When the summer temperatures start to soar, it can feel almost impractical to wear your full leathers. Of course it would be irresponsible not wear protection when riding. But what if your suit was increasing the chances of you having an accident anyway, due to dehydration?
Dehydration and over-heating could explain why accidents still occur regularly even when weather conditions are bright and perfect during summer. In fact, just small drops in your hydration could result in a larger drop in cognitive function, which is your ability to concentrate and make quick decisions.
It’s safe to say then when temperatures are this high, it’s essential that you keep hydrated. And we wanted to go through how you can avoid becoming dehydrated…
First, why is it worse in the summer?
Unfortunately, a lot of serious crashes can take place on clear, sunny summer afternoons, in June, July and August. Riders who are travelling on large capacity motorcycles, wearing full kit, on a demanding A-road are particularly vulnerable to having an accident, even if the road is clear of other vehicles.
This is because wearing insulated biker gear, in an already warm environment, is one of the most effective ways to become dehydrated. Sweat will be prevented from evaporating from the skin, and your body will technically be exercising.
Your body will heat up and be unable to properly cool itself down, and this will impair technical decision making. The two most significant mental effects of dehydration are eye-hand coordination, and how long it takes you to make a decision. This all results in a perfect recipe for sloppy riding on the roads.
So, what can you do?
Thankfully there are ways that you can neutralise and avoid the symptoms of dehydration during the summer. There’s the obvious solution, which is to drink plenty of water and spend some time sitting in the shade. But sometimes it may not be practical for you to stop riding every 30 minutes to drink and sit under a tree.
Another option could be to get yourself a mesh suit, or some summer leathers that are designed to keep you cooler. This type of biker gear allows air to flow more freely, which could make a big difference when you’re zipping around on country lanes. However, you might not feel much of a difference if you’re filtering through town traffic.
If you decide to forgo leathers altogether, this would provide a strong solution when it comes to avoiding dehydration. However, it’s important that you way up the risks; and judge if the hazards of overheating are greater than the safety benefits of protective kit. It’s a personal judgment, and will very much depend on the type of riding you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and the distance you’re travelling.
Other tips to stop dehydration
- Open up all your helmet vents. And whenever you stop for a rest, take your lid and gloves off straight away.
- Wear a mesh suit, or looser summer leathers to increase air flow next to your skin.
- Wear a sports t-shirt underneath your baggier summer gear, as this will help to reduce sweat and maximise cooling.
- Have a drink at every petrol stop or whenever you take a break.
- Avoid drinking strong coffee, as this is a diuretic and will cause you to lose body fluid.
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