Riders are no stranger to the elements. Life on two wheels means being willing to brave whatever weather we might ride into. In the summer months of grill outs and great motorcycle events, it’s easy to forget the very real danger of heat exhaustion. Check out these five fast tips to make sure you stay cool AND safe!
- Cover Up – It seems counterintuitive, but full breathable coverage actually protects against heat exhaustion. Not only does the sun burn bare skin, but sweat is actually lost faster due to convection, both hiding the symptoms of heat exhaustion and drawing out water more quickly from your body. Opt for cooling vests, wet bandanas, mesh or moisture wicking materials, and resist the urge to peel off those layers!
- Avoid Caffeine – One of the symptoms of heat exhaustion is fatigue. Unfortunately, all forms of caffeine are a diuretic, which will only worsen the problem. Opt for water, then more water, then add some water to it. Electrolyte sources like Pedialyte or energy drinks are also good for supplementing your water intake.
- More Lotion – It might seem like a great time to work on your tan, but getting burned on your bike is a bad idea. Faces, necks, lips, hands and even skin through clothing are all vulnerable to being burned. Sunburns will raise your body temperature, accelerate dehydration and can dramatically increase the risk of skin cancer.
- Even More Water – Prehydrating the day beforehand is a seriously helpful step as well, if you can manage it. Avoid alcohol, get plenty of rest and pack more water than you think you need.
- Rest and Recover – Be aware of the warning signs of heat exhaustion: dizziness, nausea, fatigue, clammy skin, a rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating, muscle cramps and confusion. Take more frequent breaks than you normally do, wet down your clothes if you can and try to find some AC. If heat exhaustion symptoms don’t improve within roughly 10 minutes, seek medical attention.
Dehydration, heat exhaustion and even heat stroke are very real risks of summer riding. Radiating heat from both the asphalt and your bike can combine to create a dangerous situation faster than we often expect. Be sure you keep the symptoms of heat exhaustion in mind at all times, and if necessary, just put away the bike so that you can ride another day.