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Top 9 Tips for Motorcycle Riding in Hot Weather

As the weather warms up in the spring and summer, enjoying outdoor activities can become more challenging. When the temperature hits triple digits and you can feel the sweat drip from your nose, finding ways to cool down is essential.

The breeze felt on a motorcycle can help provide some relief, but riding in hot weather requires a strategic approach to ensure happy and healthy journeys. Neglecting to prepare for these conditions may lead to dehydration, sunburn and heat exhaustion.

This guide discusses our top tips for beating the heat on two wheels. With our help, creating a game plan will keep your summer rides safe!

Stay Hydrated

Inarguably, the most important part of combating extreme heat conditions is to keep yourself sufficiently hydrated. Sweating during long rides depletes the water and electrolytes in your body. Failing to replace what’s lost can lead to severe dehydration, which can be very dangerous while on the road. You may start to feel dizzy, fatigued, irritable and confused.

Drink plenty of water before you head out for summer rides. Just don’t chug a bunch beforehand and think you’re good to go for hours. It’s a great idea to stop and sip on some water in 30-minute intervals while out on the road.

To accomplish this on longer trips, you’ll need some storage. Regardless of the type of motorcycle you ride, choose saddlebags that will have proper space for your hydration needs. Not bringing any water or electrolyte drinks on a long summer ride is a recipe for dehydration.

Wear Appropriate Gear

Choosing the right gear to wear during warm weather will not only keep your body in better shape, but vastly increase the enjoyment of your rides.

Mesh jackets and other mesh gear are typically recommended for riding in the hot summers. They can be helpful in keeping you cool, but will come at a large cost in the protection department. Many mesh jackets and pants do not always hold up well in the event of an accident.

Textile gear with proper ventilation is the way to go when aiming to maximize comfort and safety. Many textile jackets may actually keep you cooler than mesh jackets. Although the mesh usually provides more airflow, this may cause your sweat to evaporate too quickly and raise your body temperature.

It’s still important to cover as much exposed skin as possible, even in hot weather. You may see riders wearing t-shirts and shorts on summer rides, but this is irresponsible and unsafe. A riding jacket and pants not only keep you safe during possible collisions, but will also keep you from becoming sunburnt and dehydrated.

Choose Light Colored Gear

The materials and quality are the most important choices you’ll make about your riding gear. Not far behind, however, is the color of this equipment.

Black motorcycle jackets are the most popular color in the riding community. And for good reason — they look sleek! They work great in cool climates, but this is the last color you want in hot weather because it attracts and absorbs heat.

If you’re aiming for a neutral color, light gray and light brown work much better than black. However, lighter colors will help with heat absorption even more.

Taking it one step further, reflective gear can be helpful in the summer. It’s an obvious choice for nighttime rides because it will keep you visible to drivers on the road. But even in the daytime heat, it is supportive in reflecting the sun’s rays off of you.

Consider a Cooling Vest

Depending on the climate and length of your summer ride, a cooling vest can go from a luxury to a necessity in a hurry. In coordination with proper riding gear, it can do a masterful job at regulating your body temperature.

Cooling vests are designed to be worn under a riding jacket. They absorb the excess sweat under your gear. This helps draw the heat away from your body to keep you cool.

Many of these vests are designed to be soaked before you put them on. Consider tossing the vest in a bucket of cold water before you head out for your ride. This will help keep the vest, and you, cooler for an extended period of time.

Wear a Breathable Helmet

Novices may think that the proper motorcycle helmet for summer riding is the one that leaves most of your face open. These can help provide some relief in sweltering heat. However, just like mesh gear, there is a big safety sacrifice that comes along with open face and half helmets.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Full-face helmets offer the most protection, but offer less airflow than other options. Modular helmets are often a good compromise. They typically cover most of what a full version does, but with the added ability to flip open the face area to increase airflow.

Regardless of the type of helmet you choose, there are some universal qualities you’ll want to look for in a summer helmet. A moisture-wicking interior is a great place to start. Preferably, one that can be removed and washed often. This will help draw the sweat away from your skin as well as prevent moisture buildup that could hinder your visibility.

