Summer Motorcycle Riding Tips to Stay Cool

Traveling cross country and living full time in Florida I have done my share of riding in the heat. On two occasions I have traveled the southwest in the dead of summer. Had I not prepared ahead of time I would have looked like eggs fried on the asphalt. Even everyday riding in summer in Florida can be a challenge to stay cool. Here are some things I learned along the way that might be helpful if you are planning a road trip this summer.  (that’s me on the left)

  1. Wear a wick away long sleeve shirt. It keeps the sun off of you and keeps you from getting sunburned. It doesn’t make you any hotter than you already are but protects you from some of the elements and will keep you cooler.
  2. Carry 2 cooling towels. You can find these at Walmart, Target, etc for approx. $10 or less. The night before you head out, soak the towels in water and place them in separate plastic bags, and place them in the freezer. Last thing before you head out in the AM place them in a small cooler or your saddle bag and when you feel the heat is getting a bit much, stop and place one around your neck, it provides an area of cooling that is near blood vessels which is going to and from the core of your body. You will notice a difference.
  3. Drink PLENTY OF WATER I can’t stress this enough. Even if water isn’t your drink of choice it’s what your body needs on a ride in extreme heat. I have a cup holder and a stainless steel thermos I carry on my bike. I fill it full of ice and then add water. It may not look pretty but I am able to stay hydrated while I’m riding. Somehow I don’t relish the thought of crashing the bike because of heat stroke.
  4. Take breaks more often. This may put a bit of a crunch in your ride schedule but so will ending up in the hospital with heat stroke. We tend to get up at the crack of dawn and head out. It minimizes your time in the heat for the day.
  5. In 2016 I spent 3 weeks touring the south west. It was that trip I decided to purchase a cooling vest. LOVE IT! They are not expensive and it kept my core cool for several hours at a time. I did the same thing with it as I did with my neck coolers every night before bed, wet it and freeze it.

So I know there are many more tips and tricks for riding in the summer heat but those are just a few of my personal ones. I hope you all have a safe and memorable summer riding season.


Do You Ride SMART?

By: Christeena Knowles

SMART: How many of us consider ourselves motorcycle street smart?

Motorcycle related fatalities and motorcycle crashes in general are a big concern. The only way to help mitigate the problem is through awareness and training. Gainsville Florida Police Department holds a course several times a year that aims to make all riders SMART. They teach all who attend class, SMART techniques (Safe Motorcycle and Rider Techniques).

I recently attended their Saturday Advanced Motorcycle Training course and quickly discovered I wasn’t as skilled of a motorcycle rider as I had hoped. I was suffering from OCMS (Over Confident Motorcycle Syndrome) and I know many more riders that are infected too! I have been a rider since 1984 and have traveled thousands of cross country miles; I felt my skills were more than adequate. What I discovered taking this class is I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

With only courage in my pocket and a few friends by my side, I decided I would attempt every exercise and learn all I could about how to handle my motorcycle properly. I murdered several cones, missed many more in the course of the day but I never dropped my bike and almost made it through the entire day. I had to skip the last exercise, the figure 8, only because my body was exhausted after wrestling 850 pounds of machine for 6 hours. I learned many new skills and a lot about myself as a rider. If you are a new rider or someone like me who has been riding for years, you owe it to yourself to brush up on your skills and learn a few new ones, to make yourself the best rider you can be.

The best part about this class is it was FREE! If you are committed to being the best rider you can be look for an advanced riders course near you, it’s well worth your time.

Motorcycle Safety in South Florida

Motorcycling and Alcohol

by Leslie Drury

Motorcycle Safety in South Florida These days it seems like every bar in town has a bike night. You could probably attend one every night if you wanted to. There is really nothing like a warm Florida evening and a ride to the local tavern for music, good friends, and cold beer. The problem begins when you have to ride home. Once alcohol mixes with your blood, there is only one way for it to leave. You must wait. How long? What is the guideline? There is no set of instructions on the bottle, or the glass the beverage was served in. However somehow we are supposed to know how to get home safely after consuming a substance that is known to impair your judgment.

According to Non Profit Corporation):

It Gets in your Blood:

  • BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). When you drink alcohol, it gets passed directly into your bloodstream.
  • BAC can be measured reliably and accurately. Effects on skills related to driving are very well documented.
  • Most of the planet is in agreement that driving with a BAC of .08 is too dangerous to allow.
  • This is why laws everywhere are written with .08 being the point of legal intoxication
  • At a .08 you experience sedation, slow reaction time, and poor coordination. It’s obvious why driving with a .08 is illegal.
  • At lower levels, sedation and slow reaction time are still factors. It’s obvious why driving with lower BAC levels is still dangerous.

There is only one way down:

  • A common guideline is that after each typical drink, you must wait 45 minutes before attempting to drive.
  • If you have another drink, you must add another 45 minutes.
  • You’ve had a drink and must wait 45 minutes before driving. A quarter hour later, you have another drink.  Now you must wait 45 minutes PLUS the 30 minutes left over from the first drink.  That’s one and a quarter hours before you should drive.

Ladies Night:

  • Because men and women are built differently, women reach a higher BAC drink after drink than men.
  • More of the alcohol a woman drinks enters her bloodstream
  • The first drink or two are not drastically different and the 45 minute rule should be OK.
  • If you are having the equivalent of 3 or more drinks, you should add another hour to your wait.

As riders, we are at risk each time we take to the highways and roads. Drivers are texting, distracted, and here in South Florida we are exposed to aging drivers that no longer have the reaction time they once did. One factor that is within our control is the consumption of adult beverages. Statistics speak for themselves and posted the following numbers regarding alcohol and motorcycle fatalities.

  • 27% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2005 involved alcohol.
  • 20% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2006 involved alcohol.
  • 41% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2008 involved alcohol.
  • 37% of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2009 involved alcohol.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis:

  • In Florida in 2009 impaired motorcyclists with a BAC of .08 or higher accounted for 31% of motorcycle fatalities, while impaired motorcyclists with a BAC of .01 or greater accounted for 37% of motorcycle fatalities.
  • Nationally, in fatal crashes in 2008 a higher percentage of motorcycle riders had BAC of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dl) or higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver. The percentages for vehicle riders involved in fatal crashes were 28% for motorcycles, 23 % for passenger cars, 23 % for light trucks, and 2 % for large trucks.
  • In 2010, the percentage with BAC .08 g/dl or above was highest for fatally injured motorcycle riders among the 21 – 24 (30%) age group.

The statistics go on and on. Not only do you risk injury, you risk your driver’s license, a night in jail, and your insurance premiums will skyrocket. There may be special filings required to satisfy the state after a DUI requiring you to carry higher limits. The ticket will also be picked up by your auto insurance as well. It is our responsibility to get home safely. Included in this article is a basic formula for the amount of time to wait before you ride after imbibing. As mentioned previously in this article we are already dealing with avoiding and out-maneuvering distracted and aging drivers. Doing this after consuming alcohol will not work to our favor. Waiting around that extra time isn’t such a bad thing. Have that ice cold beer upon arrival and enjoy it. Spend your wait time checking out bikes, comparing upgrades, chatting with old friends and making new ones. You can leave knowing you have done your part to get home safely.