How to Beat Summer Heat: Ice Packs in the Bra

Summer is in full swing! It’s too hot and glaringly sunshiny to spend much time outside. What happened to the perfect in-between weather? A question I seem to ask every year.

Cycling is my fun time outside. I’ve never really been into gardening or spending time at the beach. Growing up, our extended family spent time “at the lake” but I usually enjoyed reading a book in the shade much more than trying to waterski and keep up with the "fun” that everybody else was having.

Controlling my temperature on the bike

Being on a bike can be as much of a solitary activity or a group activity as I want. Basically, I can make the experience almost anything I want. I can go slow. I can stop to eat a snack. I can try to push myself and beat my own record pace.

Although I can’t control the weather, I can change how I respond to it, particularly the heat. I’ve learned to make sure that I’m fully hydrated before heading out on a bike ride. I’ve discovered that a frozen wet cooling cloth can be extremely helpful during a ride. And I’ve learned to use ice in my insulated water bottle to try to beat the heat.

Last year I actually surprised myself and came up with a new idea. You know the type, an idea that makes you question why in the world you hadn’t thought of it before. Something so simple and obvious. Something you want to share with everybody whom it might help.

Staying cool with MS

So here I am sharing my big revelation...which honestly, you already know about because you read the headline. LOL. But I’m taking it one step farther.

Frozen ice packs are excellent at helping to cool down your core body temperature. I’ve found that placing them at the nape of the neck or on the underside of the wrists really works to “cool the blood.” But on the longer rides, frozen gel packs and ice cubes in a water bottle have melted. They lose their helpfulness.

Enter instant ice packs.

Instant versus gel ice packs

I purchased a large box of instant ice packs. You just have to pop it in the center to start the chemical reaction that makes them cold. These types of ice packs are often used in first aid kits. They are now in my summertime cycling anti-heat first aid arsenal.

But instant ice packs don’t get extremely cold; not like frozen gel packs. If I put one in my back jersey pocket, it hardly makes a difference even when using two packs. I tried placing an ice pack in the front of my sports bra thinking that would cause some chilling. However, it did not; too much flesh between the ice pack and any significant vein or artery.

Getting creative to cool off

So I got creative and asked Rob to shove an activated instant ice pack under the band of my bra in the back. Ooohhhh. Now that finally felt cold!!!

Here we were, stopping at a park for a break during a long ride and I’m basically taking my shirt off so that Rob could access the target area. Any temporary indecency or embarrassment was totally worth it. The packs — because if one was good, two would be better — stayed cold long enough to get us much farther down the trail without me totally melting under the sun.

Planning ahead in the heat

Now I keep extra emergency ice packs in my car and sometimes in my purse. They’ve come in handy when ice isn’t available for an immediate cooldown fix.

Are there any unconventional tips or tricks you’ve come up with to tackle challenges in the summertime? As always, I welcome your stories in the comments.

Be well,

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