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Summer is the perfect season for motorcycle rides, but how do you beat the heat?

Added August 7, 2018
Sunset
Summer truly is motorcycle riding season. The long hours of daylight beckon us to ride far and wide. But those long, hot days in the saddle can easily cause us to overheat and run the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. That leads to the temptation of taking off some protective gear. But experienced riders know that riding with all the gear, all the time, is the safest option. So how do we ride our motorcycles in the blazing heat while staying safe and cool?

Evaporative cooling

The old school way to stay cool in the summer heat is to wear a wet t-shirt under a ventilated motorcycle jacket. It’s called evaporative cooling and it works similar to the way our bodies cool us. When we get hot and sweat, the evaporation of that moisture cools the body. That’s why drinking a lot of water is necessary to avoid dehydration. But wearing a wet t-shirt while riding has never won the contest for true comfort. Thankfully, modern technology provides some alternatives.

Evaporative cooling vests

Today, we can choose from a nice selection of vests that provide evaporative cooling for our body core. They’re soaked in cool water and, when worn under a perforated or well-vented jacket, provide several hours of cooling. The cooling effect can even be boosted at the beginning by chilling it in a refrigerator. Several brands use a combination of materials to cool you, while reducing the amount of moisture transferred to your t-shirt. The important thing is for you to wear a jacket that provides a lot of airflow to maximize the cooling effect. Vests are available for around $40 and up.

AC for your motorcycle

Another option offers Space Age technology. If you watched NASA astronauts before a launch, you saw them in a spacesuit, carrying a bag with hoses attached to it. That’s an air conditioning system to help keep them cool. Now, you can have something similar. The system features a vest with a network of tubing that carries chilled water pumped from a remote reservoir of ice and water. It can be a backpack or cooler type reservoir and requires either batteries or a connection to your motorcycle’s electrical system to power the pump. Expect to pay around $1,000 or more.

Stay hydrated

Whether you ride old school in a moist t-shirt, use an evaporative vest, or go Space Age cool, remember that there’s no substitute for staying hydrated while on your ride. Stopping often to get out of the sun and into an air-conditioned place is also a good idea.

Till next time, ride safe!

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