Summer is in full swing, and we all want to get as much saddle time as we can. However, riding in extreme heat can be fatiguing, and it’s important to stay cool and hydrated throughout your ride to make sure you are safe.
Here are 7 Ways to Beat the Heat While Riding:
Carry a Water Bladder
Even if you don’t like riding with a backpack, consider getting a small backpack for water…and sip often! There are very small and light water packs available on the market, and you can fill the bladder with ice to keep the water cool and refreshing throughout the ride. Sipping water regularly helps you stay hydrated (which helps your body cool itself) as you are riding, and you don’t need to stop frequently to drink. You can refill the ice in your pack at almost any gas station or restaurant, usually for free.
If you normally wear a cotton T-shirt or a shirt underneath your riding gear, replace it with a moisture-wicking base layer instead. Available at any outdoor gear or motorcycle gear shops, these ultra-light, breathable, moisture-wicking base layer shirts and pants help cool your body down, absorb moisture, and make you feel more comfortable during the ride. If you are headed somewhere where the temperatures get extremely hot, consider adding a cooling vest to your summer riding outfit, or simply wet your base layer before putting the riding jacket on.
Mesh instead of GoreTex
If you are riding through extremely intense heat, perhaps it’s time to swap out your heavy-duty adventure riding suit or leathers for lighter gear with lots of mesh fabric. As the motorcycle safety gear technology advances by leaps and bounds, mesh jackets and pants now offer good protection, and the mesh fabric will allow for better breathability and ventilation.
It may be tempting to simply hit the road in your jeans and a T-shirt if it’s very hot outside. However, not only this is not safe, but also you risk sunburn in your short sleeves. With so many lightweight and breathable gear options now available, you can stay cool throughout your ride without compromising safety and protection.
Ease Off the Coffee
Drinking coffee often makes your body expel water quicker, which may lead to dehydration. On a hot day, swap that cup of coffee for a coconut water drink or a natural energizer like iced matcha green tea, a protein shake, or berry juice. If you can’t live without coffee and caffeine, consider adding some electrolytes to your water to make sure you are properly hydrating. (Pro Tip from Alisa: I travel with a small jar of Celtic Sea Salt, which is lightweight, easy to carry, doesn’t go bad, and has the perfect balance of minerals a body needs. I also bring Emergen-C on all the tours I lead because not everyone likes the salty-tasting water.)
If you are on a long road trip, gas station snacks and fast food may be on your menu. However, heavily processed foods can lead to sudden sugar crashes, make you feel too full and sleepy, and sap your energy. Pre-plan and carry some light snacks instead: pack some apples, carrot sticks and hummus, nuts or trail mix, and snack healthy to prevent fatigue and drowsiness in the heat.
If the temperatures are extreme, make sure you stop often and rest in the shade or an air-conditioned gas station or roadside café. If you are sensitive to heat, it’s important to give your body a break every hour or so, to rest, cool down, and hit the road again with a refreshed body and mind.
Note from Alisa: One side effect of extreme heat for me personally is I get that lazy attitude where I don’t care about a thing…I don’t care about stopping, drinking, getting gas, anything. I’ve learned (the hard way!) that it means I am overheated and need to stop, which is hard to do because I literally don’t care about discomfort, thirst, or anything! It’s a sure sign for me that I need to stop and get off the bike and get refreshed.
What are your favorite ways to beat the heat while riding? Let me know in the comments below!