Whether you’re a weekend rambler, weekday commuter or Tour de France contender, don’t let UV crash your ride
Cyclists are often outside for extended periods of time and are subject to UV reflected off the road as well as directly from above. Road cyclists can be out on the road for hours at a time so even at very low levels of UV, good sun protection is needed.
Five tips for how to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide on the bike
1. Cover up exposed skin: SLIP on clothing designed for athletes that covers as much skin as possible while still being safe and comfortable. Instead of mesh, choose UPF50 Lycra cycling gear or clothing with a tight weave to help block UV.
2. Apply sunscreen correctly and frequently: SLOP on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen to any parts of skin not covered by clothing. Sunscreen won’t provide 100% protection but used in conjunction with other sun protection methods it will greatly reduce your risk of skin damage.
- Pay particular attention to the tops of your hands and the back of your neck which are often forgotten. Leaning forwards on a bike also means the back of your legs are vulnerable.
- Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before heading out. Look for a dry touch or active formula that won’t make the handlebars greasy.
- Sunscreen should be reapplied at least every two hours and more regularly if you’re sweating, so put a tube in your pannier or backpack so you always have a supply on hand and don’t get caught out when you extend the ride. Hydration breaks, traffic stops or shady parts of the path provide the perfect opportunities to reapply.
- Correct application of sunscreen is essential. 85% of Aussies don’t use enough sunscreen putting themselves at risk. Check out our sunscreen calculator.
3. Protect your face, neck and ears: SLAP on a helmet attachment to help shade the face, neck and ears. It will also help with sun glare. Take a broad-brim, bucket or legionnaire hat to put on during rest breaks off the bike. Choose a design that will crumple easily and fit into your back pack.
4. Avoid peak UV times of day: Try to ride earlier in the morning or later in the day when the sun’s UV isn’t as intense. Download the free SunSmart app to stay on top of UV levels and sun protection times. SEEK shady bike paths whenever possible. Hydrate and rest in the shade.
5. Protect your eyes: SLIDE on sunglasses to help protect your eyes from UV and sun glare. They can also help protect your eyes from wind, dust, grit and bugs. For best protection, choose a wrap-around style that meets the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1067). There also UV-protective glasses made specifically for cycling which are designed to cover more of your face and help with peripheral vision.