Preparing and maintaining your bike in tropical climates
Enjoying a tropical holiday does not have to be on the beach and at the resort. Many tropical destinations also offer amazing biking trails that visitors can enjoy at their own speed. But there are some precautions that you need to take when biking in tropical climates, both for your bike and for yourself. If you are going to a foreign country, remember to get a travel insurance, as there are risks of injury with any biking trip.
Before you head out for your ride, you should do a cursory check-up of your bike. Whether it’s a rental or your own bicycle, doing these check-ups will prevent possible problems during your hike. First, check the pressure of the tires. There’s nothing worse than biking on under- or over-inflated tires, especially if there is no way to remedy the problem during your hike. Check the rims and the spokes, and make sure everything looks sturdy and undamaged.
You should make sure that the handlebar is straight, and that you can steer easily. The handlebar and the seat should be solidly attached to the frame of the bike. If needed, tighten the bolts around the handlebar and the seat. Given the climate, the bolts might loosen faster than in temperate regions. Make sure that oil isn’t oozing out of the joints, and if so, replace it.
Of course, brakes are very important to check before any hike. Try the bike on a short distance at low speed to test them. Again, the heat might affect the breaks in ways you are not aware of. Check the brake cables and the brake pads, and make sure that the break handles respond quickly. Always make a cursory inspection of the chain as well. Again, the heat might use the oil faster than you’re used to. The chain shouldn’t stick or jump.
If you’re not used to hot climates, there are also certain things you should do for yourself. The most important thing is to remain hydrated. Even in humid climates, the heat is going to make you sweat and you need to replace those fluids. Keep cold water to splash on your head and neck. Something that athletes like to do is to put a little salt and lemon or lime juice with the water to help with absorption.
Wear light, wicking clothes that absorb sweat and dries quickly; cotton is a bad choice since it is slow to dry. Most sports store have clothing especially made for exercise in hot weather. Wear good shoes, and of course don’t forget your helmet! Even if it’s hot, the helmet might save your life if you’re in an accident. And of course, if that should happen, you’ll have a cheap travel insurance to cover the medical costs. But of course, we don’t wish that for anyone, and if you take all the precautions it will most likely not happen. Have a great ride!