Tips for Riding an Ebike During Summer in Canada

Cycling is a popular outdoor activity we engage in during summer here in Canada. Many people put their e-bikes to use more during summer than other seasons in the year. We want you to have the best cycling experience this summer, so we want to share some useful tips with you. 

Asides from being exposed to the risk of getting sunburnt, cyclists are also exposed to harmful UV rays. In lieu of these, you need to be properly prepared to protect yourself against both UV rays and sunburns.

Related article: Tips for riding your e-bike in Canadian winter

 

What is UV radiation? 

Ultraviolet radiation is also known as UV radiation or UV or ultraviolet light. It is radiation or light that has a wavelength that is greater than 100 nm but less than 400 nm. Its wavelength is longer than that of X-rays, but it is shorter than that of visible light. 

There are other forms of electromagnetic radiation asides from UV radiation. There are microwaves, radio waves, X-rays, Gamma rays, infrared and visible light. The UV radiation is of three types; UVA, UVB and UVC.

Just like the rest of the lights on EM spectrum, UV radiations are classified by their wavelengths. Wavelength is the distance between the peaks in a series of waves. UVC rays have the shortest wavelengths, and UVA rays have the longest wavelengths with UVB rays in the middle. 

UVA and UVB rays are usually transmitted through the atmosphere, and most of the UV rays we come in contact with are UVA rays and UVB rays. The ozone layer absorbs UVC rays and some UVB rays. 

As we mentioned, UVA has the longest wavelength of all three types of UV radiation. Also, the waves can penetrate the middle layer of our skin i.e. the dermis. UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays, but they also reach the outer layer (epidermis) of our skin.

Like we said earlier, UV radiation causes sunburn. Ultraviolet sunburns can be mild, causing only tenderness and redness. Other times, they can be so severe as to cause swelling, blisters, seepage of fluid, and sloughing of the outer skin. 

There are long and short term effects of skin exposure to UV radiations. The pain and discomfort of a sunburn which we often feel is a sign of short term overexposure to UVA and UVB rays. Problems with your vision, premature ageing, wrinkles and thick skin are long term exposure effects you can suffer from UVA and UVB rays. 

Your eyes are also at risk when exposed to UV as you can have cataracts. Cataracts will cloud your vision, and this is because of the lack of transparency you will now have in your lens. Macular degeneration can also occur as a result of long term exposure to UV radiations. 

Your macula is the most acute visual part of the retina. If it becomes degraded, then your vision will diminish as well. Another eye deficit you can experience is pterygium. In the case of pterygium, there will be tissue growth that will block vision within the eye.

The highest form of risk you can face from being exposed to UV radiations is skin cancer. You can develop different types of skin cancer, and these cancers are in the form of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

Melanoma skin cancer is the worst and most severe form of skin cancer. Its primary cause is repeated sunburns and UV exposure. Non-melanoma cancers are less dangerous than melanoma cancer. They, however, spread fast if left untreated. If caught on time, they can be easily treated, and fatalities can be avoided. Squamous cell and basal cell are the two existing types of non-melanoma skin cancers.

 

How to protect yourself from sunburns 

Having said all these, it is vital that you prepare well to protect yourself from UV radiation and dangerous sun rays as you ride this summer. Save yourself the cost of treating the hazardous effects of overexposure to the sun by employing due diligence.

Here are some tips to protect you from UV radiation that you will find helpful while cycling during this summer period:

Use Sunscreen 

Sunscreen is very safe and will help to protect you from getting sunburnt. In fact, it is one of your greatest allies during summer to protect you from UV exposure. Asides from protecting you from skin cancer, it protects you from ageing prematurely and all the other risks you face.

Before you step out of your house to embark on your cycling expedition, apply sunscreen generously on your skin. Use sunscreen for 15 minutes so that your skin can absorb the sunscreen well for maximum protection. 

Do not wait till you’re in the sun before applying your sunscreen, and it will be too late already. Also, do not just apply sunscreens, apply it correctly and on all exposed skin. It is better for you to use more than enough sunscreen than for you to use less sunscreen. 

You don’t have to go far to get your sunscreen. There are endless rows of sunblock in every drugstore you enter in Canada. When buying your sunscreen, look out for one that is water-resistant and one that provides you with broad-spectrum coverage. This type of sunscreen will protect you from UVA and UVB rays. You should reapply sunscreen on your body every 2 hours or immediately after swimming. Also, reapply it if you’re sweating. 

