Some people ride in the heat by choice, some out of necessity. When it’s a choice, a Sunday ride in triple-digit weather can be postponed. On the other hand, commuting and cross-country riding are not always weather dependent. Regardless of the circumstances, riding in the heat can be made more bearable. Here are five tips to stay cool while riding in the heat.
On normal days, you should drink half your body weight in water. If you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 100 ounces; equal to six bottles of water. And that’s on normal days. When riding in the heat, you should add at least four more bottles for the day.
But forget about all that math. Drink two glasses or a bottle when you wake up. Then drink a bottle of water every time you stop for gas. And avoid the caffeine.
The Caffeine Dilemma
We rarely drink enough water, but are quick to consume the caffeine we crave. To stay hydrated, there are two reasons why we should avoid caffeine.
First, caffeine is a diuretic. It flushes water out of our body; water that we need, especially on sweltering days.
Second, most caffeinated beverages satiate us, making us forget that it’s water we need. Unfortunately, the water component of these beverages is hardly enough to hydrate us.
If you’re going to drink caffeinated beverages, do so sparingly. Once in the morning, to get your fix. Then switch to water. And surprisingly, by staying hydrated you will feel less tired.
While we’re at it, a cold beer is also not a good idea for hydration. Like caffeine, alcohol acts as a diuretic.
Eat Less, Often
Large meals are less healthy than eating smaller meals more frequently. More metabolic heat is created during the digestion of larger meals. Your body will need to work harder to cool itself down. Also, water is used during digestion. More food being digested requires more water. I think you see the pattern here.
When it’s hot out, eat more often. Eat smaller portions. Drink a glass of water before your meal. Drink water during your meal. And if you are riding after the meal, drink more water before hitting the road.
Light and Loose Fitting Clothes
I used to choose looking cool over feeling cool. Black is usually the cool color of choice among Harley riders. In hot weather, the color choice to feel cool leans toward white. Light colors reflect heat, making you feel cooler throughout the day.
Color choice is one option, fit and materials are two more. Loose fitting clothing allows the air to circulate. Cotton is a more breathable fabric. Loose fitting white cotton shirts will provide hours of comfort for your ride.
Cooler Heads Prevail
Most of our body heat is lost through our heads. Save some water during your gas stops, and use it on your head. If you don’t want to douse yourself, soak a kerchief, bandanna or head wrap. Pour a little in your helmet.
Keeping your head cool will benefit every other part of you.
So there you have it – five tips to stay cooler during hot weather riding. By following these strategies, riding in the heat can be more bearable.
There’s no reason to say “it’s too hot to ride.”