A SPF40 sun protection stick for my nose and lips, and a

SPF40 water resistant non-greasy clear spray on my neck, ears, arms and legs.

  1. It is important to stay hydrated, especially on a hot day. How much water do you recommend a cyclist should drink before, during and after a ride, and what beverage do you recommend for replacing lost electrolytes during and after a ride?

I recommended 500ml of water per hour, but I try not to drink just plain water. Get into a habit of drinking a 500ml bottle of energy drink before your ride. A good rule of thumb is to drink a 500ml bottle of energy drink per hour.

I use a 4:1 ratio of protein to carbs energy drink for endurance riding. I also add half an electrolyte tablet to each of my bottles. I will then have a 500ml recovery drink or smoothy after my ride.

  1. What is the best advice you could give to a cyclist who suspects that they are dehydrated?

As soon as your mouth feels dry, the chances are that you are already dehydrated. The biggest issue with dehydration is cramping.

Triathletes and endurance riders like to drink a mix of half Coke and Water. This has helped me numerous times. I drink this mix in my last hour or two in a stage race like the Cape Epic.

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