Cycling and the extreme UV rays


Morning all,

I would like to start cycling to work again after a long break off the saddle. A few years ago I changed jobs and had a kid which means that my bike has been sat in the garage ever since.

I still have all the gear I need, however the time I ride is now going to be different. When I previously worked at a private elementary school I was out of the door in the morning at around 7am to get to work for 7:30am. I would then finish work at around 4:30pm. This meant that I avoided the harshest of the UV rays.

I now work in a buxiban with the typical afternoon/evening schedule that entails. This means that I leave the house at around noon which is exactly when the UV rays are at their most intense. I have been monitoring the weather for Kaohsiung on my phone over the past couple of days, and everyday the UV index has been around 11–12, or “extreme”.

As I’m from England, I have very pale skin and burn easily. In fact, even after 5 minutes riding a scooter while wearing a jacket I can see that my neck has gone red.

So, what are my options here? I need to do this in order to make exercise part of my life and lose some weight (I’ve gone up from a 30-inch waist to a 34-inch waist trouser size over the past couple of years and my moobs are starting to stick out from my clothing). I also can’t go to the gym as I don’t have the time or money for that.

I have seen some UV protective clothing online. Is this any good? There is also sun screen, but I’m worried that would leave my feeling sticky all day?

Any advice from other fair-skinned riders would be appreciated.



In Kaohsiung weather, UV arm sleeves/leg sleeves will be torture, but they do work. One of my friends rides with them year round (he’s a local) and I have never seen his arms/legs get extremely dark or burnt.

I would consider spending at least 500-600NT on arm sleeves and 600-1000NT on leg sleeves. Sometimes the cheaper ones can loosen and that’s probably the last thing you want if you’re relying on them to block sun. They do not need to be cycling specific items, but it won’t hurt to buy ones that were made for cycling.

I have these leg/arm sleeves, a bit expensive, but I like how they do not loosen after lots of uses like some of the cheaper ones do. They aren’t too thick and quite breathable too. and

For your neck, you could consider buying one of those an all in one “scarfs” ( They do a pretty good job with blocking UV, but you could get toasty.

You can also look into buying sport sunblock. I tried putting on regular lotion(?) sunblock for cycling and it just got sticky and immediately came off when I started sweating. Most of the sport sunblock is spray on and should stay on despite your sweat. There’s not too many options at Watsons and Cosmed, but I have found that Poya has them for roughly 50-70NT cheaper.


I am also very light (not from the UK but my ancestors are) and I don’t ride with any leg or arm covers in the sun like I see many local riders doing. It may be smarter to just do that like @ranlee says, I don’t know, I can’t stand wearing all that stuff and I get hot very easily on the bike.

Personally I just use the Biore sunscreen, it comes in a small blue bottle and is hella expensive, something like NT$100 for that tiny bottle. But, it works great, rubs into your skin fast & completely (no white residue left over), and is available at pretty much every 7-11.

I typically ride very early in the morning so it’s probably only 1 out of 5 rides (e.g. long weekend rides) that I even need to use any.

I think your bigger problem riding midday will be the heat, about eight months of the year.


Wear white cycling-specific arm and leg sleeves, and/or long sleeved tops. Lycra doesn’t really get too hot, if it is stretchy and tight and wicks the sweat away and evaporates.


Yah, I think OP just needs to look into covering up. It may not be comfortable, but it will keep the UV rays at bay.