Whether you have been training diligently through the winter and spring, have already chalked up some races or events or are only just emerging from your cycling hibernation, there is no doubt that the summer is the best season to be a cyclist. Longer days mean you can put away your indoor trainer, stop worrying about remembering to charge your lights and just enjoy those mild evenings on your bike.
Okay, we might be being slightly optimistic about the British summer but, by following our tips and checking out the linked articles on the Insight Zone, your riding won’t let you down even if the weather does.
Get into training
Although the traditional time for getting in the miles is through the winter, many riders struggle for motivation, don’t feel safe or simply don’t enjoy riding in cold, wet and dark conditions. There is no reason why you can’t follow any of our training plans though the summer and we have got ones to suit all levels of cyclist.
If you are currently sedentary, our 8-week Sofa to 50 km Plan would be ideal. For cyclists who haven’t followed a structured training plan before and are targeting a 100 km sportive, our 12-week Improver Plan would get you in shape for a late season event. If you have an event coming up and are currently active but not necessarily cycling fit or are a more experienced rider who has let your training slip, try our 7-week Panic Plan to get you ready.
If you have followed our Foundation Plan and then the Intermediate/Advanced Plan or another structured plan, we have released a series of discipline specific bolt-on training blocks. At 4-weeks in length, they are ideal for working on your weaknesses or preparing for a specific event. There is a plan for sprinting, time-trialling, circuit racing and hill climbing.
Don’t waste the work you put in through the winter and spring. Check out our Event Calendar and start planning some target events through the summer. Make sure you challenge yourself. Step up a sportive distance, have a go at a time trial or take a look at our Racesmart content and give road or circuit racing a try.
Switch to your summer bike
If you have been training on a dedicated winter bike, make sure you give it a thorough service before putting it away and getting out your carbon best. That way, you will know, at the end of the summer it is primed and ready to go. If you are swapping in carbon wheels for the summer, don’t forget to switch your brake pads.
Take care in the sun
If the sun does make an appearance, enjoy it but make sure you take some sensible precautions. Make sure you stay well hydrated. This is a slightly controversial area in sports science with some recent research suggesting that hydration isn’t quite as crucial to performance as was previously thought. However there is still considerable evidence and hours of rider feedback at the highest levels of cycling that backs up the importance of staying optimally hydrated. It is possible to over-drink but, for the majority of riders tackling sportives or long training rides in the summer, under hydration is far more likely to be an issue. Adjust your pacing for your first few rides in the heat. Ride at the lower end of your normal zones and give your body a chance to adapt. Avoid riding through the hottest part of the day, plan your route to offer some shade and dress accordingly. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and make sure you put on and reapply high SPF suncream.
Kit and clothing
Now that summer is here it is time to dig out yourshort sleeved jerseys and shorts but, given the unpredictable British weather, we would still always recommend carrying a lightweight windproof gilet at the very least. If your ride takes in upland or mountainous terrain, it is probably wise to carry a full waterproof.
A decent wicking base layer under your jersey will help you to stay cool and comfortable on summer rides. By transporting sweat away from your skin and allowing it to evaporate, it will also help you becoming chilled on long descents. Take a tip from the pros and opt for a mesh style vest.
You can also pack away your full fingered gloves but you should still ride in fingerless track mitts. The padding in the palm will help soak up vibrations, the towelling is great for wiping away sweat but, most importantly, they will protect your hands if you take a tumble.
Share the roads
As the weather improves, the number of cyclists and other road users will increase. Make sure you are aware of how to ride safely on the road. Obey the Highway Code and be respectful to other road users, especially other vulnerable ones such as horse riders. If you are taking part in a sportive or race on open roads, remember that the Highway Code still applies. Follow good racing and sportive etiquette.
If you have been carrying a few extra pounds through the winter and spring, the summer can be a good time to get them off. You will feel more motivated to get out on the bike, healthy meals, such as salads, are more appealing in the summer and the prospect of bearing all on the beach can be an additional incentive to turn down that extra slice of cake. Have a look at some of our healthy and easy to cook recipes and our top weight loss tips from the Great Britain Cycling Team nutritionists.
Watch Le Tour
We will be tweeting throughout the Tour de France @BritishCycling giving you links to content that will help you to improve your own riding. If you are inspired to give racing a try for yourself, watching our Racesmart videos is a great place to start.