Staying cool while cycling the streets of Tokyo

Byron Kidd
With the mercury set to rise to over 30 degrees celsius today, the first time this year, its time to start putting in to place measures beat the heat.

My favorite tip is this: The evening before your commute soak a face washer or small towel in water, roll it up like the warm towel you receive when you sit down at a restaurant and place it in a plastic zip-lock bag before dropping it into the freezer.

The following morning, and this is most important, remember to take the package out of the freezer and put it in your backpack or pannier. Depending on the heat of the day and the length of your commute by the time you reach your destination the towel has started to thaw and you can use it to towel down, lowering your body temperature and freshening up.

Try it on your next commute, both you and your co-workers will appreciate it.

When writing about staying warm on the streets of Tokyo in the winter I mentioned getting close to the back of a bus as the engine blasts out a lot of heat, suffice to say, avoid doing that in the summer.

Also, be on the lookout for subway ventilation, because in the summer those grates in the sidewalk blast out crispy cool air from the subway below. They're nice to get close to while your waiting at a red light.

How do you keep cool on the bike in the summer?

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  1. Read somewhere that mixing a little isopropyl alcohol with water enhances the evaporation-cooling effect. I haven't tried it yet. I live in Singapore -- I have the heat problem 365 days a year. Forget ever, ever wearing normal clothes while cycling. You must change after a ride. Compared to my October in London, where I could merrily cycle in civilian clothes with no trouble.

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