How Do Motorcycle Riders Adjust During Summer?


Summer is a time to explore the great outdoors. Surfers ride the waves, hikers explore new trails, and bikers hit the open road. For a seasoned biker, there is nothing more exciting than the exhilaration and freedom of riding a motorcycle across a straight stretch or a road with just the right curves. This is an experience that can’t be replicated in a car, even one where the top can be taken down.

Too Much Sun, Too Little Skin Respiration

Unfortunately, although summer is often a welcome relief from the frigidity and confined lifestyle associated with winter, it can also be a time when the weather can become unbearably hot, and this condition is exacerbated by the leather a biker must wear for protection as they soar down the road. Leather is not a porous material, making it hard for the body to be adequately ventilated. In addition to the leather, the motorcycle helmet will make it harder to take in deep, oxygen rich breaths and expel carbon dioxide. So not only is skin respiration arrested but the whole body, too, is experiencing inhibited respiration.

In a car, a driver can wear more comfortable clothes and turn on the air conditioning, but a biker does not have these options, and this means unrelenting exposure to the scorching sun. While the wind may ameliorate this discomfort, it does not provide a sufficiently conducive cooling effect.

Beyond Discomfort, Heat Exhaustion

Apart from the discomfort of wearing leather while riding in the sun, bikers also risk heat exhaustion, whose symptoms can include fierce headaches and extreme nausea. Add this feeling of ill health to the roaring speed of a bike on a stretch of moderate to heavy traffic and there is the possibility of a serious collision.

Fortunately, there is a simple remedial step a biker can take to avoid heat exhaustion: drinking adequate fluids to remain hydrated. When the human body sweats excessively, vital nutrients are lost, but by drinking water with added electrolytes or a sports drink that provides electrolytes, these nutrients can be efficiently replaced to bring the body to a state of healthy homeostasis.

Worse Still, Heat Stroke

However, heat exhaustion is not the only concern that a biker has during summer. What is much worse is heat stroke. Moreover, this can appear to happen suddenly if the biker has lost awareness that all sweating has ceased. If the body cannot sweat, it can’t stay cool, and if it can’t lower the temperature, it can overheat. In many ways, the human body is similar to a machine that breaks down because it can’t dissipate enough energy into the environment. When the human body overheats, thinking becomes muddled, the sense of sight becomes blurred, and the sense of sound becomes muffled. A person can quickly become disoriented or lose consciousness altogether. Couple this loss of sensory acuity and mental alertness with a rider who is operating a machine that requires a fine sense of balance and awareness and things can get very dangerous fairly quickly.

Simple Preventative Steps

A rider who suspects the onset of a heat stroke must not attempt to muscle through to the next convenient road stop. Instead, they must take immediate, preventative action. They must stop, get off their bike, strip off their leathers and cool down. If this does not help sufficiently, they must rub themselves down with an ice pack or pour ice water over themselves.

The Necessity of Proper Precautions

By taking proper precautions, a biker can enjoy their summer rides without concern. These safety measures include stopping frequently on a particularly hot day to drink water with electrolytes and stripping off the leather to facilitate skin respiration and staying aware of any signs of heat exhaustion. Failure to be diligent in taking these simple steps can result in either requiring medical treatment for heat stroke or being involved in a road accident.

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