How to Bicycle in 44C Heat

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at a desk in an Airbnb apartment in Melbourne. I was preparing for a workshop that I am presenting called “How to Bicycle with Style” which will be held Friday 12 February, Library at the Dock, Docklands 6-8pm. That morning I had eaten a late breakfast a short bicycle away. The morning had a hint of the heat that was to come. On the ride back, the temperature was rising quickly.  On such warm days, I love wearing linen. Linen helps keep you cool in any breeze, especially one of your own creation on an e-bike.

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Working before breakfast is possible when there are no children around. I was planning for the evening’s Ethiopian feast by having a late breakfast which would tide me over.

In the midst of phone calls and emails in air-conditioned luxury, I kept an eye on the temperature. It rose steadily and by 3pm it was 41C. I had an appointment at PSBikes in Yarraville that I wanted to keep. I had delayed enough and the result was that I would be cycling in the hottest part of the day. I needed to be back by 5:30pm as my evening would start at 6:45pm. I had organised a “Stylish Cyclists Dinner” with the Melbourne cyclists that I had met via social media.

How did I prepare to bicycle in such heat? Special undergarments to wick away sweat? Rigidly sweat proof make-up? Lycra? No. I bought a bottle of cold water from a vending machine at Southern Cross Station and put it in my bag.  Going through the station via the lifts is a time saver. One other bit of preparation was that I wore my cycling gloves.  Why? To improve my grip on the brakes and sun protection for my hands.

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Going through Southern Cross Station and the MCG armed with water bottle and ebike.

The ride to Yarraville was uneventful. I had been to Footscray previously which was farther away. I followed Googlemaps bicycle route instructions. The truck drivers waved and smiled again. I had a hot headwind during the entire ride. At a red light, I stopped and drank some water. My eyes were watering in the hot wind. Fortunately, I was on a Gazelle Fuente, an e-bike that Spokes Bicycles had loaned me for the duration of my visit to Melbourne. I wasn’t sweating very much, despite the heat. Why? Because it was evaporating so quickly. I always like to remind everyone that sweat is a natural function which helps to keep you cool. The protected cycleway runs next to the Docklands Highway and must be a great commute for many cyclists who live in the west.

I pulled up next to a road cyclist who wearing lycra, sport sunglasses, helmet and backpack. We spoke about the heat. I remarked about my watering eyes. He extolled the virtues of his sport sunglasses. I smiled. When the light was green, he took off quickly. I have noticed that some men have an issue being passed by a woman in dress and heels on bicycle.

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So thoughtful that the stevedores matched the containers to my helmet cover.

I passed a familiar field of colourful and neatly stacked shipping containers and soon made my way to the bicycle shop. Fortunately, Peter was on the phone when I arrived. I had a moment to recover from the ride and soon I was sweating. I could feel it trickling down my back. There was no breeze inside the shop. I drank the entire bottle of water. Fortunately, the shop was well insulated and several degrees cooler. I stepped outside and caught a bit of the hot breeze. Unbeknownst to me, the temperature had risen to 44C. 

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Perspiring, no sweating without a breeze inside the shop.

Peter was deep in preparation for the Australian Open, which would soon commence, as were many other bicycle shops in the area.  We had a great chat and spoke of our respective brands and cargo bicycles. He agreed to come to my workshop with a few.

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Soon, I would need to depart for the city. Armed with another bottle of water, I made my way back. Clouds were starting to roll in and I saw more cyclists on my return to the city mostly lycra-clad and male. The temperature dropped several degrees but was around 38C when I made it back to the apartment. I stood in the cool shower for awhile. I ate a few rice paper rolls and drank a cold iced tea.  I didn’t feel hungry but I knew that I had expended some energy and needed to recover. I laid down in bed with feet elevated and spoke on the phone for ten minutes. I dressed. A cool change was in the air finally and I was off to the “Stylish Cyclists Dinner” in Fitzroy!

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Happy Cycling!

x Sarah

Today’s ensemble: Princess Polly jumpsuit, J.Crew dress, Swarovski earrings, Yakkay helmet, Giro gloves, Linus Eleanor bag, Cartier Santos watch, Tom Ford sunglasses, Geox heels, Gazelle Dutch Bicycles Fuente Ebike

3 Comments

    1. Hi Di, thanks for reading my blog and enjoying the photos. Yes, I love the Yakkay helmet too. It is approved for the US and European markets. I don’t believe the Australian head is any different to the heads in those countries. So, I wear it here in Australia. It has a sticker. Your choice. Freedom of choice is important! All the best, Sarah

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