Summer Motorcycle Riding Tips

Posted by at 2 July 2019, at 08 : 13 AM

Summer Motorcycle Riding Tips

Summer is the perfect time to get out on the open road, but it can bring some challenging road conditions with it. Whilst you may be eager to get out and enjoy the sun, it’s important to prepare for the climate and conditions you’ll be riding is. With some basic prep and precautions, you can minimize the risk of accidents occurring and stay safe on the road.

1. Wear safety gear

The idea of zipping through the heat and cooling off in shorts and a t-shirt might seem like a great idea…but in reality, it’s extremely dangerous. Accidents on the road can cause injuries to everyone, but if you aren’t wearing safety gear you’re likely to suffer far more serious injuries. As well as wearing a helmet at all times, you should be wearing gloves, a riding jacket, and appropriate pants. In general, the more safety gear you wear the better, so don’t be tempted to discard it just because the sun is out.

Furthermore, switching your safety gear for regular clothes isn’t going to make you any cooler. Studies have shown that when you’re moving through hot air at speed, like when you’re on a motorcycle, you sweat more because the air pulls heat from your body. Wearing your safety gear will actually give you protection from the heat, and it will keep you safer on the roads too.

2. Have a summer maintenance schedule

Keeping your bike in tip-top condition means making subtle changes throughout the year. When summer is approaching, it’s vital to check that filters, lubricants, and fluids aren’t running low. Keeping fluids topped up will help to keep the engine running efficiently, and can minimize the risk of breakdowns too. Similarly, make regular checks to ensure your air filter is cleaned. If air can’t circulate properly, the engine will overheat more quickly and you’ll be more likely to break down.

A well-maintained bike can be far safer to ride, so taking the time to perform summer maintenance checks could help to reduce accidents on the road too. If you’re heading off on a long road trip, make sure you’ve got sufficient supplies with you, so you can top up fluid and lubricants as and when they’re needed.

3. Stay hydrated

Whenever you’re out and about in the sun, you need to drink plenty of water to ensure you stay hydrated. When you’re riding your bike, however, it can be easy to forget about taking regular drinks. Whilst you’ll need to pull over somewhere safe to ensure you can rehydrate, it’s well worth doing so.

As well as taking plenty of water with you, you may want to consider using rehydration salts or drinks too. When you sweat, your body can lose essential minerals, so keeping these topped up can help to prevent you from becoming dehydrated. On longer trips, the risk of dehydration increases, so it’s important to pack water and rehydration packs to keep you going.

4. Wear summer gear

Whenever you’re riding, you should wear appropriate safety gear, and this applies to the summer too. However, there is safety gear which has been specifically designed for use in hot climates. If you want to stay cool while you’re riding, investing in some dedicated summer safety gear could be a good investment. Textiles which incorporate mesh are ideal for summer riding, because the added ventilation allows your body to cool down sufficiently. There are jackets, pants, and gloves all made for use in the summer, so make the most of the advanced technology the incorporate and stay cool while you’re riding. Summer gloves, in particular, are known to have better air circulation than winter gear, and this can help to reduce sweat and will keep you more comfortable.

As well as using summer safety gear, you may want to opt for alternative clothing underneath. There are many brands which offer performance gear or athletic clothing, and this can help to keep you cool while you’re on your bike. By wicking away sweat from the skin, these materials are adept at minimizing heat, so there’s no need to be uncomfortable when you’re riding this summer.

Summer Motorcycle Riding Tips

5. Identify summer hazards

All road users need to be aware of potential hazards, and predicting the unexpected should become second-nature. However, as temperatures change, the potential hazards alter too. High temperatures can have an impact on the road surface, for example, so new bumps and cracks could appear. Even if you’re riding on familiar roads, remember that the sun could have damaged them, and this means you may need to change how you need to approach them.

In addition to this, many companies and governmental organizations wait until summer to perform maintenance on the roads. As their work is less likely to be negatively impacted by the rain, summer is the perfect time for them to dig up the roads and perform essential maintenance. Of course, this can lead to congestion and more traffic on the roads, so beware of extra stop signs and traffic lights.

Furthermore, children and animals are more likely to be out in the summer, so you’ll need to take this into consideration too. Wild animals may be more likely to appear out of nowhere, and children may be out playing and could wander into the road. Although younger children should always be supervised, it only takes a second for them to disappear out of sight. Bear in mind that usually deserted areas, such as fields or woodland, can make the perfect play area for kids in the summer, so go slow through these areas and be prepared to stop at any time.

6. Take a midday break

The sun tends to be at its hottest during midday to around 5 pm, so you may need to stay off the road during these hours. When the sun is at its most intense, you’re more likely to suffer from dehydration or heatstroke, so taking a break and getting out of the sun can be a good idea. If you’re planning a road trip, try and schedule your riding so that you’ll be traveling in the morning and evenings, and use the afternoons to relax or explore new destinations.

7. Know where to get help

If something does go wrong, you’ll need to be able to access assistance. If there are accidents on the road, for example, you may need emergency medical help and you’ll want to let your loved ones know too. Keep your cell phone fully charged and write your loved one’s contact details down and put them somewhere safe, so that they can be contacted in the event of an accident. In addition to this, it’s a good idea to make a note of garages and mechanics, particularly if you’re taking a long trip. If your bike breaks down or you need to get a part replaced, knowing where to go could save you time and money. Similarly, knowing how to get legal help or advice following accidents on the road is always advantageous, particularly if you want to obtain compensation for any injuries you’ve sustained.

8. Prepare for rain

Yes, really! The sun may beat down from May until August, but as soon as you’re out on the open road, things can change in an instant. Just because it’s summer, it doesn’t mean there won’t be rain, so take your rain gear with you whenever you travel. Thin rain gear can easily be rolled up and stored in saddlebags, so it’s always worth keeping it with you. In addition to this, you’ll need to beware of potential post-rain hazards.

Although rain can always make the road surface more slippery, if it rains following a long period of drought or sun, the roads may be more slippery than you realize. Similarly, puddles may appear out of nowhere and oil slicks may be apparent on the roads, so take time to note the changing weather conditions and how they could affect your riding conditions.

9. Recognize heat exhaustion

Riding for too long when it’s hot can sometimes lead to heat exhaustion. Learning to recognize the early symptoms of heat exhaustion could give you enough time to get off the road to rehydrate before you become seriously ill. When people are developing heat exhaustion, they may notice the following symptoms:

Tiredness or fatigue
Excess sweating
Fast heartbeat
Muscle cramps

If you’re overheated it can affect your performance on the road, which makes riding dangerous for you and other road users. Recognizing the symptoms of heat exhaustion ensures you’re able to take action before you fall ill.

10. Schedule regular stops

Long trips should always include regular stops, but you may need to plan stops during even relatively short trips when the temperature rises. Try not to ride for longer than around 45 minutes in the heat, and make sure you rehydrate and grab something to eat when you stop. Regular breaks give you a chance to refuel, both you and your bike, and you’ll also have the chance to give your bike a once-over and perform any necessary maintenance checks. With the right amount of prep and planning, you can increase your riding time this summer and reduce the risk of accidents.

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