Steps Motorcyclists Should Take to Beat the Heat
With the bright sun, clear skies, and open roads, there’s something special about riding your motorcycle in the summertime in St. Louis. However, motorcyclists often face the challenge of riding in hot weather conditions, which can pose risks to their comfort and safety. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are common concerns, making it crucial for motorcyclists to take proactive steps to beat the heat.
Adopting appropriate gear and hydration practices and implementing summer maintenance tips can ensure a more enjoyable and safe riding experience, even in scorching weather.
As the summer season approaches, motorcycle enthusiasts gear up to enjoy the open roads and beautiful scenery. However, rising temperatures and harsh conditions can take a toll on your beloved bike. To ensure optimal performance and longevity, perform summer maintenance on your motorcycle, including the following:
- Check and maintain fluid levels: Fluids are critical to your motorcycle’s overall performance, especially during hot summer months. Start by inspecting the oil level and condition. Ensure your oil reaches between the high and low marks on your dipstick, and have your oil changed if it looks gritty or cloudy. If it’s been more than 5,000 miles or a year since your last oil change, have one done before riding.
Also, check the coolant level and ensure it is topped up to prevent overheating and pay attention to brake and clutch fluids, ensuring they are at the appropriate levels.
- Clean and lubricate the chain: The chain is a vital component that requires regular maintenance, especially during the summer when it can easily become covered in dust and debris.
Clean the chain thoroughly using a chain cleaner and a brush, removing accumulated grime. Once clean, lubricate the chain using a high-quality lube to reduce friction and ensure smooth operation.
- Inspect and clean the cooling system: Your motorcycle’s cooling system is crucial for maintaining engine temperature during hot weather. Inspect the radiator and cooling fins for any signs of dirt, debris, or damage. Clean them thoroughly to ensure proper airflow.
Check the coolant hoses for leaks or cracks and replace them if necessary. Consider flushing the cooling system and refilling it with fresh coolant to improve efficiency.
- Check tire pressure and tread: Hot weather can cause the air inside the tires to expand, leading to overinflation. Inspect the tire pressure regularly and adjust it to the manufacturer’s recommended specifications.
Examine the tire tread depth to ensure adequate grip and traction. Generally, Missouri requires tires to have at least 1/32” tread depth; worn-out tires should be replaced promptly to ensure safety on the road.
- Test the battery: Inspect the battery terminals for corrosion and clean them if needed. Check the battery voltage using a voltmeter or consult a professional if unsure. If the battery is weak or not holding a charge, consider replacing it to avoid unexpected breakdowns.
Summer days in St. Louis can be brutally hot, with the average temperatures reaching 91℉ in June and into the 100s in July. To stay cool and safe, consider adjusting your riding schedule. Early morning and late evening are the coolest parts of the day and can offer beautiful sunrise or sunset views, providing a more pleasant riding experience.
Avoid riding during peak daylight hours, typically from 11 am. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If you must travel during these hours, take regular breaks to hydrate and rest in the shade.
You can also strategically plan your route by taking advantage of natural features such as bodies of water or rivers. These areas can provide cooler temperatures due to the evaporation and breeze created by the water. To reduce the impact of direct sunlight, look for roads that offer shade, whether through tree-lined paths or routes that pass by buildings or structures that provide shade.
Plan your ride to avoid congested urban areas and high-traffic zones. These areas tend to radiate heat due to the concentration of buildings and vehicles, making them hotter and more uncomfortable for riders. Instead, opt for quieter, more scenic routes that pass through open countryside or rural areas. These routes often have better airflow and lower temperatures, providing a more enjoyable ride.
When riding a motorcycle in the summer in Missouri, it’s crucial to wear appropriate gear that provides protection and helps you stay cool and comfortable in hot and humid conditions. To keep cool while riding, consider wearing the following:
- Lightweight and breathable riding jacket: Opt for a motorcycle jacket made of lightweight and breathable materials such as mesh or textiles with good ventilation. These jackets allow airflow, keeping you cool while providing the necessary protection. Look for jackets with zippered vents or mesh panels that promote airflow.
- Moisture-wicking socks: Invest in moisture-wicking socks to keep your feet dry and comfortable during the ride. Look for synthetic or merino wool socks that wick away moisture and prevent sweat buildup.
- Ventilated riding pants: Choose riding pants that offer ventilation and airflow to keep your legs cool. Look for pants made of breathable materials, preferably with zippered vents or mesh panels.
- Breathable gloves: Choose motorcycle gloves with breathable materials and perforations that allow airflow to your hands. Proper ventilation in your gloves will prevent excessive sweating and discomfort, helping you stay cool during your ride. Look for gloves specifically designed for summer or warm weather riding.
- Cooling vests or bandanas: Consider wearing cooling vests or bandanas designed to keep you cool in hot weather. These accessories are often moisture-activated or made with evaporative materials that provide a refreshing sensation when wet. Soak them in water before wearing them for a cooling effect as the water evaporates.
- Ventilated riding boots: Wearing well-ventilated riding boots is essential to ensure airflow to your feet, keeping them cool and comfortable. Look for boots with breathable materials, mesh panels, or vents that allow air circulation.
- Moisture-wicking base layers: Wearing moisture-wicking base layers can help keep you cool and dry by efficiently absorbing and evaporating sweat. Look for base layers made of synthetic blends or merino wool, which wick away moisture from your skin and provide a cooling effect.
- Sun protection: Long exposure to the sun can cause sunburn and other health issues. Apply a high-SPF sunblock, wear UV-protective sunglasses, and consider a neck gaiter to protect against sun exposure.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a claim to receive compensation for your damages. The motorcycle accident attorneys at Cofman Townsley have over 40 years of experience helping accident victims win settlements to help pay for medical bills, missed wages, and emotional distress.
Contact our legal team today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case. Our compassionate attorneys will help determine if you can recover damages for your injuries.