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Staying Cool On A Motorcycle In Spain - By Ren Withnell

From my own experience of riding through Central Spain in July 2005, apparently one of the hottest weeks on record there.

First and foremost is the most obvious thing, water.  Spain is a western country with towns and villages along most major routes.  But out in the central desert you could still breakdown and be a long way from civilisation and water.  Always make sure you have at least a litre of water to hand.  Buy another 1.5 litre bottle from the next petrol station when the one you currently have gets to one third empty.  I'm not joking!  Before you travel make sure you leave space for water on your bike.

The key to staying warm or cool on a motorcycle is clothing.  Before I travelled I did some research and I am thankful I did.  Any motorcyclist with any sense will not ride without suitable protection.  Suitable protection is very hot to wear when temperatures have climbed above 40 degrees.  So, in contradiction to all common sense, wear thermal underclothes.

EH?  Bear with me.  Thermal clothing of any kind is designed to stop the movement of energy, in this case heat.  Normally we wear clothes in the cold climate of England to keep the heat in.  Thermal underclothes help trap the heat our body creates.  In the heat of the Spanish Summer we are now trying to keep the heat out.  The thermal underclothes reduce the heat coming in to our body.

The other important advantage of thermal clothes is trapping sweat.  Any motorcyclist who has ever ridden on a hot day in just his jacket will have had the dubious pleasure of removing a garment where the lining has stuck to his skin from the sweat.  Wearing cotton T-shirts reduces this, but cotton holds onto the sweat and feels clammy.  Thermal clothes have long sleeves making jacket removal easy, and the material moves sweat out.  

On the hottest of days on my trip I would stop for a rest and a drink.  I would sweat profusely into my thermal long-johns and shirt.  Finally I would get back onto the motorcycle and as soon as I started moving the sweat would evaporate.  The first 5 minutes would actually be very cold as the collective sweat evaporated.

Drink PLENTY.  Without drink you cannot sweat.  Concentration will fail and temper will shorten when dehydrated.  Do Not ride without your protective gear.  Gravel rash hurts more than being a bit hot.  Wear thermal undergarments.  Enjoy your ride.

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Reader's Comments

Russ said :-
Hello all....I'm Russ...GSX750F and 28 years on bikes.
A couple of 'on topic' ideas for ya!
The best advice very often seems daft and illogical so how about someone inventing breathable armour? I find sweat always gathers in a small puddle around the bits of armour?
...oh and another thing, why don't the manufacturers of bikes put adjustable air vents in the fairings? Cool direct air flow over your upper legs in summer then switch to warm air directed from behind the engine for extra warmth in winter. We can put satellites in space but can't manage the air flow for comfort on a motorcycle.
Maybe I'm just being picky! :)
I guess two bikes would be ideal, touring fairing for winter and 'naked' for summer?
UTC
 

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