You don’t have to sacrifice your safety for comfort on hot weather days.
by Anne DT
My husband often jokes that the range of outside air temperatures where I enjoy riding my motorcycle the most is from 21.5C (70.7F) to 23.9C (75.02F). Anything above that range and I’m too hot and below that and I get too cold. While most riders are probably far more tolerant to changes in climate than myself, I have been able to learn lots about keeping warm and or cool on the bike when the temperatures are extreme. Today I want to share some great ways I’ve learned to keep staying cool on a motorcycle, while most importantly keeping yourself well protected from road rash no matter how hot the weather.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke
What is heat stroke? Web MD defines heat stroke as…
Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures — usually in combination with dehydration — which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system.
If we wish to make a strategy to avoid heat stroke while riding our motorcycle, then we must focus on both staying cool and hydrated. This sometimes requires a little planning, however what we are really doing is building good habits that will keep us healthy and protected whenever we jump on our motorcycle during the hot weather months.
1. Staying cool…
a) We’ve written about this before but if you haven’t seem the articles, read about mesh gear, perforated leather suits, kevlar jeans, and any other good quality motorcycle protective gear designed for hot weather, then order up. Besides giving you good protection, riding with your skin covered by mesh/leather will ensure you avoid sunburn along with road rash.
b) Open the vents in your helmet, open your visors pinlock, and open all the vents on the jacket that you own.
c) If you have a fixed mount windscreen, consider riding with it in a lower position, or switching to a shorter shield so that you get more airflow over your body.
d) To prevent perspiration do not wear lose-fitting underwear but the kind that is in contact with your body. The material will act as a wick on your skin. Under Armour has some great clothes available to wear under your protective gear and Halo Halo sell some helmet liners that will help you stay cool on your ride.
Cooling Chilly Pad Towel
This is a cheap (<$15) bit of kit that can really help you stay cool on long rides in warm temperatures. When the towel is wet it becomes a lot colder than the outside air. Wear it around your neck or store it in a Ziploc bag and cool down your face at a stop. It will cool you down for up to four hours. When the cooling effect stops, simply add more water. This towel is machine washable. I keep a small squirt bottle of water in my tank bag that I use at stop lights to re-wet.
Chill-Its Evaporative Cooling Vest
‘Charge’ the cooling vest by soaking it in water for a couple of minutes before heading out for a ride. Wear it under your motorcycle jacket to cool you down for up to four hours. This vest is a life saver in stop and go traffic. Yes, it will get your T-shirt wet, but who cares when it is boiling hot in the sun? For riders in hot climates like Florida, or Arizona, this may end up being the best $35 you could spend this year.
2. Finally remember to Stay Hydrated…
They say if you are feeling thirsty you are already dehydrated. The best way to avoid dehydration is to take the preventative approach.
Try to avoid riding in the middle of the day when the heat is the worst. If you need to ride at the hottest time of day then it is a good idea to drink some sports drinks like Gatorade to replace the electrolytes that you lose when you sweat. What I like to do is freeze a water bottle 1/3 full the night before a ride. Before I head out I will top it up with water and it will stay cool for the day.
Camelbak Hydration Pack
The Camelbak Hydration Pack is perfect for the long-distance rider. The mouthpiece allows you to have a sip of water without having to pull over. The backpack is full of water and the material used is the same as for waterbeds. The backpack also has ample storage space and a surprisingly amount of pockets for keys, phone etc. For a touring rider who wants to keep covering serious miles without stopping to pull over, a Camelbak is a wise investment. Now the only reason to pull over will be to relieve yourself. Ultra-hardcore riders who refuse to get off the bike when nature calls can always click here.
What do you do to stay hydrated and cool on your motorcycle? Add your tips and ideas to fellow riders in the comment section below.