Monday, August 13, 2012

My struggle to be cycle chic in the heat

I'm just not very cycle chic at the moment.  I'm trying my best but for the last week Phoenicians have suffered, yes suffered, from extreme heat above and beyond any objective definition of extreme.  Like 113 - 116 degree Fahrenheit.  It's just damn, freaking, searing hot and when the TV news reported earlier this week about some guy rescued from a nearby desert mountain, I just shook my head in disbelief.  Why?!  I've still got to get where I'm going though, so again I'm heading out early, seeking the protection of shade wherever possible and using light rail.

My hat is woven from paper, perhaps explaining it breathability.  The black t-shirt is not an entirely stupid choice in searing heat since it is made of a wicking fabric.
Last week, someone suggested that I also consider wearing a hat for a little extra sun protection. Initially, I rejected this idea as just one more thing to cause my head to perpire.  My SPF has been very effective but my tanning face still needs protection so this week I decided to wear a hat and deal with my perspiration soaked hair in the restroom at my destination. 

Me, doing my best impression of Greta Garbo incognito at the University/Rural Rd Station in Tempe.
My hats, which I wore all the time, sweat-free in Flagstaff, worked reasonably well because they were much more breathable than I thought they'd be.  I also keep a terry cloth towel close at hand to soak up sweat at stop lights and on the train.  Finally, I packed a small, travel sized hair dryer in my pannier for a quick zap of air in the restroom when air hand dryers aren't available.  I don't know if carrying a small hair dryer is a drastic solution or not but I'm willing to look like a fool for a few minutes in the restroom if it means avoiding both skin cancer and hat head.

Camo pants can be cycle chic but at the moment they just provide breathable sun protection for my legs.
I was pretty much well stocked in the clothes department up in Flag, an excessively casual little town, in my opinion.  As long as my clothes weren't ripped or stained and kept me warm, I was pretty much had all the clothes I needed.  Naturally, since it rarely gets above 80 degrees, even in the summer, I really had to exert myself in order to work up a sweat.  Not here, baby!  I had nothing to wear moving down here, and I've had to do a little shopping for "school clothes". For me, being a student over traditional age, I'm going for more professional clothes since a big part of my education is the two-day-a-week field placement where the Hello Kitty t-shirt just doesn't send the right message.  Dresses mostly, as they are the most comfortable thing to wear on an ozone action day, which is pretty much every day and all night long here.  School hasn't started yet I've been spending a lot of time in sleeveless shirts and an old pair of Ralph Lauren camo pants.  The camo pants offer sun protection and are unexpectedly breathable as well since they are made of rip-stop material. 

Probably the best image of my foot I've captured in the nearly four years of writing this blog. 
My only slightly cycle chic moment this week came when I paired Ann Taylor Outlet sandals (I got such a smokin' deal on these, by the way) with the camo pants.  Since my pedicure seemed to be holding up, I decided to share them with SRAB readers.  Most of the time, however, I'm just wearing black flip flops, which I'm not sharing with readers because they are also my shower sandals and it just seems too personal.  Flip flops, by the way, seem to be the official footwear of the Valley.    A couple of times I've observed otherwise professionally dressed women on light rail wearing flip flops.  I can only assume they are carrying some pumps or open-toed sling backs in their tote bags.  I really can't see my sister sporting flip flops while refinancing mortgages at BB&T.  I doubt things are that casual in Phoenix either.  Anyway, I kinda like these sandals as they made me feel a little less like a refugee mountain woman on a bicycle.  Unfortunately, the thong portion of the right sandal became dislodged during a Saturday night walk to dinner so my stylish feet will now be pedaling to a nearby shoe repair shop.  Heavy sigh!


Trisha said...

I feel ya! we don't get that hot (well, except for the second week in July, which was nuts) but actually the 109-degree days we had with no humidity, which I assume was more what it's like in AZ, were about equal in misery to the 98-degree days with 90% humidity that are summers here in TN! You probably know this from KY though. Great idea with the hair dryer, and love the shoes.

She Rides a Bike said...

I just hope these shoes can be fixed. You know, I've lived most of my life in high humidity climate so I have to admit that I muddle through the extreme heat/low humidity about as well as lower heat/high humidity. I might do low humidity a little better. At the very least my hair is happier here than back east.

inspiredcyclist said...

Ohhhhh those temps!!! Yikes! Good for you for protecting your face and skin. A hair dryer sounds like a very smart idea...that - or going the gel slicked back route. What are the temperatures like in the fall and winter?

She Rides a Bike said...

People tell me the rest of the year is warm to perfect. I can't do the gel look as my hair to to stringy. My hair just ends up looking greasy.

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