Air, Oil or Liquid – whatever the tech in use, the cooler the temperature, the better we run. What’s more, this adage stands true for rides and riders alike. The hot and humid conditions meant that rides out of Bombay have been a tight-rope walk in heat management. The sun bearing down in full-fury at 8 AM on the clock on the recent ride out of town was the pits.
The spinning head and circling birds were all the convincing necessary. There’s never been any doubt on climate change being real. What I’m sure of; is that Mother Nature is going to get back at us for all the harm we’ve caused. Back to motorcycling though, here are a few measures that you can take to cope with the heat:
Planning a ride when the mercury is shooting upwards continuously is tricky. You either choose a destination at a shorter distance than your usual options, or pick a route that’s lined with shady trees. You’ll appreciate the view with the latter and arrive fresher than the quicker/direct route risking thermal overload.
Moisture wicking base layers & vented/mesh riding gear are your best bet when the mercury spikes.
Carry a hydration bag, bring along thermo-flasks filled with chilled water, or stash freezer-safe bottles in the, well, freezer overnight & bring them along on the ride. It all depends on the functioning of your inner thermostat.
Halt as soon as you feel the slightest discomfort. Hydrate, walk a few steps around the bike. While you’re at it, soak up your balaclava & moisture-wicking base-layer with some chilled water.
While the above takes care of you, as a rider, it is crucial to watch out for your steed as well. Here’s what I do on the high-mercury rides. Note: I typically ride air/oil-cooled Royal Enfield’s or, an air-cooled 2-Stroke Yamaha.
My cold air-pressure is 2 PSI lower than usual on overtly hot days. Not that I have had a tube/tire burst ever, but just an old habit that refuses to die.
I avoid topping up to the brim. I prefer leaving a few litres below max capacity. Again, never had much trouble due to fuel evaporation per-se, but more for the mental peace.
Listen to your motorcycle:
Irrespective of the motorcycle make and brand, they’re going to run at lower efficiency when mercury levels are high. Frequent breaks are advisable when riding older motorcycles with cast-iron barrels, to avoid risk of seizure. Heck, a friend who regularly rides a Duke390 too takes frequent breaks when riding in the heat, to avoid random shutdowns due to overheating.
& opinions on motorcycles & motorcycling are as diverse as they come.
The common goal however, is to stay cool and have a blast. So let me know if
you do things differently than what I’ve said above. Would love to learn and
improve the knowledge and craft.