Summer is coming, and as usual, we are here with some tips to help you stay cool during rides on hot summer days. The best way to stay cool is to remain inside an air-conditioned building, but what is the fun in that?
When you’re on a multi-day tour on your motorcycle, sometimes you just have no choice but to ride in hot weather. There are a bunch of things you can do to stay safe. Remember, overheating is dangerous, for your bike and for you. If you ride an air-cooled motorcycle be careful to avoid congested city centers so that you are not stuck in traffic and risking overheating your engine. You can experience heat stress, too, so keep an eye out for things like dizziness, weakness, nausea, and muscle fatigue. Heat can kill you, so take care.
Next, think about what you’re wearing. The best thing to wear is some light-colored gear with full coverage. You might think you would want to wear the least amount of clothing possible but that’s pretty dangerous in a few ways.
Let’s ignore for the purposes of this article the obvious problem with you the hitting pavement, and rocks, or anything else that might come flying at you, with bare skin, and talk about sunburn and dehydration. Constant wind will mask the feeling of sunburn. While your skin is literally being braised by that giant ball of fire in the sky, it’s also being dried out by that very wind. These things are both your enemy in the heat. Mesh riding gear lets enough wind through to cool you off, but covers you up and protects against sunburn, bugs, rocks, and sudden contact with the asphalt.
Stay hydrated! Here’s another tip that sounds like common sense, but staying thoroughly hydrated gives you a defense against heat: your body can manage the temperatures better. Remember, you’re water-cooled. Don’t let your coolant run low.
There are some that wear a backpack-type hydration bladder under their riding gear. Stuff it full of ice and fill it with water, then route the hose up under your helmet (a ninety-degree bite valve helps) and take a sip from it once in a while. Slow, steady hydration works much better than tossing back a whole bottle at stops. Most gas stations that have mini-marts with a soda machine will not charge you for ice and water if you ask nicely, so you can refill two tanks while you’re there. While you’re at it, do not avoid salty snacks, because your body is losing salt while it’s sweating too. Your sodium-potassium pumps need something to work with, and you don’t want to end up with hyponatremia, either. Yeah, I’m making you google those.
Just Like A Swimming Pool
While you’re at the gas station filling one tank and emptying another, take a moment to take your high-tech wicking shirt off, and soak it in the bathroom sink. Make sure it’s good and soaked, wring it out and put it back on. It’s like jumping into a swimming pool!
Now the breeze coming through your mesh gear will cool you off and your body won’t have to work so hard to sweat. Also, you’ve rinsed some of the smelliness out of your shirt.
Ride At Dawn Or Dusk
The best thing to do to beat the heat is not to ride when it’s so hot. I know that sounds obvious and impossible, but staying off the bike during the hottest part of the day can help a lot. If you have places to be, start early and get off the road before it’s a real scorcher. Your favorite weather app can help you out here.
Wooded Roads Are Cool!
The roads you ride can make a big difference during the Summer. Staying on back roads that are shaded by trees is a huge advantage in the heat. Trees absorb heat and keep the sun from heating up the asphalt under you. Temperatures in the wooded shade can be ten degrees cooler than open highways baking in the sun.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
Let AMERiders keep you up to date with Tips to Stay Cool While Riding this Summer.
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