How hot is too hot for exercise?
For some of us, the answer is: anything above 72 degrees. But for others, they'd rather crank up the heat and get sweaty.
Wald hails from Minneapolis, MN, so he's used to biking in extreme conditions, albeit on the opposite spectrum.
"My hometown sees temperatures from -40 to +110. I wanted to push myself to bike in these conditions," he says. "I found that in the end, these temperature extremes are not the most difficult thing about bicycling."
Likewise, Molina believes there is a safe and sensible (and fashionable) way to stay safe and healthy even in the 105 or higher Central Texas temps that scare away a lot of regular outdoorsy folks.
"It doesn't matter whether you are biking in fire-doused triple digits or in blizzard-ridden sub-zeros; what matters is that in both cases you need to be prepared," she says. "And you learn how to be prepared from the people who ride in these types of conditions every day. As an avid biker, commuting in extreme conditions gives me the opportunity to inspire others by sheer demonstration."
Without taking proper precautions, the sun can absolutely prove harmful or even lethal to bikers, who tend to travel longer distances than runners and stay outdoors longer than other athletes.
But with the right equipment, the requisite level of planning and a good head on your shoulders, both Wald and Molina will tell you that everyone can still enjoy the wind in your hair and the bugs in their teeth on even the hottest days of the year.
"It's a fact that margaritas taste 10 times more delicious after a hot bike ride than they do after lying around the house all day," Molina pontificates. "Hot-weather biking allows you to rejoice in life's simple pleasures and put a healthy, positive spin on the eco-friendly lifestyle."
For all of these reasons, Molina's production company, BikeyMeLikey, is working with Bike Austin to celebrate the Hottest Day of the Year (HDOY) during their annual bike riding and fundraising celebration on Aug 25, which, according to the farmers' almanac, is typically the hottest day of the year.
("There is no way to tell if August 25 will in fact be the hottest day," Molina warns. "However, I do know that August has a 100 percent success rate for being the hottest month of the year. And if it rains? In August? AWESOME!)
The HDOY party begins with an all-ages social bike ride that starts and ends at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop and includes a stop at a public pool along the way. Members of Bike Austin will be present to educate everyone on safety in the heat, and the staff of Mellow Johnny's will provide on-call bicycle maintenance service.
The ride is an opportunity for seasoned Austin bicyclists to share their tips and tricks with one another about how they made it through past summers.
For instance, Wald's recommendations for making the summer ride easier include: staying well-hydrated (but also eating, too), making essential trips in the cooler parts of the day, using sunscreen, wearing clothing that can take in sweat and then dry off quickly, using panniers (bike bags) instead of backpacks, and getting on a bus when you've had enough.
"Cyclists not only share their experiences with each other, they also serve as role models for the folks who shy away from the outdoors in August," adds Molina.
Afterward, the official party portion of the Austin Bike fundraiser party kicks off at Wally Workman Gallery with live music, free drinks and bike-related raffle prizes. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for membership with Bike Austin at a discounted rate.
For those unfamiliar with the swell of support for increasing rights and protections of Austin's bike population, Bike Austin is the organization formerly known as the League of Bicycling Voters. Led by Wald, they remain heavily active in promoting initiatives that encourage safe and easily accessible biking conditions within the city to promote recreation and commuting.
Fundraising from the HDOY party will help Bike Austin with its current slate of initiatives, which includes the continued addition of separate bike lanes on roads and greenways throughout Austin as well as the creation of a bike highway along North Mopac.
Additionally, Wald and Molina point out that Bike Austin is working with developers, building owners and managers, Austin City Council, city staff and others to ensure that more Austin commuters have access to showers and secure bike parking facilities at their workplaces.
"Austin is definitely a bike-friendly city," Molina adds, "especially more so in the last couple of years. In fact, you’ll even start to see a lot more improvements in the ATX bike infrastructure after 2014. There are a ton of projects in the works."
The free social bike ride portion of The Hottest Day of the Year begins at Mellow Johnny's at 2 p.m. and ends in the same location at 5 p.m. Those who participate will receive free entry to the evening's party.
The party begins at 7 p.m. at Wally Workman Gallery. Tickets to the party are $5 for Bike Austin members and $10 for non-members.