When summer comes around, avid motorcyclists plan their trips across county, state and even country lines in anticipation of the warm weather, excellent road conditions and plenty of opportunities to meet up with other riders. However, riding in the summer also has its fair share of hazards that, fortunately, can be offset by good preparation.
Many riders wear as little clothes as possible when traveling during the summer, which is the exact opposite of what they should be doing. This is because the more skin exposed to the natural elements particularly the dry air and blazing sun, the faster you can become sunburned, dehydrated and fatigued.
Instead, we suggest dressing in appropriate clothing including jackets and pants as well as gloves, scarves and sunglasses/motorcycle goggles. The combination of jackets, pants and scarves will protect your skin from the drying effects of the hot air and sun while the sunglasses or motorcycle goggles will protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Most, if not all, veteran motorcyclists recommend hosing down your clothes including your pants with cool tap water, wearing these articles of clothing next to your skin and then putting on a leather jacket on top. The leather jacket should preferably have vents in it to allow air to circulate inside it, thus, slowing down the evaporative process. You should feel cooler despite the summer heat.
Dressing in layers even in the summer season also has its advantages when traveling to high-altitude areas like the Sierras or the Rockies. The temperature change can be as much as 30 degrees between the flat lands and the mountains, thus, necessitating the layers of clothes. Plus, the thin, dry air in the mountains can easily dehydrate the body, which the layers of clothing can substantially prevent from happening.
Wait for Cooler Temperatures
Obviously, the dry air and sunny heat is your most significant concern when traveling during the summer season. You can suffer from the symptoms of heat stroke including heat cramps, heavy sweating and lightheadedness, among others. We then suggest waiting for cooler temperatures before traveling on your motorcycle. You can travel either late in the day when the sun’s heat is more forgiving especially when you are going west or early in the morning when the sun’s heat is warm, not hot. Plus, traveling in the early mornings means lesser chances for thunderstorms, which can put a damper on your travel plans.
Ensure Gas and Water Supply
Last but not least, you should ensure that your gas and water supplies are sufficient for the trip. You don’t want to push your out-of-gas motorcycle in the summer heat without a tree, gas station and home in sight while also being thirsty for water. At the very least, you can either be hydrated while waiting for rescue to come along or you can ride your motorcycle to the nearest establishment or home for a drink of water.
Of course, you must also ensure that your motorcycle is in good, if not excellent, working condition. Be sure to check your tires, engine and other vital components before traveling into the sunset, so to speak.