A desert is a fascinating place, but a dangerous one. Many people have gotten into trouble crossing it in cars, let alone by bike. If you try it, you need proper preparation to survive desert heat and dryness. If you do not have a perfect experience, then you should keep some guide with you.
To survive the heat and dryness, you need carry lots of water and refill your containers at every possible opportunity. Also, keep your head covered, and let somebody (such as the cops) know you’re going.
What am I saying here? If you don’t have sense enough to carry water on a desert crossing without my telling you to do it, you shouldn’t be going in the first place.
I have written this article with some simple and most used precaution. I will cover on keeping eyes on time, taking a proper break in shade other tablets and food in this article. If you are interested look further below.
Even in no desert regions, the heat is nothing to trifle with. If your hiking and camping schedule will accommodate it, try to do your riding early in the morning, take a break during the hottest part of the afternoon. And perhaps ride on a bit more as it gets later.
“In Rangoon, the sun at noon is just what the natives shun,” goes Noel Coward’s catchy verse, and if you’re smart, you’ll shun it too. Even in our allegedly temperate summers. Keep your head covered, seek out shady spots for regular breaks, and drink lots of water.
Also, it is better to sip frequently rather than waiting long intervals and then gulping. For, survive desert heat and dryness you need to take care of every angle. Remember, also, what I said about meats and fats for lunch.
For many years, it was taken as axiomatic that you should take salt tablets. Or, otherwise, replace salt lost through sweating in hot weather. This idea, however, has come under some fairly authoritative fire in recent years.
There is also a theory that you should replace other minerals-potassium and magnesium. And also other items that are mostly-lost by the sweating process, with its adherents and opponents.
My own highly inexpert view is that it is a matter of personal body chemistry rather than anything on which general rules can be laid down. I worked for over a year in an old-fashioned iron foundry: the temperature never got below 120°F. during working hours and often went well above that.
There were salt tablets in the wall-mounted dispensers-the only effort made by the management toward worker welfare. And we used to talk among ourselves about whether or not they worked.
Some of the men got violently ill if they didn’t take salt tablets, often as many as two or three an hours. Others got just as sick if they took them at all. I myself could take them or not with no discernible effect, but I usually took them just in case.
I saw the same thing different reactions among different men in the Army. And I note that Colin Fletcher, surely an expert on hot-climate travel, seems to agree that individuals vary in their need for salt replenishment.
“So I suppose each person must experiment very cautiously to find out his or her own needs.”
Various commercial preparations are said to replace body minerals lost in sweat. Dr. Rich Hamman, biochemist, and former international bike racer raises an interesting point.
He said ‘Are we to assume that evolution has produced a defective cooling and excretion system whose “mistakes” we must “correct.” Or isn’t it at least equally likely that the body knows what it’s doing when it flushes these substances out through the skin?’
A provocative point, at least. It is rather amusing to hear people talk about “natural” diet at first. And then they turn around and gulp quarts of synthetic mineral-replacement drinks.
You can’t get around experience. I drink Gatorade in considerable quantities in very hot weather; when I stop at a store on a summer run, it is the first thing I look for. I also carry envelopes of Gatorade powder on my summer runs. And I definitely think it makes me less prone to nausea and heat cramps, whether or not it is actually valuable for other reasons.
However, sugar content in any drink will slow the absorption process in the stomach. So, I mix Gatorade powder at half the strength recommended on the package. At the foundry. I drank Gatorade a lot, and it seemed to help. Again, individuals must be presumed to differ.
Heat stroke is no joke. If you start to feel faint, dizzy, and weak, get off of that bike fast. This isn’t one of those things that you can tough out; it’s tougher than you are. Drink water or some other liquid at least every hour, and drink before you feel thirsty.
In hot weather, by the time you start to really feel the thirst and the sickness, you’ve already gone too long-better start looking for a shady spot to take a good long break.