August Thoughts 

Riding in Heat 

By Safety Officer Dave Hansen 

 

This month I’d like to touch on a safety issue that we all usually face while riding. That issue is riding in very hot weather. The problem is hydration & hyperthermia. That is, drinking enough liquids to replenish those lost to evaporation and keeping the body core cool enough to prevent the symptoms of hyperthermia. 

While I’m not a medical professional, let me see if I can describe this in layman’s terms. 

When riding in heat, exposure to wind can suck fluids from our bodies faster than we realize. Because our cooling mechanism, evaporation of perspiration or sweat happens without us realizing we are sweating. Many times it can happen quickly enough you may not even experience thirst before you become dehydrated. Dehydration is the loss of water and important blood salts like potassium & sodium. The symptoms include dry skin, light-headedness, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, dry mouth, and increased heart rate. 

Left unchecked, this dehydration will lead to hyperthermia, commonly referred to as heat stroke. This occurs when the body can no longer cool itself by sweating. This is an extremely dangerous condition that requires professional medical treatment. 

The prevention of these conditions, rather than treatment for them, is what I’d like to discuss today. 

When we ride is extremely hot weather we should: 

Additionally, here are a few tips that can help: 

Remember, you’ll need to drink more water when riding. When you think you’ve had enough, drink more. A good check is to monitor your urinary activities. If you can ride all day without having to go, then you’re not drinking enough water. If the color is dark or darker than normal, you’re not drinking enough water. It’s better to drink enough water to require an extra stop for relief than not & end up in a hospital. 

Ride Cool. 

Ride Safe!

Words of Safety