August 16, 2019
Sunny, warm Summer’s days and cycling were made for each other. The days are long, the nights short. Roads are dry and visibility is good and there’s no need to cover every part of our skin to avoid frostbite. No other means of transport brings us closer to the real essence of Summer, than cycling.
Like all the seasons though, cycling in the UK in the summer does present some potential hazards even when the weather is at its finest – or perhaps because the weather is at its finest. By watching out for these potential hazards and by taking the necessary precautions, your summer time cycling will be both safe and great fun.
Sunglasses – the solution to many summer cycling problems
Sun glare protection
The glare caused by the sun is a problem for cyclists not just in the summer. The winter sun can be equally problematic because it is lower in the sky for longer. On average there’s about 4 times the number of sun hours in a July day, than there is in a January day.
The extreme brightness can feel all encompassing, when you are on your bike on a sunny day. The solution is to wear a decent pair of cycling sunglasses.
The type of lenses you choose will be a matter of personal preference. Whilst dark ones will provide the great protection against bright sunlight, that darkness can of itself cause problems when riding into and out of shaded stretches of road. Taking a pair of sunglasses on and off whilst riding, is not ideal. Photochromic lenses that darken or lighten to suit the conditions are one possible answer to that problem, as would be a choice of a slightly lighter shade of lenses that still do the job of keeping the glare from the sun, at bay.
Wraparound cycling sunglasses aren’t just intended to be a fashion statement. They;
- are much better for ensuring that the cyclist has good peripheral vision. The saying that someone ‘needs to have eyes in the back of their head’ could have been written with cyclists in mind!
- provide complete protection to the eyes from the wind. This in turn,
- helps to stop the eyes from drying out. Dry eyes can cause eye fatigue.
Protecting the eyes from foreign objects
Dust, dirt and in the summer, flies, are all hazards, which if they were to hit an unprotected eye, could cause all kinds of problems, including loss of control of the bike. Sunglasses act as eye protectors in this sense, as well.
Exposure to UV light
Studies have shown that cataracts can be caused by the eyes being exposed to UV light. Without taking precautions to protect the eyes from the effects of UV light, the cumulative effect of exposure over many years, can put cyclists at risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens that effects vision. If left untreated, the condition will worsen over time and can cause total blindness. A good pair of cycling sunglasses will provide protection against ultraviolet radiation.
We have much more awareness of the dangers of skin cancer, than in previous years. Nevertheless, it’s still easy to be blasé about applying sunscreen when we are out in the sun. Cycling in the sun is a great way to get a tan, but the combination of warm sun, the breeze and perspiration can lead to overexposure without even realising it.
According to advice provided on the website of the British Association of Dermatologists, a tan is a sign of skin damage. When put in those stark terms, we need to be ultra-careful to protect against getting exposed to too much sun when we decide to take a bike ride in the summer months.
Applying a high factor sunscreen cream all over exposed skin, on all parts of the body that will be exposed whilst out cycling, is crucial to protecting ourselves against the risk of skin cancer. The advice is to keep on applying it whilst on your ride. Taking a bottle of sun protection cream with us, is to be recommended when going on anything other than short bike journeys.
Many of us drink too little water at the best of times. In the summer sun, we can quickly dehydrate, when cycling over even a short distance. When undertaking a long cycle ride, in the sun of the summer months, it is vital that you are properly hydrated before setting off. It is just as important to ensure that you have plenty of water with you before you get on the saddle. Plan where you are going to be able to refill your water bottles en route. It’s an old saying, but a true one, that if you wait until you feel thirsty to take water on board, then you are already dehydrating!
The summer is nevertheless, a great time to cycle. With a little planning and by giving respect to the elements, cycling in the sun is exhilarating, healthy and…certainly beats cycling on a freezing cold and icy winter’s day. Take care and enjoy!
The author of this blog, Steve Barke is a keen cyclist. Steve is a bicycle accident compensation claims solicitor in the serious personal injury claims team at Spencers Solicitors. Steve has helped many cyclists who have been injured in cycling accidents claims, that were not their fault, to recover personal injury compensation. Steve can be contacted on 08000 93 00 94. If you’ve been involved in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault call Steve now, entirely free of charge. He will be pleased to advise you whether you have reasonable grounds for making a claim. This initial call will be entirely free of charge. If you do have grounds to make a claim and would like Spencers experienced injury solicitors to help you do this, then in most cases we will be able to offer you the benefit of a No Win, No Fee arrangement. Call now on 08000 93 00 94 or contact us online.