Similar to riding in the rain or snow, riding under the scorching sun comes with its own set of quandaries which can hugely hamper safety and the overall riding experience. With summer at its peak, here are a few quick checks and tips that can go a long way in helping you stay safe and have another great ride no matter how hot it gets out there!
1. Layer Up - Keep your skin covered at all times, especially if the heat has low humidity and also to reduce water loss from evaporation. Try light mesh clothing for daily commutes but proper textile jackets for long distance riding. Choose light coloured gear than darker shades as black and dark shades absorb the sun's rays and heat up quicker.
2. Get in the shade - Stop frequently to rest and refresh yourself with a drink or water. Try to find shade and cool down.
3. Chill Out - And the best way to do that is to get a cooling vest that keeps the body cool. If it’s too difficult to procure, then wet your t-shirt and pants to keep the body cool. It won’t last for long but relief will be immediate.
4. Stay Hydrated - Most importantly, learn to decode the dehydration signs that your body will give out after riding in the heat. Motorcycle riding is an intense activity and it drains all the water from the rider’s body. Some quick signals of dehydration include fewer amounts of urine, darker coloured urine, fatigue, headache, dizziness and cramps. Best solution for this is to carry a Camelback hydration pack. It stores water and can be used while riding via a small hose with a sipper reaching over the rider’s shoulder. Drink lots of water and fluids throughout the ride and don’t wait to feel thirsty. Make sure you are never out of water because dehydration is a major cause of motorcycle accidents.
5. 'Check Up' time - Before you hit the road, give a thorough check on the motorcycle as well as yourself and your kit. Ideally, make a check list and stick by it! Check for correct maps, ear plugs, tyre condition, oil levels, brakes, chain, etc.
6. Riding blind isn’t a sport - Protect yourself from the sun by wearing sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher for most effective protection from skin-harming UV rays. Sunburns aren’t good when riding!