Summer is here and so is summer weather. In most places this time of year, it’s hot. Really hot. This won’t stop us from hitting the trail though. Riding can be just as fun in the heat, but you need to prepare for the weather. Under hot conditions, it is worth taking some extra precautions to make sure everyone has a safe and fun time on the trail. As we are located in Utah, we have a bit of experience with hot, desert riding. Here are a few suggestions to help stay safe and have fun in the sun.
First, bring water – lots and lots of water. This is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure a good ride when it is hot outside. You and everyone with you needs to stay hydrated. Bring extra water in case of emergency. You never know if you will have to hike out, wait near a disabled vehicle, or top off an overheated radiator.
Second, wear sunscreen. This may seem like common sense, but really do it. Getting sunburned can take the fun out of any outdoor adventure. Shade is not always available when you need it, so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and bring a hat. It’s also a good idea to wear lightweight clothing and cover up. Covering up while you are out riding in the heat will actually help keep your body cooler because it keeps direct sunlight off of your skin. It also protects you from the wind.
Third, bring some extra tools. Having some tools with you is a good idea any time of the year. You never know when you may need to help with possible repairs. Tucking some tools under the seat can be extremely beneficial. This is something that won’t take much effort to put together, and can mean the difference between a fun trip, and one that is cut short. It’s also a great idea to carry a spare tire on long trips. If you don’t have enough room to carry a complete spare we suggest getting a tire inflation kit. Also, having a tow strap on hand is never a bad idea.
Fourth, let someone know where you plan on riding. Leave details with a friend or family member. Let them know where and when you are going, and who will be going with you. Also let them know when you plan on being back. Take a fully charged cell phone with you on any trip you take. Chances are high that you will be able to find service in case of an emergency. If you like to travel in extremely remote places, you may want to consider purchasing a satellite phone.
Fifth, take a break. Make sure you take breaks frequently to keep from getting overly tired and dehydrated. This is important on every ride, especially when conditions are hot. If you get tired, take a rest in a shady area out of the sun.
Lastly, learn to recognize signs of heat related problems and get help when you need it. If you feel too hot or tired to ride, don’t ride. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can set on quickly. Don’t push yourself in hot temperatures or put yourself at risk. Know what your limits are and don’t overdo it. Stop riding immediately and get help if you experience signs and symptoms of heat-related problems.
Some signs of heat exhaustion can include cool, clammy, and pale skin, heat cramps, a weak pulse, nausea, chills and dizziness, weakness and disorientation. Heat stroke symptoms may include hot, flushed, and dry skin, no longer sweating and feeling confused or even faint. Don’t hesitate to get help when you need it.
Summer is always a fantastic time to get out there and enjoy nature. With a little extra effort, you can tackle the heat on the trail. Keep cool and have fun this summer.