In summer it’s easy to get caught up in a great ride and lose track of time. Before long, you’ve covered a lot of miles in the saddle without a rest stop, or a drink of water.
Then, you start to get a headache. Or feel a little confused. That’s when you’re headed for trouble.
With the hot sun beating down on a geared-up rider or passenger, it’s easy to start suffering from heat stroke. The first step in dealing with the problem is recognizing the symptoms. Basically, when you stop having to go to the bathroom or when you stop sweating, you’re already in trouble. Watch also for rapid pulse, a throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea and confusion.
If you experience any of those symptoms, stop immediately.
Cool down and drink plenty of fluids, well beyond quenching your thirst. If you’re near civilization, get some water and relax. If not, find shade and drink any water you’ve been smart enough to carry on your bike.
Stay calm and remain shaded until you feel better. That may mean a long wait. Until sundown possibly. When you resume riding, don’t be tempted to take off your jacket because that can dry you out even faster.
Also remember that long days on a bike, or even short ones on hot days, can dry you out much faster than you realize. Either use a hydration system or take frequent breaks to drink fluids.
If you find your mind getting a bit foggy, like you can’t decide whether to stop for a break or not, take it for the warning sign that it is and stop. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Figure out what’s wrong and fix it before you get back on the bike.
If you think you’re not ready to continue a long ride, find the closest hotel and get an air-conditioned room for the night. Be safe.