Heat wave, bugs, and sweat


I seem to have a horrible habit of going on ridiculous rides that push my non-professional cycling body over the edge after weeks of not riding in any way.

I got back from a small humidity-veiled vacation in Maryland earlier this week, and what do I immediately embark on? A bike-errand-filled day, which itself isn’t bad, on what apparently was in the middle of a heat wave, which is kind of bad.

Starting out in Flatbush, biked into Manhattan for a quick meeting near Union Square Park. After that I hopped over to Bushwick to drop off some keys at my former apartment.

Now, this is the point at which I should have biked (or walked) to a nearby food venue of sorts and relaxed and refueled. But I’m a stingy youngol’ thing that likes to see how far I can be pushed. Instead, I opted for a quick stop at the grocery store and bought a packet of beef jerky and some Powerade. Should’ve at least bought another bottle of water.

Munch munch. Gulp gulp. Alright. Home.

Yeah… I didn’t make it home in one straight shot. I had to stop by the Grand Army Plaza Arch for like 15 minutes so I didn’t get heat exhaustion or heat stroke or puke or collapse. I finished off my beef jerky packet, my Powerade, and my water.

I felt flushed. I had a headache.

Good job, Gina.

Once I felt “okay,” I got up and walked to the park entrance, hopped on the bike and slowly made the rest of the way home.

Hello, post-hot ride, raging migraine.

I drank lots of water: plain, salty, electrolyte-laden. You name it. Drank it. Ate so much protein-rich food stuffs I couldn’t even. Then a popsicle to cool off.

I told my partner about it, which prompted a suggestion of investing in a Camelbak. I never considered getting one since I’ve never been on a really long ride in temperatures above 45°F. But I remembered I was registered for two upcoming rides, both of which were 40+ miles in length and in summer temperatures.

Considering my small, 44 CM bike frame that only has one bottle cage attachment to it, the idea of lugging around extra bottles of water in a pannier wasn’t appealing. I did that during my impromptu Hal-oween ride with Bicycle Habitat back in October and that was a bit annoying.

I’m not very good at drinking water consistently, which then leaves me in situations where I end up gulping down mouthfuls. I should get one.

So I did some research and went with the Camelbak Aurora. Being a petite frame, I find that finding a pack that fits your back on a bike is a bit tricky. There were plenty of reviews on Amazon for this pack by women who were 5’1, 5’2 saying it fit their backs perfectly. When I tried it on at REI…. yup. No awkward bulging of the pack, no awkward pressure, nothing. It just sits there. Of course this is with the pack empty, but I have a feeling that even once I fill up the 2L reservoir and add my wallet and keys into the additional compartments, it still won’t be an issue.

At least now I have water constantly in my face so I really have no excuse on super hot days or on long rides not to be well-hydrated.

I haven’t had the opportunity to test it out yet, since the weather’s been quite mild the last couple days. Once I put it out in the wild, I’ll be sure to write some of my thoughts on the pack.

Here are some photos of what it looks like:





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