Much is written about keeping warm and dry on bikes – makes sense given the climate here in the UK – but on the odd occasion the good old British weather does deliver and we get a warm spell.
As sure as rain follows sun, when the temperature does go up none of us ever seem to be properly ready for it. And it can cause just as many problems for us riders as the cold and wet weather can – it is worse in fact, as the dangerous bit, dehydration, can really sneak up on you. Here’s how to keep your cool when the going gets hot.
The obvious place to look at first is your kit –
If neither of those offer quite the level of protection you’re used to, there are also now many more options in vented leathers – both two and one piece. These generally feature perforation in key areas like the chest, and breathable non-leather sections in areas less vulnerable in a fall.
For those who don’t like the idea of having multiple garments cluttering up theirr garage/wardrobe, a good quality four-season touring or adventure-style textile suit offers the best of both – warmth and waterproofing in the winter, but often mesh panel sections and venting, plus removable layers, for the warmer months.
Don’t forget about the peripherals either. Gloves are the obvious one – again they come in fully vented textile options like the Weise Airflow Plus, or perforated leather, like the Alpinestars Mustang V2. Go for a short cuff, for a little extra airflow around the wrists and forearms too.
Have you thought about boots, also? Race boots like Alpinestars Supertech R’s are usually lighter, unlined and will often come with vented/mesh sections and perforation in the leather, but they are expensive – and normally not waterproof.
Another thing to consider is what’s underneath. Cotton T-Shirt? Nope, cotton absorbs up to 10 times its own weight in moisture/perspiration, and that’s not going to be very pleasant when you get where you’re going, is it?
Other things that can help
Also think about your bike; touring screen and a set of handguards? They both do a great job of stopping wind chill in the winter, and will stop that lovely cooling airflow in the summer too, consider taking the handguards off and switching to a smaller, flyscreen.
Feeling flush? Aftermarket cooling mesh seats are available for some models of bike, and if you can’t spring to that an air-filled seat cushion does the same job – and can be soaked in water on really hot days – as well as being super comfy.
Not properly prepared? Here’s a few top tips to help you keep cool out on the road
- Drink plenty of water, and to make sure you don’t start when you’re already dehydrated, hydrate before you set off.
- Fill your water container(s) a third to a half and freeze overnight – or add ice cubes – then top up in the morning so you have a cold drink.
- Alternatively take some sports drinks [not high sugar energy drinks] with you. These contain the minerals and salts etc. in your body loses through perspiration, and they taste a bit more exciting than water.
- Make sure all your vents are open properly: jacket, trousers and helmet. Know where they are so you can operate them on the move.
- Don’t be tempted to ride in just a T-shirt. If you ride in bear flesh, you dehydrate much quicker and you’re at risk of sunburn (never mind road rash should you come off).
- Always try to park in the shade when you stop, and make a point of taking your helmet and jacket off, even during short stops.