5 tips to keep your motorcycle rides safe this summer
India is gearing up for an extreme summer as large parts of the country are regularly recording temperatures above 40 degrees. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), there will likely be a heat wave in the coming days.
In situations like these, specific precautions should be taken to avoid falling victim to extreme weather. If you ride a motorcycle, you must take care of this, as riding a bike is challenging under the scorching sun. Here are five tips that will help you ride safely even in such extreme conditions.
1. Stay hydrated
Water is the most important fluid in the human body. When the body is exposed to external heat, it releases sweat to cool off. The body gets dehydrated as a result of this. Dehydration can cause impaired concentration, headaches, impatience, and drowsiness. This can prove fatal in extreme cases, so you should avoid it by maintaining regular hydration breaks. A well-hydrated body will result in a focused mind, which will make the ride safer. However, gulping a lot of water at a time does not negate dehydration. Water should be sipped at regular intervals.
You can use a hydration pack in this situation. A hydration pack is a hydration system that is made as a waist pack or backpack and has a bladder where water can be stored. As you have access to water with these hydration packs, you can stay hydrated the entire time. It should also be noted that only water and ORS, or electrolytes, should be consumed. Consumption of beverages like tea, coffee, soft drinks, or energy drinks should be avoided, as they further dehydrate the body.
2. Wear ventilated apparel
Ventilation is very important when it comes to summer clothing. The base layer is an important factor when it comes to comfort. This layer should be moisture-wicking, not only absorbing the perspiration but also vaporising it, keeping the body cool and dry. If your preference is cotton, it can make you feel damp, even though it is a lightweight material that soaks up moisture but fails to release it. On the other hand, nylon and polyester fabrics are good at both absorbing and releasing moisture, making them your preferred base layer choice during the summer.
Just because it is summer does not mean that safety can be kept at bay. You should be wearing your helmet, riding jacket and pants, gloves, and boots all the time. However, the choice of material should be such that it promotes ventilation and keeps you feeling cool all the time. Riding jackets, pants, and perforated gloves made of ventilated materials with mesh inserts in them induce airflow to the body, vaporising all the perspiration. This helps maintain a stable body temperature while ensuring the body stays hydrated and cool. In the long run, you can use a cooling vest. These vests cool the skin's surface while also cooling the body's core. Dampened neck tubes will also help you stay cool and comfortable.
To save your eyes from the sun, you can opt for a tinted visor for your helmet. These visors would protect you from the sun's glare and from harmful UV rays. The use of such visors would reduce eye strain and ensure that you ride for a longer duration.
3. Check the condition of the tyres
Tyres are the only point of contact between a vehicle and the road. Care should be taken so that the road's intense heat doesn't cause the tyres to blow out and the motorcycle to skid. It is calculated that for every 10 per cent change in the temperature, the tyre pressure increases by 1.4PSI. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can mean the difference between a tyre that is properly inflated and one that is overinflated. Not to be overlooked is the fact that when a tyre is overinflated, its sidewalls and tread become harder than usual, and its contact patch with the road decreases. This alteration in footprint may cause traction and performance loss, resulting in a bumpy ride and affecting the motorcycle's handling and braking performance.
To prevent the tyres from bursting due to heat, you should keep a check on the tyre air pressure, replace worn-out tyres, and take proper breaks to cool off the tyres in case there is a situation where they get overheated. The load capacity and the speed rating of the tyres should be adhered to as well.
4. Beware of melting bitumen on tarmac roads
The bitumen layer on the roads tends to soften when constantly exposed to persistent heat. This softening of bitumen can cause roads to become uneven and slippery, which can make them dangerous. The fact that there are heavy vehicles on the road may also contribute to this softening. Your bike may become unstable because of the ripple effects of the movement of these heavy vehicles on the road when you drive over a patch like this. You should be careful and watch out for the robustness of the road.
5. Taking breaks at appropriate intervals
Planning the ride well will prove beneficial to you in the summer. It is always recommended that you start early when the temperature is relatively low. Your top priority should be seeking out some shade and relaxing when the sun is directly overhead. Riding at high temperatures should be avoided because constantly battling the summer heat can tire you out. You must take breaks at regular intervals so that you can rehydrate and let both you and the motorcycle cool down. Regular breaks also ensure that you do not lose concentration and complete the journey safely and soundly.