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How to manage sweat while cycling in the heat of summer

7 tips to manage perspiration on hot summer bike rides

woman cyclist cycling mountain bike on trail

Many Canadians wait all year to enjoy the stifling heat of summer. Cyclists take advantage of the increased hours of daylight, the beautiful warm sunshine and the mercury frying temperatures that come with it. Not everyone reacts the same to the heat. Some do better in cool temperatures while others thrive when it’s really hot. One thing is for sure, when it’s hot you will sweat a lot more on the bike especially during hard efforts or when tackling ascents. Whether you love the heat or hate it, knowing how to manage sweat will make it more enjoyable to ride when it’s really hot. Here are seven tips to better manage sweat when cycling:

Wear lightweight summer kit

While just wearing a bib short and jersey will offer good breathability during the heat of summer, seeking out kit made from extremely lightweight fabrics like mesh can be perfect for the cyclist who sweats a lot. These kits are made to offer extreme ventilation and fit tight to the body to ensure moisture is being pulled away from your skin. Just make sure if you choose a lightweight mesh kit you apply sunscreen underneath. Choose lighter colours to ride as they tend to keep you a little cooler. Wearing a base layer can also help wick away moisture from your body and thus better manage sweat.


Staying well hydrated is so important to enjoy your summer riding. Apart from drinking a lot of water make sure you are taking in the vitamins and minerals your body is loosing through your sweat. A good calculation to go by is to drink at least one 550 ml bottle of water every hour you are on the bike. Bring a sports drink mix with vitamin B and C, along with vital minerals like zinc, magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium to ensure your body is functioning as it should as you lose buckets of sweat on your summer rides.

Wear a headband or cycling cap

For many cyclists who sweat a lot, the most annoying thing is to have sweat dripping off your brow onto your glasses and into your eyes. This is especially a problem for cyclists without a lot of hair. Wearing a doo rag like Marco Pantani (with a helmet on top of course), a lightweight cap designed to help manage sweat or a headband can give you a better chance of avoiding dripping sweat.

Choose the right helmet

If you know you sweat a lot, carefully consider the helmet you wear. Before buying a helmet look at the vents and padding inside. Highly ventilated helmets that channel wind across your head are more likely to keep you cool and help sweat dissipate. An aero helmet, no matter how sleek, is probably not the best option if you get extremely sweaty. Look for thick padding that provides a lot of wicking potential. Some helmets are even designed to channel sweat that accumulates into the padding and away from your glasses.

Rinse off when you get a chance

If you have sensitive skin, you may want to get into the habit of rinsing off your exposed skin at stops. Your salty sweat will attract grit which could irritate your skin and rinsing off in a bathroom mid-ride is extremely refreshing. Just make sure to reapply your sunscreen.

Use water-resistant sports sunscreen


Using the right sunscreen can make a big difference to manage sweat. Nobody wants stinging eyes when your sweat does drip and you want to continue to be protected from the suns harmful rays despite the sheen of sweat you’ll be covered in. Stick sunscreens tend to be more reliable for face protection and are less likely to drip while certain cremes withstand to moisture better than others. Choose your sunscreen wisely to ensure you are protected and comfortable.

RELATED: Which sports sunscreens will actually stand up to sweat?

Change your helmet pads

If you notice a lot of sweat dripping off your forehead, consider changing the padding on your helmet. Fresh padding will better wick away moisture and will also be a lot more sanitary. If you’re padding still looks fresh but is getting a little stinky, make sure to hand wash it.