Riding in the Heat
Staying properly hydrated is crucial when riding a motorcycle in the heat.
Riding a Motorcycle in the Heat
Staying properly hydrated is crucial when riding in the heat. Start by hydrating well before your ride, and continue to drink water regularly throughout your journey. Consider investing in a hydration pack that fits snugly on your back (ie CamelBak), providing a convenient way to sip water on the go. Avoid excessive consumption of caffeine or sugary beverages, as they can contribute to dehydration. If you stop sweating, drink water immediately, it is a giveaway that you are dehydrated. Drinks with electrolytes can help you recover from dehydration. You can always store an electrolyte packet to add to water in a bookbag or saddlebag.
Dress for the Heat
Choosing the right gear plays a significant role in combating the heat. Opt for lightweight, breathable, and moisture-wicking motorcycle apparel. Look for jackets, pants, and gloves designed specifically for hot weather riding, which offer excellent ventilation and airflow (textile and activewear). Additionally, wear a moisture-wicking base layer to help regulate your body temperature and prevent excessive sweating. Shorts and sleeveless shirts DO NOT offer adequate protection if you were to go down on a motorcycle. Never wear sandals while riding!
Shield Yourself from the Sun
Extended exposure to the sun can be both uncomfortable and harmful. Protect yourself by wearing a helmet with a tinted visor or a quality pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from the glare. Apply a high SPF sunscreen on exposed areas of your skin, and consider using a neck gaiter or bandana soaked in water to keep your neck cool and prevent sunburn. Stopping under a bridge or tree and hanging out in the shade for a minute will help cool you off. Protect your eyes with motorcycle sunglasses or a sun visor attached to your helmet.
Plan Your Ride Wisely
When possible, plan your ride during the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening, to avoid the peak heat. Check weather forecasts to ensure you won’t be caught in extreme heat waves or thunderstorms. Additionally, choose routes that offer shade, such as tree-lined roads, or take breaks in shaded areas. Avoiding congested areas will limit the amount of time sitting in traffic. Lane splitting is not legal in every state.
Stay Cool with Proper Cooling Techniques
Several techniques can help you stay cool during your ride. One effective method is to wear a cooling vest that uses evaporative technology to lower your body temperature. Soak it in water before wearing, and the evaporating moisture will provide a cooling effect. Alternatively, consider using cooling bandanas or neck wraps that can be filled with ice or have built-in cooling gel packs. Leather is a great fabric for protection, but it doesn’t allow much airflow or moisture wicking. Try alternative man-made materials that offer protection with more ventilation.
Stay Alert and Take Regular Breaks
Riding in hot weather can lead to fatigue and reduced concentration. It’s crucial to listen to your body and take regular breaks to rest and cool down. Find shaded spots to pull over, remove your helmet temporarily, and allow your body to cool. During breaks, re-hydrate and replenish electrolytes by consuming beverages designed for re-hydration or snacking on fruits high in water content. Consuming alcohol will dehydrate you and impair your judgment, so it is not recommended.
Maintain Your Motorcycle
Hot weather can place additional stress on your motorcycle. Ensure your bike is in optimal condition by checking the coolant levels and inspecting hoses and belts for signs of wear or damage. Always check to make sure the oil is full. Maintain proper tire pressure and ensure your brakes are functioning correctly. A well-maintained motorcycle is less likely to experience mechanical issues, allowing you to focus on the ride. Motorcycles that have chrome and dark paint can become extremely hot to the touch when parked in the sun. Cover your seat and handlebars with a jacket or towel to keep these cool to the touch.
Ensure a Safe and Enjoyable Ride
Riding a motorcycle in the heat, just like riding in the cold, requires careful preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. By hydrating adequately, wearing suitable gear, protecting yourself from the sun, planning your ride wisely, utilizing cooling techniques, and taking regular breaks, you can beat the heatwave and ride with confidence.
Remember, safety should always be a priority, so listen to your body and adjust your plans accordingly. Stay cool, stay safe, and have an unforgettable summer riding season!