There aren’t many things better than a summertime cruise on the bike after a long and sometimes glum winter. Here are our tips for riding smarter in the heat, not sweatier.
Summertime and the weather’s fine. It’s a great time for a ride, but it’s important to be savvy when hitting the road as the sun beats down. No matter how fit you are – or how experienced – if you don’t respect the heat, you’ll be a sweaty mess faster than a tyre change at the Isle of Man TT.
With this in mind, we’ve put together five ways to make your summer ride better so you’re sure to be riding smarter and safer, not sweatier.
- Time your rideTemperatures reach their peak with the peak of the day, so if you can, avoid the roads during this prime heat time. If you can, either set out early and catch a fantastic sunrise while the rest of the world is still snoozing, or leave your run until the afternoon or the cool of the evening. That way you’ll avoid dissolving into a pool of sweat and catch some of the most stunning times of the day.
- Know the signsHot is not good. It dehydrates the brain and makes it work not so good. Fast bike + slow brain = bad things. In warmer than usual weather, the body loses fluids at a higher rate which can lead to dehydration and eventually heat stroke or exhaustion.Your body is clever and will send you signals that it’s not dealing with the toasty conditions so it’s important to keep an eye out for them. These signs include cramps, nausea, headaches, flushed or pale skin, dizziness and really heavy sweating. Notice these signs early, and you’ll prevent your joyful bike ride turning dangerous. The solution is to drink heaps of water before you hit the road, as well as when you pull over for sore butt breaks.
- Get the right gear It might seem counterintuitive to cover yourself up in the warm, but the more skin on show the harder it’s going to be to stay cool. While we’ll never dispute that leathers will protect you better in a crash, fully armoured leathers are possibly overkill as the heat turns up. But if you’re smart with your gear you’ll stay comfortable and dry on your motorbike all ride long.First, you’d be clever to throw on a base layer made from moisture wicking fabric. This will carry sweat away from your skin and keep you feeling fresh and dry. Most are also anti-bacterial, so you’ll stay easy on the nose as you clock up the k’s. You can find base layers from most good gear retailers.Other gear we’d highly recommend in these conditions includes a mesh or ventilated jacket, Kevlar reinforced jeans and a cooling vest. Mesh gear allows air to flow over your skin and evaporate, keeping you cooler and Kevlar jeans will let in way more air than your full leathers. Finally, a cooling vest can be soaked in water, wrung out, and then worn under your ventilated jacket.
- Ventilate your headJust as vents in your jacket will mean sweat-free bliss, ventilating your noggin is going to make you equally happy. While we recommend riding in a full face helmet for ultimate safety, this doesn’t mean you have to be reduced to a hot, sweaty mess: it’s all about the helmet choice.Any racing oriented helmet will tend to have excellent air flow due to its large vents, but these can tend to be on the pricey side. If you don’t want to splash out on multiple helmets, look for a fully featured one with excellent airflow and retractable vents.Proper riding gear is important for safety, but don’t forget to also get yourself the best cover with motorcycle insurance. If you’re riding on asphalt or riding your dirt bike, we help you find the best solution for your needs.
- Stop off and cool itOne of the best ways to take care of yourself on a summertime ride is taking regular stops to get out of the sun and into a cooler environment. A quick pit stop can give you extra energy even in the most ferocious heat, so plan your ride along roads with multiple service stations or café stops. Since you’re drinking more water than usual, you’re probably going to need to stop more often anyway…
As the mercury rises, getting on the bike for a ride can be challenging. With these tips you’ll be cruising across the long summer days with the wind on your face and the sun on your back.
Happy summer cruising.