Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot Weather Motorcycling

We're in a for a wicked hot weekend in the greater ATL.  Highs are expected to be around 106 degrees on Saturday, the day of our Wounded Warriors ride in conjunction with Crossroads FAITH Riders, Meineke Car Center of Peachtree City and Great South Harley-Davidson in Newnan.  Details on the ride are here.

With temperatures that high the temptation for some riders is to leave the jacket at home and wear a short-sleeved shirt.  Some may even consider short pants.  But by exposing that much skin you're actually going to feel WARMER than if you're actively subscribing to ATGATT (all the gear all the time).

The Magic Number Is 93
That would be 93 degrees (if I was making this up it would have been 93.3).  At temperatures below 93 degrees your body has no problem staying cool while riding, provided you're going fast enough to generate a breeze.  When it's hotter than 93 degrees the wind actually makes exposed skin WARMER.  Yeah, I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but stick with me.

Your body has four methods of staying cool; evaporation, radiation, conduction and convection.  At temperatures above 93 degrees evaporation (which your body accomplishes by perspiring) becomes the only working method of cooling.  That's because 93 degrees is about the average skin temperature.  So at heat levels above 93 degrees the air is actually transferring heat to any exposed skin on your body, rather than taking heat away from you.  So to minimize the effect of hot air making you hotter, cover up.

Heat Related Health Hazards
The hot weather can not only cause you to feel uncomfortable, it can also cause health problems and, at worse, death.  Cramping in the legs or abdomen is one of your body's earliest signals that it's beginning to dehydrate.  Make sure to drink plenty of water prior to a ride in the heat.  (Stay away from alcohol, caffeine and drinks with high sugar content, these will actually contribute to dehydration.)

If you ignore the cramps the next level of danger is heat exhaustion.  People suffering from heat exhaustion will sweat profusely, experience headache, nausea and dizziness.  After heat exhaustion comes heatstroke, sometimes referred to as sunstroke.  This one will kill you if not treated promptly. Symptoms of heatstroke include rapid heartbeat and breathing, confusion and fainting.  We don't want that.  So be sure to dress appropriately and drink enough water before and during your ride.  

Wounded Warriors Ride
If you're a rider, I hope you'll consider joining us tomorrow (Saturday 6/30/12) for the Wounded Warriors Ride.  Registration begins at 8:00 AM with KSU (that would be "kick stands up" not Kennesaw State University) at 9:30 AM.  We probably won't beat the heat, but we'll get a head start on it.  And the first 50 people to say "I'm a Joy Rider" at registration will get one of the nifty commemorative T-Shirts pictured below.  Hope to see you.

Here's the back of the T-Shirt

And this would be the front, stylish, eh?