Summer Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips

Keep your cool in the heat of summer

By Jerry "Motorman" Palladino

I’d like to make sure you have a summer riding season full of great memories instead of “I wasn’t prepared” memories. With the heat of summer upon us, keep those great memories alive by always being ready for whatever the weather may bring your way. Here are a few safety tips to follow for riding in extreme heat.

Women Riders Now E-Newsletter

Stay up-to-date on all things motorcycle! Latest gear, bikes and products reviews. Travel ideas, great product giveaways, and more.

1. Hydrate
Take water with you even if you’re only going on a two or three hour ride.

Fill a bottle three-quarters of the way full and throw it in the freezer overnight. When youre ready to head out in the morning, wrap a cold, but unfrozen bottle of water in a towel next to the frozen one. The iced bottle will keep the other one cool for a while, and by the time you finish that, the ice will have melted, leaving you with another bottle of cool water to drink.

2. Wear a Jacket
A mesh jacket will keep the hot sun off your arms which will keep you cooler than just wearing a t-shirt. And, of course, the protection it offers in a mishap goes without saying. If you wet down your t-shirt and put a mesh jacket on, the air passing through the mesh at even moderate speeds will keep you cool for a couple hours. The lightest colors are best in hot weather because they will reflect the suns rays, while black will absorb them.

summer motorcycle riding safety tips mesh jacket
Wearing a jacket that is made of mesh, or a blend of mesh and leather, like this Joe Rocket Ladies Hybrid jacket will keep the hot sun off your skin and air flowing.

Editor Genevieve Schmitts two cents: “I wear one of my wicking material hiking or working out shirts underneath my mesh jacket in the hot summer days and when I stop to get gas, I go into the restroom and take it off and soak it completely wet in cold water. The cold shock to my hot skin is momentary when I put the chilly wet shirt back on, but oh so worth it on those hot beastly days! I throw my mesh jacket on over it and then when Im riding the air flowing through the mesh acts like an air conditioner “cooling” me. The shirt is ready for another cold soak after about 80 miles, which for me is time for another rest stop. You should try this!”

3. Wear Pants
Don’t wear shorts (you should never wear shorts while riding). The same way a jacket will keep the sun from cooking your arms, the sun and engine heat will make you hotter with shorts on than if you wear light-colored jeans or mesh riding pants. [Editors note: Check out our advice on Kevlar jeans versus textile pants versus chaps here on WRN.]

4. Flush Out Alcohol
If you’ve consumed alcohol the night before a ride, drink plenty of water before you take off for the day, and double the amount of water you drink during the ride. Save the Miller time for when you get back home.

5. Sunscreen
Wear sunscreen on your face, neck, arms, and anywhere your skin is exposed. It helps to apply it before getting dressed, because the suns harmful rays can even penetrate some clothing. Remember to bring it with you and reapply throughout the day, especially on your face.

summer motorcycle riding safety tips sunscreen swipe
Apply sunscreen liberally, throughout the day to avoid sunburn. Here, WRN reader Shellie uses an Adventuress Sunscreen Swipe to protect her fair skin from the suns harmful rays. Read our review of Adventuress YouVee Sunscreen Swipes here that keep your hands from getting greasy while applying the sunscreen, and then visit Adventuress.coms website.

A little common sense, sunscreen, water, and proper riding gear goes a long way.

I have more than 285 safety tip videos on my YouTube site for you to enjoy and learn from. To see all my tips and video clips of actual riders going through my Ride Like a Pro classes in Hudson, Florida, go to YouTube and type in “Ride Like a Pro.” I know there will be something on my YouTube page to help not only you, but probably a friend or two as well.

Riding Right No More Wide Turns Jerry Palladino

About the Author

Jerry “Motorman” Palladino is the founder of Ride Like A Pro, Inc., a company that teaches advanced rider training classes, and produces motorcycle instructional DVDs and books. Jerry is a former motorcycle police officer who teaches riders the same skills that motor officers use when riding their motorcycles. His classes are aimed at experienced riders who want to enhance their motorcycle skills. Visit to learn more about the classes and to purchase and download digital copies of the DVDs.

Riding Right No More Wide Turns Ride Like A Pro banner

Related Articles
The First Ride of the Season
One Way to Avoid Dropping Bike: How Sick and Tired Can Teach You a Lesson

12 thoughts on Summer Motorcycle Riding Safety Tips

  1. Chapstick with SPF! Prevent sunburned lips!

  2. I know I like frequent sipping, so I take a Camelbak with ice-water on my rides. And if you aren’t plagued by humidity, an evaporative cooling vest beats a soaked regular shirt for cooling you off longer.

  3. I also have asthma and keep an inhaler in my windshield bag. When taking a road trip, I pack a toiletry bag and keep all my meds in there.Also, don’t forget Chapstick! It’s just as important to keep your lips from chapping either from the sun or from the wind. Thanks for the article. Good stuff!

  4. Very great information thanks for sharing. I belong to Women in the WindToledo, Ohio, Chapter.

  5. I used to wear a mesh jacket (and pants) until I spent the day riding through South Dakota in the 104 degree sun. Sunburn on my arms and thighs wasn’t fun. I bought an Aerostich Roadcrafter on that trip. Never looked back. I did wear the mesh gear once more, though. I took it along when we went to Thailand. Wore it for three weeks and left it there. Someone may get some use out of it.

  6. If you wear a full face helmet you can skip the sunscreen on your face. Clearly a do-rag will not protect you from the sun or anything else.

    1. Hi Sam,Actually, you can still get sunburn while wearing a full-face helmet. The sun easily penetrates through a face shield, although some these days offer a measure of UV protection, but none completely block out the sun. And I think you misinterpreted the image here. Shelly took off her helmet in order to apply the sunscreen.

  7. What tips can be given for asthmatics and diabetics? I’m type 2 diabetic and have asthma.

    1. Robin,We will post your question so those who may have suggestions can offer them up here in our comments section. Thanks for asking.

  8. Great article!Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Learned the hard way. Don’t forget the back of your hands like I did.We also have an all-ladies chapter here in Medicine Hat ,Alberta. We are Women in the Wind Desert Dolls.

  9. I ride in the extreme heat of Texas summers and it’s a challenge to stay cool. After experiencing heat exhaustion a few years ago, I found evaporative vests and carry one with me at all times along with a big baggie to soak it in. The benefit of the vest over wetting a shirt is the vest is filled with tiny crystals of sodium polyacrylate. The crystals soak up 100 times their weight in water so it takes a long time for them to dry out. This vest has kept me from overheating in 109-degree heat, quite a feat. I’ve found them both at Harley and metric dealers here in Texas. They are also available online.

  10. Really enjoyed this article. We have an all ladies chapter over here in the UK with 17 members. We are called Women in the Wind Wolf Spirit Chapter UK. We are on Facebook.

Scroll to Top