You’ve got your helmet on, your bike is waiting, and the open road is calling. There’s one problem: It’s 100 degrees out, and you’re looking at a four-hour drive.
We’re not here to tell you that’s a bad idea, but we’d like to remind you that even the most intrepid riders should take a few precautions before heading out in hot weather.
To stay safe and healthy, you must follow some tips when riding in extreme heat.
How to Stay Healthy When Riding in Summer Heat
Riding a motorcycle in the heat can be a challenging experience, but it’s possible to stay safe and cool.
Here are five tips to keep in mind if you plan to ride a motorcycle during summer.
Always keep a bottle of water with you, especially if your ride is over three hours long. Avoid drinking caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, as they will dehydrate you.
When the sun beats down and the wind is drying out your skin, it will just be a matter of time before you become dehydrated. It will make you feel tired and cranky.
Dehydration can also cause headaches, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness, which are the symptoms of heatstroke. Not exactly what you want when you’re out on a ride.
If you start to feel any of these symptoms, stop riding and find a place to rest and rehydrate.
You could also get muscle cramps. It’s especially true if you’re riding in hot, humid conditions. To avoid cramps, drink plenty of fluids and take breaks often to cool down.
Drinking enough water will also help you stay cool. When you’re sweating, your body loses water and electrolytes. It can lead to heat exhaustion, which can be dangerous.
Also, drink water before you get too thirsty. If you wait until you’re parched, it’s already too late—you’re dehydrated. Carry water with you at all times so you can sip as needed.
If you don’t want to carry a water bottle, travel with a hydration bladder instead. You can drink hands-free and fill up the reservoir whenever needed.
If you’re riding for more than an hour, it’s important to put sunscreen on any exposed skin (including your face).
Sunscreen protects your skin from sunburn, which can be extremely painful. The sun’s UV rays can cause your skin to become dry and cracked, but sunscreen keeps your skin hydrated and healthy.
Prolonged exposure to the sun without the protective layer of sunscreen will cause your skin to wrinkle and age prematurely. Even worse, it can lead to skin cancer in some cases.
So, even if it’s cloudy outside or you’re only planning on going for a short ride, make it a habit every time you drive to slather on some sunscreen first thing. It’ll help protect against skin cancer and severe sunburn. Plus, who wants crow’s feet around the eyes?
Check this one if you want a mineral-based sunscreen in a travel-size pack.
Be mindful of your clothing
You want clothing that will breathe and not trap in heat.
The idea of wearing t-shirts and shorts could be tempting, but they won’t protect you from the scorching sunlight.
On the other hand, leather outfits will only cook you up in extreme heat. If you must wear it, try to find a perforated version or wear something underneath it to wick away sweat.
You will need to find a balance between protective and comfortable outfits. Ventilated jackets and pants seem to be the ideal choice for such conditions. Breathable clothes are designed with unique materials that help keep your body cool by allowing air to flow over your skin as you move around.
Some all-season jackets feel comfortable in both hot and cold weather. They are a little more expensive than regular jackets, but the price is worthwhile if you often ride in summer.
Check this motorcycle jacket for men. With enough ventilation and armors everywhere, it does not compromise airflow and safety.
Wear light colors
If possible, choose your clothes in light, soft colors. The lighter colors reflect the sunlight and help to keep your body temperature down.
Wearing darker colors, however, can absorb the sunlight and make you sweat and feel hotter, leading to health complications. So, if you’re looking to stay cool on a hot day, it’s best to stick to lighter colors.
Of course, you don’t have to wear all white. Any light color will do the trick.
You should always plan your route before hitting the road if it’s a long journey. Note down all spots where you will find shade and water along the way. The last thing you want when you’re feeling hot is to be stuck out in the sun with nothing around for miles.
Avoid driving between noon and 4 p.m. when it’s the hottest.
The sun is at its strongest at midday, which means the pavement is also at its hottest. It can make for a very uncomfortable ride, not to mention dangerous. The last thing you want is to have your tires start to melt because the pavement is too hot.
Ride early in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not as intense, and the pavement is cooler.
Some Quick Tips to Beat the Heat During Summer Riding
- If you start seeing spots or feeling dizzy, pull over immediately to avoid accidents.
- If you have other health conditions (like diabetes), ensure they’re under control before riding your motorcycle in heatwave weather. If necessary, talk with your doctor about what precautions may be required.
- Soak a scarf and wrap it around your neck.
- Use a sweatband. It will keep the sweat from your forehead running down into your eyes.
- Take several breaks in between a long trip. Drink water, eat snacks, and wash your face and neck during those breaks.
Excessive heat is one of the leading causes of weather-related deaths in the United States and the rest of the world. If you ride a motorcycle, you’re at incredibly high risk. Heat can cause dehydration, exhaustion, cramps, nausea, and vomiting. It can also lead to heat stroke or heat exhaustion in severe cases. So, follow our tips to stay healthy when riding in extreme heat.
FAQs about How to Stay Healthy When Riding in Summer
What precautions should you take before summer riding?
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Wear lightweight, breathable clothing made from materials like cotton.
How often should you take breaks when riding in extreme heat?
Plan to take a break every hour or two to give your body time to cool down. Stop to drink water and apply more sunscreen if needed.
How much water should you drink?
It depends on factors like temperature, activity level, etc. But as a guideline, drink at least one bottle (16–20 ounces) of water per hour while riding to prevent dehydration.
What motorcycle gear helps keep you cool?
Mesh riding jacket, mesh riding pants, armored cooling vest under jacket, riding gloves with vents, open-face helmet, tinted visor or goggles, motorcycle boots with airflow vents.
Should I ride if the temperature is over 100 degrees?
It is not recommended. Extreme heat can cause overheating, heat stroke, and medical emergencies while riding. If you must ride, take extreme precautions like those mentioned in the article.
How long can I ride at a time in hot weather?
No longer than 30-60 minutes before taking a break to rest, rehydrate, and let your body cool down. Listen to your body and take more frequent breaks as needed.
How do I recognize heat exhaustion while riding?
Symptoms include heavy sweating, weakness or fatigue, dizziness, headache, nausea, and loss of coordination. Stop riding immediately and get into shade, drink water, and apply cold compresses.
What is the risk of sunburn while riding?
Very high since you’re exposed to the sun’s rays from all angles. In addition to proper clothing and sunscreen, wear a UV-blocking shield, goggles or helmet with UV protection. Reapply sunscreen frequently.