Do not use expired sunscreen and expect to be protected from UV radiation. Sunscreens usually have an expiration period of about 2-3 years, however just to be safe we advise you get a new sunscreen every summer. 

Some people use sunscreen sprays primarily because it is easier to apply. Even though they are also effective, this mode of application is flawed. You should probably not take any chances. We recommend you use sunscreen creams instead.

Wear proper cycling clothes 

A perfect e-biking day can easily get ruined if you’re not adequately dressed for both the weather and the activity itself. You should get yourself proper cycling kits before you embark on your bike day. The right type of clothing will help you with your cycling experience. 

When getting your apparels, it’s better to be cynical. While getting light, breathable clothes, you should not overlook waterproof cycling clothes. You might come across the acronym UPF on different garments. It stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. This indicates that that fabric possesses the ability to block UV rays. 

Also, you should get fabrics like polyester and lycra because they act well as physical sunblocks to your skin. Also, wear darker shades of clothes, they absorb sun rays better and protect against UV radiation. White clothes are advised against because they are very transparent, so they provide no protection at all. 

Apart from clothes, you should also wear arm covers, leg covers, cycling gloves, neck warmers and even caps with a visor. That way, you can keep the sun off most of your exposed skin. 

Wear sunglasses. 

Apart from them being stylish, sunglasses help you to filter UV rays from reaching your eyes. Cycling sunglasses are different from regular ones as they have a larger lens, which gives you proper protection from the top, sides and from the elements. 

An essential part of cycling glasses are their lenses, and you should pay attention to it. Most sunglasses of high quality offer protection because of the way they are made. The lens is usually coated and is able to absorb UV rays. 

The tint of the lenses will dictate the conditions you can wear them in. You should choose lenses that block out up to 75% to 90% of light. These types of glasses are also known as Visible Light Transmission or VLT. 

Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes from cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium that we have discussed above. Ensure you have the right type of sunglasses before you embark on your rides.

Choose your riding time wisely. 

During the summer, the sun is usually higher in the sky than it ordinarily would be during other seasons. This makes its UV rays spread across a smaller area and makes it more intense. A UV index indicates the intensity of the UV and the higher the index, the higher the intensity. When the sun is highest in the sky, UV rays are the most intense at this point. In Toronto summers, this usually happens in the afternoon. 

You don’t necessarily have to cycle in the heat of the sun, mornings and evenings are the preferred time for you to ride. The sun is less hot and shining, and UV rays are less intense during mornings and evening times. Plan your schedule in such a way that you can avoid cycling during mid-days. 

Another critical thing to consider is the effects of UV exposure at altitude. This is peculiar to people who climb or if you are cycling up a hill or a mountain. You need to realize that the higher you go in altitude, the more exposed you are to UV rays. 

Do not mistake warmer temperatures for fewer UV rays. At higher altitudes, there is less atmosphere to absorb the radiation. Therefore, you are even more exposed. So except when necessary, during summer, you should always consider the effect.

Stay hydrated. 

We all know the importance of adequate water intake in our body system regardless of the activities we engage in. Water helps your muscles and your joints to work better.

When you’re well-hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provide adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently, so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints. 

When the temperature rises as it does during summer, getting enough water is not only important but crucial. Hence whether or not you’re going to be cycling, you need to be appropriately hydrated during summertime. 

Therefore, when you’re going out of your house to ride, you need to be well hydrated and stay that way all through. Being well hydrated is essential for riding your e-bikes during summer. 

Do not leave your house without a bottle of water in your pack! You should aim to drink about 500ml of water within 45-60 minutes time frame. Sports drinks are also advised but note that they should not replace your water intake. 

You would not want to risk dehydration as it can lead to several problems. You will be risking headache, swollen feet and even life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke. Therefore, avoid all of these by taking adequate water while riding during this summer.

Related article: Gearing up for a trail ride: Must-have accessories for E-bikes in Canada

 

Conclusion 

We know how much you look forward to this summer and can only imagine how much fun you have planned out. However, you do not need to have fun at the expense of your health. 

Apply sunscreen on your body and wear proper clothing items that will protect you from UV radiations. Also, do not cycle without sunglasses on, choose your riding time wisely; preferably mornings and evenings and drink lots of water to stay hydrated! 

Take note of all that we have discussed and put them to practice as you go on your riding expeditions. We trust that you will find these tips very helpful as you take them to heart this summertime. Have a wonderful time!

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