Motorcycle Riding In 117 Degrees

Hot Desert RidingI love desert riding. Except, of course, in the summer.

What I learned over the past 4 days and 1200 miles (California Coast and Sonoran Desert loop) is that it will be a while before a motorbike and I do that in the summer again!

Does 117 degrees mean “Hot” to you, too?

Unless you live in southwestern Arizona, you’d probably say “Yes.”

Phoenix is the biggest city in the Sonoran Desert, which encompasses southwestern Arizona, southeastern California and a chunk of Northwestern Mexico.

Triple-digit temperatures are the norm in the Sonoran Desert throughout the warm months, so for most residents, air-conditioning is as vital to them as heat is to locals in the northern climate during the winter.

This trip also presented the opportunity to ride through scattered thuderstorms, a dust storm and the biggest monsoon for Phoenix in 8 years, resulting in a power outage for 50,000 people, which is where I was staying when the monsoon hit.  Fortunately for my bike and I, we were well ensconced in a hotel by the time the exploding skies opened up for the evening deluge and electrical fireworks, courtesy of the Sonoran heavens.  That evening made the earlier thunderstorms I rode through in the afternoon seem like pleasant entertainment:  It sure looked like Phoenix might get washed away.

On this particular trip, in spite of my drinking what I thought was a good amount of water (I had a water pack on my back), and taking breaks every hour, I still found myself fighting off heat exhaustion during the hottest part of the ride (117 degrees).  So I pulled off into a roadside rest area, which offered the only shade visible from horizon to horizon.  I soaked my shirt in water and dowsed my head with the same, and took an hour nap – and drank as much water as I could manage.  And let me tell you, before I took a nap on that shady picnic table, my face was glowing red hot.

What does this all mean to you?

Do you know about Hot Weather Survival Tactics for Motorcyclists?

Even if you do, it’s good to review them.

Although it may be rather obvious, it’s worth highlighting that riding for hours under a relentless sun in triple-digit temperatures does pose some risks for a touring motorcyclist.  And such risks are not limited to just the Sonoran Desert.

So click on Hot Weather Survival Tactics for Motorcyclists for a fresh look at a hot topic.

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