Riding in Extreme Heat

Summer may seem far off, but it will be here sooner than you expect. Most motorcyclists know how to deal with temperature changes; it goes with the territory. What some might not realize, though, is that the cooling strategies used when the temperature is in the 80s or 90s may be the exact opposite of what is needed above 99 degrees.

Opening up cooling vents or removing clothing is effective only as long as the air temperature is cooler than your internal body temperature. Heat transfers from a hot object to a cold object. The average human body temperature stays below 99 degrees. Up until the air reaches that temperature, your body heat will transfer outwards to the air, cooling you. When the air gets hotter, your body begins to absorb heat.

The long wool robes of desert dwellers consider this fact. Covering up keeps your skin in the shade and insulates your body from warm air. When you are zipped up in full riding gear on a sweltering day, you are definitely going to be hot. However, it is unlikely that your temperature will get much higher than 100 degrees, even in your leather jacket. You may feel sweaty and uncomfortable, but you will be much safer from heat, sun exposure and road rash than you would be uncovered.

Granted, you will need to drink plenty of water, but that is always the case when riding in hot weather. Ideally, you should avoid riding in extreme heat. When this is not an option, make sure to cover up and stay hydrated. Heat stroke leads to motorcycle accidents, and that is the last thing you want.

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