Clear summer skies can be the opportune time to fire up the bike and go for a long ride. Those sunny days can be deceptive, however, as rising temperatures can take their toll on your body, putting you at risk for injury or worse. With that in mind, here are 8 tips that we at Ruhnke’s Xtreme Cycles have put together to keep you riding with your head held high, even in the middle of July.
Drink Lots of Water (All the Time)
If you’re riding and you start feeling thirsty, guess what — you’re already dehydrated. The best way to avoid dehydration and the side effects that go along with it is to drink water in smaller amounts regularly. There are some fantastic products available at your local motorcycle store, such as water-storing backpacks that feature a tube-like straw that you can fasten to your coat for easy access. Remember, dehydration can lead to heat exhaustion, and that’s not a condition you want to find yourself in while you’re trying to ride a motorcycle down the highway.
Skip the Caffeine
While the scientific aspects of the effects of caffeine on your hydration levels are often debated, it’s generally accepted that consuming a lot of the drug in coffee or sodas can leave you feeling thirstier than if you’d just been faithful with drinking lots of water. The boost to your alertness levels after drinking caffeine may help for a while, but in the long run, drinking water is going to help keep your body in a much healthier state than soda or coffee ever could. It should also be obvious, but whatever you do, don’t drink alcohol before or during a ride. Even consuming too much alcohol when the day is done can leave you dehydrated and hungover the next day, starting off on the wrong foot.
When your body sweats, it’s trying to cool itself through the natural effect of evaporation. Your body is able to take the fullest advantage of this natural process when you allow for adequate ventilation. There are great riding jackets, pants, and helmet options available with vents to facilitate airflow. You’ll be thanking yourself when you don’t feel like a wrapped up Christmas ham in the summer sun.
Resist the Temptation to Wear Less
When it’s a scorcher, your first reaction may be to decrease the amount of protective gear you wear — we cannot recommend this! Your safety should be your first priority. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t stay cool and also be fully covered. Once again, we’ll point you towards nicely meshed, full-coverage protective wear.
Use the Science of Evaporation
You can use modern apparel to enhance your body’s natural cooling system. Evaporative articles of clothing, like cooling vests and cooling neck-wraps, are often filled with water-absorbing materials that super-charge the positive effects of sweating (staying cool) without getting drenched.
If you’re looking at the weather forecast and you know that where you’re riding is supposed to be like an oven between noon and 5 pm, do yourself a favor and get an early start. Avoid riding during the hottest part of the day by doing some sight-seeing, catching a movie, or just taking an extended afternoon siesta.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
When it’s a billion degrees in the shade, there’s no shame in taking breaks more often during your ride. If you haven’t invested in a hydrating water pack, frequent stops and breaks will allow you to get some much-need hydration and give your body a chance to relax, get some blood flowing, and stretch. Additionally, use some common sense! Listen to what your body is telling you, and if that means that a big, tough guy like you needs to take a day off, take a day off. Find a watering hole, see some local sites, expand your knowledge of regional ice cream parlors. That’s a much better solution than getting heat exhaustion.
Contact Ruhnke’s Before You Go!
Make sure your bike is good to go before your ride by contacting us today! Talk to you soon, and happy riding!