Summertime is when the riding is easy – with amazing weather and adventure vibes to compliment the freedom of the open road, summer is our favorite season for hitting the open road. Whether you’re on an extended vacation, a weekend away, or a local day trip, there’s something for every type of motorcycle rider. The only thing that can ruin the fun of summer motorcycle riding is hitting a few pitfalls, so we’ve put together this 10-tip pre-trip guide to get you set up for cruising.
7 Top Tips for Motorcycle Rides in the Summer
- Maintain your motorcycle for summer
Heat and cold will have varying effects on different types of bikes, so as the seasons change, you should be properly tuning and adjusting your motorcycle. To begin with, you should always make sure that your fluids are topped off and the radiator is clean. Your tires need to have a good amount of tread and be properly inflated, as the heat can make them perform worse or even pop if these aren’t properly calibrated. Finally, make sure to ask a mechanic or someone with significant expertise if your make or model of bike has been known to have heat-related issues and how to mitigate them.
- Wear Full-Coverage Appropriate Gear
You should never be without proper full-coverage riding gear, but we always advise having a summer set and a winter set. Wearing gear that is made from breathable material such as mesh can help, as well as wearing a helmet that has vents to circulate air. Similarly, if your gear is moisture-wicking or absorbent, it can help keep your body cool as you sweat a bit during the ride. The theme remains the same for these first tips: enjoy the sun but don’t let its effects cut your ride short.
This could just as easily be a life tip that extends into motorcycle riding, but it’s especially important when you’re putting in the miles during the summer heat. When you’re wearing proper gear and working up a sweat maneuvering your bike over the road, you can get dehydrated quickly. The last thing you want is to cut a trip short due to heatstroke, dizziness, or headaches.
We recommend carrying a hydration pack that you can sip while riding, as well as having a spare water bottle in your pack. Avoiding soda and energy drinks (which dehydrate you via sugar and chemicals) can also prevent the ill effects of the heat as you will be drinking more actual water without those as substitutes.
- Take Frequent Breaks
This is a tip we would highly recommend for most motorcycle adventures anyway, but it becomes especially important during the hotter months. Stretching your legs to get blood flow, giving yourself a chance to rehydrate, and getting some fresh air can do wonders for the quality of a ride while preserving your health and stamina. Besides, we would hope that on your day trips or cross-country treks you’re planning to hit as many scenic pull-offs, delicious diners, and quality sightseeing opportunities as possible.
- Shade Your Eyes as Well
The intense summer sun can do a number on your visibility as well as even damage your eyes if they are not properly protected. Tinted visors or sunglasses can help to mitigate these issues – though we still advise using caution as you corner while going westward towards the sun. The summer weather conditions are sneaky in that they aren’t oppressive from the moment you set out on your journey, but they get you with repeated exposure. Thus, look for the easiest ways to take care of the most dangerous summer riding conditions.
- Wear Base Layers or Cooling Gear
Two great forms of heat control are wearing wicking base layers and/or cooling vests and wraps. The base layer will keep you cool by providing light compression for better circulation, which will increase your evaporative cooling. An evaporative vest or neck wrap can be soaked in water and it will evaporate over the course of a ride without making a mess of the rest of your gear. We highly recommend any or all of these mechanisms to add an extra element of heat protection.
- Plan your Rides at the Right Time
There may be some days or parts of long trips where you can’t avoid the sun at its highest point. However, for most day trips or the majority of motorcycle rides, you can check the weather forecast and plot your day accordingly. We recommend getting up early, hydrating, and starting your trip while planning breaks around the noon to five pm portion of a ride if possible.
These tips, along with other routine health and safety tips for riding a motorcycle will keep you riding through the summer and into your next set of adventures. The open road is the greatest place to be almost any time, but without proper preparation and precaution, your riding career could be cut short. Luckily, these motorcycle safety tips are easy to remember and implement, so don’t skip out on any of them.
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