6 Summer riding tips: Let nothing stop you!

By | April 21, 2014

For most bikers, their favorite time to ride has just gone by. Spring is the perfect time to enjoy life on 2 wheels, with pleasant weather, exquisite views, and overall good vibes in the air. But now that searing heat will rule the roads, will you give up on your all-time favorite activity? Many people now patiently wait for the rains to arrive, not me! I have discussed some winter riding tips in the past, here are some summer riding tips to make you an unstoppable ninja motorcyclist.

summer riding tips1. Get a dark visor for your helmet

Riding while fire is raining down from hell isn’t a very pleasurable experience, less so on a machine that leaves you completely at the mercy of the elements. All of your body would be covered with your gear, apart from your face. If you are wearing a clear visor, chances are you’ll get an unwanted tan at the end of your day. 

A dark visor is great to keep your face evenly colored. Some people wear balaclavas, but the problem with that is it won’t cover your entire face, some part of the nose always remains exposed. You should always avoid riding at night, but if you have to, just flip open the visor, wear clear glasses and be on your way. Alternatively, you can keep 2 helmets, one for day and the other for night!

Keratoconus rider2. Always wear sunglasses

No matter if you have a smoked or a clear visor, always wear dark goggles under your helmet. Sunglasses will act as the first line of defense against dirt in your eyes, and will also filter out unwanted UV radiation. Wearing goggles will also drastically reduce your eye fatigue over long distances, that’s something I can tell from personal experience!

For people like me who wear contact lenses, sunglasses are an absolute must. For those who wear prescription spectacles, I would suggest going for photochromic glasses, which turn dark under sunlight and return to clear at night. Your eyes will stay safer and comfier over any length of distance!

3. Use summer riding gear to stay comfy and safe

Summer riding gear means mesh jackets, perforated gloves, ventilated pants and breathable shoes. The same gear that you take to Ladakh will not be ideal for hot weather. Wearing your favorite winter jacket in the middle of a hot day will leave you sweating like a pig and gasping for air.

There is no one-style-fits-all solution here, you will have to get different gears for different needs. Some jackets, like the Spartan Hyperion, boast of removable liners that can help you in hot, cold, or rain, so that’s something you can consider during your next purchase. As far as gloves, boots and pants go, I don’t think there is anything that will work well in all weather conditions.

ViaTerra Marine Hydration Pack review4. Drink lots of water

Well, this is a no-brainer, isn’t it? Hot weather means lots of sweating, means lots of water loss. You really don’t want to be stranded in the middle of the road, with a parched throat and dehydrated body. Running out of fuel at the end of the world is a better situation to be in rather than running out of water in your body.

Hydration systems make this really easy, you don’t even have to stop! Check out my review of the awesome ViaTerra Marine and know what I mean. One trick that I have found lately, is to add Glucose to the water. It keeps the water cool, makes it tasty, and gives you energy for those long-haul rides!

5. Keep checking your bike fluid levels

Just like your body loses fluids in summer, so does your bike. Engine oil is the hardest hit, and must be checked at the end of every day for long trips. Coolant level is also critical, as that is the only thing stopping your engine from overheating and potentially killing itself.

One more area that needs to be looked after would be the chain. In hot weather, chains become dry much more quickly as compared to normal conditions. Keep it thoroughly lubricated and tight. A good idea would be to walk around your bike every time you stop, check all the fluid levels, chain tension and lubrication, and just look for anything out of place. Takes barely half a minute, but will save you those hours spent at the mechanic!

6. Wear a t-shirt under your jacket

Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Why should you wear an additional piece of cloth in such hot weather? The reason is simple, sweat. During summer, you’ll get a lot of that salty water pouring down your back and armpits. If you are just wearing your jacket on your undies, it will get all wet and smelly over time.

It is really easy to wash a t-shirt, not so easy to wash a jacket. The t-shirt acts as an absorber of your sweat, and keeps your jacket fresh for the next day’s ride. A half-sleeve cotton t-shirt does the job well!

Hope you benefit from my summer riding tips here! If you have something to add, do let me know in the comments.

  • Aadil ‘Tuckks’ Naik

    I use the Knox DryInside tshirts to ride 30km one way daily to college in this heat. It’s got this material that absorbs sweat from inside but is hydrophobic on the outside so it evaporates fast. It’s absolutely brilliant. Expensive at ₹2000+ for a pair, but if ur patient, outdoortravelgear has 40-50% discounts on it… Ur a serious traveller Akhil, you should give it a try.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Thanks Aadil, I’ll sure give it a try!

  • Aniruddha Shinde

    Nicely Written……. One Question.. How do you carry your spare visor of the helmet???

    • I carry it covered in a small towel inside the bag!

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  • Deepak

    Drifit sleeveless tshirt and bicycling shorts under riding gear does wonders to keep u cool.
    Wetting a scarf / cotton tube and putting around ur neck also helps in keeping u cool.

    • It sure does Deepak. Bicycling shorts will surely help with that ass pain as well!

  • Sprinkling water on the t-shirt worn under the jacket also helps. Riding an air cooled motorcycle in summer is more comfortable than riding a liquid cooled one, atleast hot air from the radiator fan is non-existent on an air cooled motorcycle.

    • Akhil Kalsh

      Yup, sprinkling water would help, although only for a little while.

      You are correct about air vs liquid/oil cooled bikes as well. But then all high performance machines do have cooling, can’t really help that!