Most motorcycle enthusiasts will ride year round especially the ones that consider themselves hardcore biker and even some of the ones that just love to ride no matter what the weather is. Keeping cool while you ride in hot weather is extremely important to your health and wellbeing, which is why we at AMERiders want to give you these tips for staying cool while riding in hot weather. Following these simple tips will help you not to feel like you and your bike are going to burst into flames like the Ghost Rider on a hot summers day.
We all know that riding in the blazing heat can be excruciating at times and if you don’t stay properly hydrated then heatstroke and dehydration can occur. But why do we feel so much hotter when riding, of course, we have a big engine propped right underneath us with little to no buffer between us and it. Couple that with the burning sun and you have a big heat bubble going on. However, there is more science going on than just that big heat bubble going on. Thus, you may feel as I said before like you and your bike are going to burst into flames like the Ghost Rider.
Sweat, what is that all about? Your body has to find a way to regulate the heat and it does so by sweating. As it is released from the body landing on your skin it evaporates thus cooling your body. Evaporation is the main method that sweat uses to cool the body. It works on the principle of “latent heat of vaporization.” Latent heat is the amount of heat absorbed or released when a substance, like water, changes state, such as from liquid to vapor. Thus, as it vaporizes, it pulls heat out of the body, cooling you down.
Warm weather riding gear is important especially if you ride with full protective gear, or ATGATT (all the gear all the time), which is always the best option for safety. Warm weather riding gear is made specifically for riding in warmer weather as it has vents to help you stay cooler. However, no matter how much venting it has when you stop at a red light and are idling in traffic you will begin to sweat no matter what, but once you are moving again that sweat will turn cool and you will be thankful for it. A Light Jacket made from a textile material with venting is great for riding just like the one to the left that we sell at AMERiders.
The reason behind this is simple it is a process called convection. Convection is the transfer of energy by means of moving air that surrounds the body. When the air and the skin are at different temperatures, heat transfer occurs from the place of higher temperature toward the place of lower temperature. This means that when heat is removed from the body during sweating it warms the around it, the wind pulls this air away replacing it with cooler air. this is commonly known as wind chill. When the air temperature is higher than the skin temperature, you will see the opposite effect a sort of reverse wind chill. Traveling at high speeds in high heat, the amount of heat entering the body through convection drastically increases. You might think that wearing more clothes in such heat would be a bad idea, however, the opposite is true. The amount of heat that has to be lost through evaporation, or sweat, also must increase.
When wearing any type of wind breaking material the amount of heat inflicted on the body through convection is dramatically reduced. Thus reducing the amount of heat that your body must lose through evaporation (sweating). See The image above of Balancing body heat to see three scenarios of sweating at high temperatures (103°F).
So for your Tips to keeping cool wear a long-sleeved, and if possible an item that is made from a moisture-wicking material. The moisture-wicking material draws sweat away from the body to be evaporated through the shirt, aiding the cooling process. Conventional materials can simply trap sweat next to the skin, will limit evaporation. The key is airflow. If there is no air movement over the material, then the shirt will become over-saturated, and sweat will not evaporate.
Wetting down can drastically help when the reverse wind chill has kicked in, Some techniques for wetting down include neck bandannas (particularly those with water-absorbing crystals), wetting down a regular cotton t-shirt, or even pouring water directly into your helmet, or over your head.
Ensure that you are always drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated when riding in hot weather. As covered in the above graphic (balancing body heat), the difference between covering up or not is about 20 oz./hour and 40 oz./hour, respectively. Ensure you either wear a camel-back-type water bag or carry extra cooled water bottles in your pack. Caffeine and alcohol are diuretics, which cause you to urinate and lose more water. When it’s hot, steer clear of sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. Also, never drink alcohol directly before or during your ride.
One last tip: Tar snakes are a hazard for both motorized and pedaled two-wheeled vehicles and their riders. Many states use a tar-like material to fill in cracks on the roads; these can become quite slippery when it’s hot. Avoid them if possible. Treat them the same as railroad tracks by crossing them at 90 degrees and in an upright position.
Riding in really hot weather is not bad when you’re prepared for it, ensuring you are hydrated, your skin is covered and you avoid hazards are key and you will have a great ride. Hot weather usually means lots of sun exposure, so investing in some good sunglasses or a darkened visor can help to prevent headaches caused by sun glare. Most importantly and we can’t stress this enough don’t forget to put sunblock on the back of your neck where your riding gear leaves the skin exposed.
Remember above all else to reduce the effects of convection, through covering up and wetting down, and this will reduce the amount of heat that your body must deal with through evaporation. Covering up in the heat will keep you cool although it may not seem like it to your brain, your body will thank you later.
Don’t forget that June 20, 2016, is National Ride to Work Day hop on your bike and rid into work proudly.
And as always….
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders be your stop for tips and information on riding in hot weather.
And as always don’t forget to send us your stories, pictures and events for posting to GALLERY.AMERIDERS @ GMAIL.COM and we will post them for you. The more people that know about your event the better and we are offering free advertising. We would also love to hear about your rides and love to see those bikes so send those stories and pictures.