Florida Weekly June 6, 2012
hot, hot! And it won’t be long before daily thunderstorms will be added
to our weather forecast. Many runners retreat to the indoor treadmill
this time of year, but with a little planning and some acclimation, one
need not make that the only option. For those who ride a bike for
fitness and recreation, summer mornings are relatively mild and dry so
this time of year is actually preferred by many who make cycling a daily
activity. Like running and walking, some planning and a bit of getting
used to the heat are all it usually takes to stay on track.
It’s a bit more challenging for commuters, mainly due to storms that
tend to dump copious amounts of rain and often include lightning at just
about the time most people are heading home from work. Using rain gear
is generally futile since the sweat that accumulates under it is as
soaking as the rain. And dodging lightning is something I don’t
recommend, so the best option is to wait until the storm passes, or at
least loses its punch and potential to kill.
some of my most memorable runs and races have been in summertime
downpours. Likewise, I’ve had a few rides in similar conditions that
I’ll never forget, although my running experiences left more of a
pleasant memory than did the bike rides, due mainly to the wind that
usually accompanies summer thunder-boomers (I find it a lot easier to
run than to cycle in windy conditions). Below are a few tips for dealing
with wet conditions. Keep in mind that our intense heat means
dehydration can happen quickly and you can be fooled into drinking less
water than necessary when cooling rain is in the picture.
¦ Running: Consider wearing a hat to keep rain out of your eyes; wear
performance clothing that won’t hold excess moisture; be even more
visible than usual by wearing reflective and light colored clothing;
wear your old running shoes, then remember to properly dry them; prevent
chafing with petroleum jelly or other similar products; and remember
that motorists and cyclists may be struggling to see and operate, so
don’t make unpredictable moves and always assume they can’t see you.
¦ Cycling: Operate your bike more cautiously by taking corners at a
lower speed than usual; lightly apply the brakes to dry the rims and be
prepared to brake sooner than you might otherwise; be aware that painted
lines and other roadway markings and features will be slick and that
oil accumulated on the surface is particularly dangerous when it first
begins to rain; avoid puddles since they may hide potholes or debris
that can cause you to lose control; be as visible as possible, include
using lights and reflective materials; wear yellow or clear lens glasses
to protect your eyes; add fenders to your bike; and remember to dry and
lubricate your chain afterward.
The Florida Bicycle Association, the statewide nonprofit organization
that provides education and awareness services, recently held a grand
opening for its new headquarters, located in beautiful downtown DeLand.
Immediately adjacent to Stetson University, FBA’s spacious offices are
in the Chamber of Commerce building, so there’s plenty of walk-in
traffic and opportunity to engage folks who the group otherwise might
On the same weekend of the opening, FBA’s board of directors held its
quarterly meeting. Among the topics discussed were law enforcement
matters BikeWalkLee and others throughout the state are dealing with. A
strategy was developed to address the numerous and serious concerns
expressed my many and includes FBA seeking to meet with top officials
from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the
department that oversees Florida Highway Patrol. I’m sure you’ll be
hearing more about this effort on both the local and state level. As
usual, for up to date information you can visit www.bikewalklee.blogspot.com.
Until next time, I’ll look for you on the roads and trails. ¦
— Dan Moser is a league cycling and CyclingSavvy instructor/ trainer and programs director for the Florida Bicycle Association who cycles, runs and walks regularly for transportation, recreation and fitness. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 334- 6417.