Ventilation may be the most important aspect when it comes to choosing your hot-weather helmet. Many helmets will feature intake vents at the front. These are great to have, but check out the rear of the helmet as well. Exhaust vents are also important because they help filter out warm air and moisture from the back of your head.

You’ll want to make sure the helmet you choose offers some protection from the sun. If your helmet does not offer a sun shield or proper visor, see to it that you secure adequate eyewear. Polarized sunglasses are highly recommended for sunny daytime riding.

For more assistance with choosing security for your head, check out our top tips for choosing a motorcycle helmet.

Apply Sunscreen

If you’ve followed our advice to this point, this step should be a quick one. Despite wearing all of your riding gear and helmet, you will likely still have some portions of exposed skin.

It’s important to cover any exposed skin with sunscreen while riding. Look for options that are both high in SPF and water resistant. A high quality sunscreen will both do a better job at protecting you and last longer between applications.

Be sure not to neglect places like your face, the front and back of your neck, and the top of your wrists.

Take Regular Breaks

Going for long motorcycle rides can be draining no matter the climate or conditions. In hot weather, it can be extremely exhausting.

Even when preparing and executing plans correctly when it comes to high heat, be sure to stop and collect yourself every so often. Just taking a break from the act of riding your motorcycle can help combat fatigue, but there are plenty of things you can do during your stops to help cool down and regain your energy.

First, it gives you the opportunity to take your helmet and some of your other gear off. Although it’s important to always wear while riding, gear can heat you up after a while. Taking a few minutes to enjoy the breeze on your face and torso can help cool you down.

This is also the perfect time to hydrate. Replenishing what you lost with water and electrolytes will boost both your spirit and your stamina. As you stop to hydrate, consider packing some energy-rich foods as well. Fruits, nuts and vegetables work great for this. Aim to avoid fast food and other foods that may be high in sodium.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to throw on more sunscreen before getting back on the road!

Monitor Weather Conditions

Looking at your local forecast before hitting the road on your motorcycle will help improve the quality of your trip. Monitoring the temperature and humidity levels will assist you in choosing the proper gear for the current ride as well as emphasize the need to stay hydrated.

Tire grip can also be affected in seasons with warmer weather. High temperatures can affect both the surface you ride on as well as your tires directly. Road surfaces may become slick, and your tire pressure can increase. These can affect your traction while on the road, so be sure to adjust your riding style if the ride gets too slippery.

Intense sunlight can cause glares, and extreme warmth can create heat haze. Both of these can have a major impact on visibility. It’s important to always ride with proper eye protection, such as polarized sunglasses, but being aware of these possible situations can help improve your summer rides.

It should be noted that seasons with warm weather typically come with a bit of rain. Although it may feel refreshing in the heat, riding can quickly become unsafe in wet weather. Avoid riding in windows that bring steady rain.

Plan Your Route

Along with checking the forecast, planning out your motorcycle trip can be advantageous in the heat.

After taking a look at the upcoming weather, you can avoid any possible rain in some areas on your route. This will also help you plan your ride around the coolest parts of the day.

In addition to weather-related planning, mapping out your path beforehand can help you avoid congested areas. Roads with high traffic will increase your idle time on the motorcycle, reducing the wind and making you warmer. Plus, it’s no fun to just sit on your motorcycle in the middle of traffic.

Marking a trail prior to setting out gives you the opportunity to pick a course that offers some shade. Reducing direct exposure to the sunlight for your entire ride can reduce the risk of heat exhaustion and sunburn.

Having a plan also makes it easier to identify possible stops along the way. At minimum, you will need to stop several times to hydrate on longer trips. If you do not pack sufficient water, you will need to find water sources to refill along the way. Knowing where you can stop to use the restroom, catch some shade or grab some food will also make the journey less stressful.

Conclusion

Riding a motorcycle in hot weather can be very enjoyable if done with the right preparation and mindset. You can be sure that your ride will be both safe and exciting by following these tips.

Listen to your body and take a break if you don’t feel right. Never push through and think it’s weak to take a breather in extreme weather. Riding while fatigued and dehydrated is very dangerous.

Do you have any tips to beat the heat that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know!

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