There’s nothing better than a day of riding. Gaining back your freedom. Roaring through the hills or city on that sweet thrill only a good bike can give you. And, along the way, praying that the sun doesn’t try to take advantage of you by mercilessly beating you down.
Well, guess what? Heat exhaustion and heatstroke are deadly. Look up any news article about it and you’ll see that death could’ve been prevented if the victim had been safe (and smart) by preparing.
Here are 7 life-saving tips for fighting the scorching sun.
1. Stay Hydrated
The most important thing here (or really anywhere, at any time of day — doesn’t matter what the weather is) is to stay hydrated. No freakin’ duh.
Yet, you’d be surprised how many times I’ve come across riders who were heavily panting. Hysteria was setting in. They were losing control of their mind — or at the least, had downed the nearest gallon of water they could find. Something as simple as a hydration pack can keep you cool and out of the ICU.
We’re adults here. Do we really need to be reminded that water is a necessity? You know all those Aboriginal protesters out in North Dakota fighting “the man,” right? Why are they protesting? Because “the man” wants to build an oil pipeline.
This pipeline would destroy water for thousands of people. Imagine living in a home with no water. Ever. At all. You can’t bathe, you can’t wash your dishes, you can’t survive. Period.
Bonus tip: Bring more water than you think you’ll need. I’d rather know I have too much of something I need to survive than wonder if there’s enough.
Stay frosty. Stay thirsty.
2. Don’t Axe The Jacket
Keep your jacket on, man! Think about it: you’re getting rid of your main protection, right? Right. Now that protection’s gone, you’ve also thrown your skin’s defence out the window.
Think about it: that jacket was the one thing that kept your arms from the sun’s bent-on-destroying-you rays, making it all that much quicker to fry you up. Having the right heat-fighting apparel is grounds for ensuring you have another successful ride notched in your belt.
3. Plan For Weather
Dr. Leigh Vinocur, MD, advises not going out during the hottest time of day: midday. This is mostly mistaken as 12 PM, but actually it’s around 3 PM which is the hottest time of the day. This makes sense — not going out when the sun is in a bad mood and decides to hate everyone.
Going out earlier (near dawn) also gives your body a chance to get use to the heat as the sun slowly starts arching across the sky. Getting your body used to what’s happening is one of the safest bets for keeping your body temperature stable (it’s kind of like figuring out if the water’s fine by slowly making your way in).
4. Plan Your Route
Whether you’re in the city or hitting the countryside, planning your route is a must. You never know when road (or roadside) construction is happening — which means anywhere from ten minutes to thirty (all the way to an hour!) in the burning heat.
Hit the internet with a local search for any ongoing construction on or around your planned route, then execute an alternative. Researching diligently here will pay off in spades when it’s time to rev up and face the music.
5. Wear a Cooling Vest
You might’ve heard of these awesome vests that keep your body at 59°F as long as you wear them, for as long as two hours in 100+°F weather.
Nobody needs to point out how ludicrously inventive, awesome, and life-saving that is, right?
6. Wear Cooling Gloves
Okay — not cooling gloves exactly, but cooling wraps you wrap around your hand and wear inside your glove. Bam! Instant cooling gloves.
A bonus to this is ensuring the protection of your hands in the event of a tragic disaster where your butt flies off the seat and you’re launched twelve feet in the air or you take a turn too rough and POW! Your hands need to play a role in the quick decision to slow the skid.
Anything can happen out there — that’s why it’s a bonus to have cool wraps to keep your hands chill and also protected. Safe and cold at the same time? Heck yes!
Plus, they also make them for your neck. Is that a win? Yessir.
7. Keep Your Head On
Take off your helmet and if you crash, guess what’s the first thing to go? That’s right, your head. But that’s not the main reason you should keep your helmet on.
No, the real reason your helmet should remain on at all times is the same as your jacket: to keep you from being exposed to the elements. Winds do their thing and dry your skin out (in hot weather that’s a recipe for heat-stroke, which is no joke — trust me) before you can say Jack Robinson.
Plus, you’re exposing your beautiful skull to the relentless Devil that we call the unforgiving sun. Isn’t the entire point behind going out for a ride, no matter the time of day, mean enjoying the dang ride?
Featured photo credit: he Official Beaune Travel Guide via beaune-tourism.com