RIDING DIFFERENT BIKES. RACING SOME
It has been warm lately. What did we say? Warm? No, it is bloody hot! Riding a motorcycle in the heat is no easy thing. Maybe you rather leave it be and go to the beach to find some refreshment. Or you do seek that moment to cool off in the little inflatable pool in your backyard. Are you stubborn enough to get on the bike anyway? Then we give you 10 tips for riding a motorcycle in the heat.
Some tips might be a bit cliche. But you might not have thought about a few of the other ones. Choose some that suit you and make riding a motorcycle in the heat a bit more comfortable.
Tip number one is that ultimate cliche. Drink enough when riding a motorcycle in the heat. You probably thought of that too. We are talking about water here, ladies and gents. You could go for a cold Coke every now and then or course, or another drink to your liking. But remember to keep drinking water too. You transpire way more when riding in the heat. So your fluid levels drop. No options to bring some water with you on the bike? Then stop more often to get some water at the gas station, a supermarket or at a cafe.
These days, we have an insane amount of choices when it comes down to motorcycle clothing. And more and more clothing is created for certain special circumstances. For example riding a motorcycle in the heat. Go for a motorcycle jacket that offers great ventilation. It’s often made of mesh or some other perforated material. This way, the wind is able to blow through your jacket. Need an excuse to buy motorcycle clothes? Then ‘riding a motorcycle in the heat’ is a great reason to buy a new outfit.
Be smart when riding a motorcycle in the heat. Avoid riding in the middle of the day, when temperatures rise to a highest point. Often between 12 and 2 pm. You not only avoid the extreme heat, but also lots of cyclists and other road users. No one really enjoys slaloming around cyclists on your favourite twisty road. It’s give and take on the road, but if we can avoid that frustration, then we gladly do so.
So take that bike for a spin in the early morning or in the evening. Set an alarm and get up early, Drink an extra cup of coffee, if that helps. It is worth the effort. You will enjoy the comfortable temperature and the clear roads. Who doesn’t want that?
“But I am wearing full gear?! So why apply sunscreen?” We do hope you wear your gear, even when it is really hot. And that does cover most of your body. But don’t forget your neck. Riding a motorcycle in the heat all day? On a very sunny day? Then there is a big chance you will burn that neck. So apply some sunscreen. Don’t forget to do your face too, when you go for a long lunch break.
Please wear your gear, also when it’s really hot outside. We all know how annoying motorcycle clothing can be when temperatures rise. That sticky feeling of being sweaty in your suit. Especially when it’s not perforated. You hardly get your jacket off during the coffee break. Still, it remains so important to wear your gear and be safe on your bike.
Yes, those shorts, that T-shirt and those flip flops or sneakers keep you cool. But it isn’t worth the risk. The misery when yo do crash dressed like that is way worse than the bit of suffering you do when wearing full gear. Choose to invest in motorcycle clothing that keeps you somewhat cool instead.
Standing still is awful when it is super hot outside. Waiting for traffic lights to turn green seems to take forever. And riding with a slipping clutch through busy city centers or villages filled with tourists is no fun either. So choose a route that avoids those things and allows you to pick up the pace a bit. Do you have the option to ride alongside water? Then that can give you that extra bit of refreshment while riding, due to the cooler breeze.
Do you have the luxury to choose between motorcycle helmets? Then choose the one with the most ventilation options. Or the one that has the lightest colour. Not all of us have the option to choose between helmets. We get that. I myself don’t have that luxury too, so I always wear the same helmet.
Luckily, my X-Lite X-803 RS has different ventilation options to open. Check whether your helmet has them too and open the shafts for a bit of a breeze on your head while riding. Double check if they aren’t blocked by flies, a wasp killed on duty or other insects that could have got caught in them.
Always wanted to ride that forest route? Then this is the time. Riding a motorcycle in the heat becomes more fun when you find some shade to ride int. Avoid riding in open fields and find the shade in a forest area. Don’t have that option? Then you could go for our previously stated option; ride alongside water to find a cool breeze.
You could also get yourself a cooling vest to wear on the bike. A cooling vest – the name says it all – keeps you cool. You fill up the vest with water. The cooling system inside the vest releases teeny bits of moisture while riding. This regulates the vascular system in your body and limits the effects of heat exhaustion. It costs a bit of money (think of approximately €150, but is also very effective.
Keeping your knees against the tank is something you learn on day one of getting your motorcycle license. And we’d advice you to keep doing that. But it can be nice to adjust your riding technique or position for a bit when it is hot outside. And basically sit on your bike like you are a frog. Don’t exaggerate, just keep the knees slightly removed from the tank. The wind will cool down your legs. And you remove your knees from the heat source – being the engine – for a moment.
Many Ducati riders or V4 owners will recognize the issue. The frame of the bike can get so hot when it’s warm outside. My leather suit almost instantly sticks to the frame of my RSV4 after a short ride with 28 degrees Celsius or more. The frame gets that hot. Wearing motorcycle jeans hardly is an option, especially when you keep your knees to the tank all the time. So it’s time to frog!
Riding a motorcycle in the heat is perfectly doable. But there are some factors to consider to make it a bit more comfortable and more fun. The most important tip is the most cliche one; drink enough water. But also wear ventilating motorcycle clothing and a cooling vest.
Try to avoid the peak of the day and find yourself a route that runs alongside water or through a forest. And avoid traffic lights and city centers. Pick a few tips and make them yours. Or go full send and apply them all. Whatever suits you! You’ll notice that riding a motorcycle in the heat will become way more bearable.