The days are longer, the sun is stronger, and the temperature is higher, and it’s tempting to spend every minute in the saddle.
However, if you’re new to bike riding or have never cycled through a warm summer, there’s a few things to keep in mind to really make the most of the sunny months!
Don’t neglect bike cleaning
It looks clean, so it must be fine, right? Sorry, wrong.
Just because your bike may look clean after weeks of warm, dry rides, that doesn’t mean it is. The frame will most likely be covered in dust and pollens, and the components in the drivetrain will be greasy and sticky.
Riding in warm temperatures can turn your chain lube very tacky. As a result, anything floating around in the environment – from trails dirt to tree pollen – can get stuck to your chain, jockey wheels and cassette, and will grind away at these expensive parts.
Get into the habit of cleaning your bike even if it doesn’t appear dirty. A quick once-over after every ride with one more thorough wash per week is ideal. However, if you’re riding lower mileage or simply short of time, one deep clean per week should suffice – but make sure you are thorough!
And don’t worry, cleaning needn’t be a chore. Check out our 10-minute, 10-point guide to bike cleaning for a fast and effective way to clean your pride and joy!
Use summer lube!
If you typically use one chain lubricant all year round, now is the time to investigate getting some bicycle-specific ‘summer’ lubricant.
Summer lube is thinner and less viscous than year-round or winter lube, which is designed to resist rain and water spray from the roads. Using winter lubricant when it’s warm and dry will create a thick, gooey mess on your entire drivetrain and increase the likelihood of that trail dust and tree pollen mentioned above getting ground into your components. And this dirty, sticky mess is a nightmare to clean!
Summer lubricant is widely available, and a bottle won’t cost you much and should last all the way through to autumn.
When using summer lube, less is more! You only need to apply a thin coating on your chain to keep the bicycle running smoothly. And the thinner the coating of oil, the cleaner the bike!
Be sure to check out our video, here, for all-things chain maintenance!
Keep cool with the right cycling kit
There are a few additions to your cycling wardrobe you may want to consider in the summer.
Sports-specific sun cream
Sports-specific products are more sweat resistant than some sun creams, meaning that you don’t need to re-apply your protection throughout the ride. These specialist products are typically non-staining and less greasy so that they don’t damage technical cycling fabrics.
Needless to say, sunglasses are a must in summer, whether you’re on the bike or not. However, cycling-focussed products tend to offer larger lenses to protect eyes from insects and include special lenses that help pick out deformities in the road.
Wicking base layer
It may sound counter-intuitive, but a thin sweat-wicking vest beneath your jersey will help you keep cool. A base layer pulls the sweat off your skin and allows it to easily evaporate away, keeping you cool and dry. Not using one leaves a layer of sweat beneath your jersey that can’t evaporate away, making you increasingly hot, and very damp!
Packable rain jacket
Never trust the weather! For longer bike rides or when the forecast looks uncertain, we suggest you always carry a thin packable rain jacket. It will save you from a random rain shower and keep you warm in the early hours or later in the evening when the sun is low. A good lightweight rain jacket will fold down into a bundle around the size of an inner tube and can easily be stashed in a bag or jersey pocket – for those ‘just in case’ moments!