This Article is About
hot weather
training wheels
mom and dad
feet on the ground
road trip
6 years
Cycling In Hot Weather: Hydration Is Critical
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Cycling In Hot Weather: Hydration Is Critical

I love to ride my bicycle, and have been in love with this mode of transportation since I was 6 years old. Back then, I was having some trouble learning the fine art of balance. I was afraid of the falling down and getting hurt, but I was a big chicken growing up.

My Mom and Dad had bought me a brand new bicycle, and they used the same philosophy when selecting its size as they did for clothing. That strategy: buy too big, he will grow into it. When you're just learning to ride, this may not be the best strategy.

Shown Up By A Girl

I was really lucky as my friend, Patty Hamilton, lived a few doors away. She had a smaller bike and it didn't have training wheels. She showed me how to stay upright on the cycle. Her bike was shorter and it spurred confidence because I could keep my feet on the ground. That day, I learned how to balance, and really ride on my own. How embarrassing, shown up by a girl! The training wheels came off of my bike that very day.

Many years and many miles later, I woke up one Sunday and wanted to take a cycling road trip. I had no plans for the day and the weather looked perfect. At 8:00 a.m. the temperature was 72 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I checked the air in the tires and was off.

I decided to ride to Lawrence, Kansas, a journey of about 40 miles from my house. Home of the University of Kansas, Lawrence holds a special spot in my heart because that is where I went to college and graduated with my BS in Business. I rode the back highways and it was absolutely a beautiful outing. I arrived in town, pedaled my way around campus and had lunch at school.

Ignorance Can Be Good

At mid-afternoon, I decided it was time to ride back home. As I passed the bank at the edge of town, I noticed their sign reported the current temperature at 106 degrees. I hadn't realized just how warm the day had become. I believe there is some expression about ignorance being bliss. It seemed that the hot weather hadn't felt as bad when I didn't know the temperature, somehow the knowledge of the actual measure of heat in Douglas County, Kansas that day suddenly made my ride home unbearable.

When I Was A Child I Thought Like A Child

I may have failed to mention that I was much younger at the time, so the statement 'when I was young, I thought as a child' is appropriate. In this case, I was traveling without the benefit of a water bottle. At the time, I didn't carry a bottle because there were convenience stores situated all over the city. Today, I was traveling in a rural location and those little oases of salvation were 10 to 20 miles apart. This was a completely different experience than I had planned.

I began my trek eastward toward home. After only five miles, I found myself having more and more difficulty riding my two-wheeler. I began to imagine all kinds of scary things, like snakes in the road (I am terrified of those creatures who slink through the grass and strike at my heels. As I continued to see things that weren't there and recognized I didn't have the presence of mind to safely ride my bicycle along the narrow two-lane highway. I dis-mounted the machine and began walking alongside.

Dehydration Becomes an Issue

The next convenience store would not cross my path for another seven miles. This was quickly becoming a potential life-threatening event. I began to get cold chills on this hot afternoon. I know the signs of heat stroke and I knew I was in serious trouble. Most young people, on hearing this tale ask me why I didn't just call someone on my cell. This was in the prehistoric era before cell phones were available to the common man.

After walking for what seemed to be an eternity, I had progressed about ¼ mile. My physical reactions to heat, and dehydration were increasing and accelerating. This was going to be bad.

Several vehicles passed this troubled cyclist without taking notice. However, a family in a van stopped just after they had passed me and someone got out and walked toward me. I thought I was still imagining things when the woman exiting the van called out my name.

As good fortune would have it. It really was someone I knew. It was my oldest sister Pat's best friend. I knew the family well. They didn't live anywhere near where we met, they just happened to be driving home along that highway.

There Is No Greater Joy Than Air Conditioning

I have never experienced such joy and bliss as I did that day when I found out their vehicle had air conditioning and they carried a cooler full of cold water. Gary and Carol Haworth saved my life that day and I will always remember what they did to help me.

I no longer cycle without a full, cold bottle of water and a fully charged cell phone. Yesterday's ride was hot, the temperature was similar to that fateful day in Lawrence but I was able to keep hydrated. I finished my ride unscathed.

Now that I am far more mature (old), I assume I no longer think like a child, but I have been wrong before.

The lesson learned: Be prepared.


Street Talk

Hahaha when I was growing up, nobody cared if you hopped in their yard and had a drink from their hose. Hydration is essential because all organic processes require water as a medium. No water=no life!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

If you took a drink from someone's garden hose today they would probably have you arrested!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Hahaha true! It`s a different world...

  
  about 6 years ago
RC Stude  

Kali, you may not be old enough to remember this, but when the Schwinn came out with the Stingrays, Huffy came out with something extremely similar called the Dragsters. Sissy bars and banana seats... oh man, thought I'd died and gone to Heaven! Ohhhh wait.... I'm hearing something.... Queen singing, "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike..." I think I do need a big 'ol bottle of water right about now!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Yeah, I remember them. I didn't have one - I was already into multi speed touring bikes. Mine had a generator that drove off the rotation of the wheel, to power the headlight and taillight. All that chrome! Wow, was that one heavy bicycle.!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
RC Stude  

Doggone Kali, great article except I'm having a hard time breathing and I can't seem to get enough water down.... but, great article!!!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

I ride every night down by the lake, and last week the temp was approaching 100 degrees. It's funny, the usual crowd was nowhere to be seen. What a bunch of babies!

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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