Summer Biking Gear
Reviews & Recommendations
Reviews are by BLU community. Writeup & commentary by BLU contributor Elizabeth
The glorious thing about summer biking gear is that you really don’t need much of it. Summer weather was made for hopping on a bike and turning everyday errands into a joyride. Embrace the heat, or put some spoke lights on your wheels and feel the magic of late-night rides.
With that said, here are some tips for new riders, longer trips, or hard workouts. There’s nothing mind-blowing here, just some bike-specific tweaks that can make summer riding more pleasant.
Check out our other reviews for winter biking gear, spring/fall biking gear as well as camera reviews.
Sunscreen - don’t forget the backs of your hands, since they’re totally exposed out there. If your shirt rides up to show a little strip of your back, sunscreen that part, too. You’ll thank yourself when you try to lie down afterwards.
A cap with a brim shades your face to prevent sunburns and sun damage, reduces glare so you can see better, and you can soak it in cold water and then put it back on your head. Win-win-win!
Tip: If you wear a hat with a brim that shades your upper face, you can put sunscreen only below the cheeks, so it doesn’t drip into your eyes when you sweat.
Squinting in bright sunlight all day is hard on the eyes, not to mention the glare situation when you’re going east in the morning or west in the evening on a road full of cars.
For the extremely sun-sensitive, or for longer rides, consider gloves and/or UV-blocking arm sleeves.
Water - nobody’s going to get in trouble from a half-hour commute without a water bottle. But for longer rides, bringing water on the bike is even more important than usual right now with so many public fountains out of service due to COVID-19 and some stores still operating on restricted hours. The American College of Sports Medicine recommend people drink enough to prevent >2% body weight loss. So for example, if you weigh 150 pounds, a loss of 3 pounds from sweat during your workout would be where things start to get concerning. You can weigh yourself before and after a workout to get an idea of how well you’re hitting that target.
For long hot trips, fill a bottle with ice and then pour in water until it’s full. As the ice melts, it keeps the water cold for longer.
There are tons of sports drinks, powders, tablets, electrolyte shots, etc. All of these can be helpful if you’re doing really intense & prolonged rides, but if you’re in that group, you probably already know what works for you.
Seriously, just get out there! There’s already too much fixation on gadgets and overpriced technical clothes in cycling - summer of all seasons should be about enjoying the simple pleasures. Enjoy the experience, and if you end up wishing you’d brought something, you can troubleshoot when you get back. See you in the bike lane
For rides over half an hour or so, consider bike shorts or any other kind of garment that covers you at least to mid-thigh. Inner thigh chafing from a bike seat really isn’t fun!
If you’re going somewhere nice and want to look a little less bike-y, you can also wear bike shorts under a skirt. Once you get off the bike nobody will know, but you’ll still be protected against chafing and any unfortunate gusts of wind while you’re pedaling.
A package of wet wipes isn’t quite as good as a shower, but it does help if you’ve been sweating a lot.
What did we forget? Got a fantastic piece of summer clothing or equipment to share? Submit it here for other readers to browse! Let us know what specific products, brands, and modifications you love.