Motorcycling in warm weather: Only mad dogs and Englishmen ...

Go out in the mid day sun. Even for motorcyclists, the current state of affairs is a bridge too far. Yet we still see motorcyclists. Because we are currently inundated with Measures and Warnings in this country, we also bravely participate: 'Do not ride a motorcycle in this weather'.

We are not made for it

Our classics and our bodies are not designed for that. You would expect better from bodies because of the long development time and production. But our motorcycles are simply victims of the technical limitations of their time.

Dressed or almost naked? All solutions are wrong.

Over the past, warm summers, responsibly dressed motorcyclists have been caught by 'heatstroke'. There are those who have had heart attacks. If you do that while driving, it can of course end as with Ernest who immediately asked when he came to hospital: "How is my bike?"

Lounging around in shorts and T-shirt can also lead to discomfort without falling. The chance that after a pleasant ride in the evening you are shivering and in pain is due to sunburn. If the sunburn is severe enough, you may also experience symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, even palpitations and headaches. Before then you notice - perhaps too late - that your responsiveness has deteriorated due to the heat to that of a wet rag in a dark basement.

But even if you get a cremation sensation at a traffic light from the rising hot air from the block, you know that you are technically and physically in the danger zone.

Body vs technique

But that's all just physical discomfort. Our classic has it just as difficult in its own way. Because usually such a faithful survivor is not well equipped for these temperatures. The oil temperature can be in its danger zone. Then the lubrication is compromised. There is then a chance of a jam or 'jammer'. 'Vapor lock' can occur. Then gasoline vapor bubbles form in the fuel lines and the block really does not run on that vapor alone. Boxer riders may be amazed at the steadily rising flow of gas bubbles from the carburettors to the tank. And in the tank the volatile substances boil from the excise juice so quickly that changing water into wine only stands out in terms of sustainability. After all, we have to be economical with water? The 'boiled' gasoline can 'degenerate' to the point where it takes an infusion of fresh gasoline to get things going again.

Always at the wrong time

In the event of a breakdown, you will notice that it always occurs in the heat of the day, while you are stranded in a place with no shade. It is too hot to tinker on the spot. Fellow motorcyclists on modern motorcycles do not stop. And the fellow classic drivers are at home. The chance that a motorist will let you cool down in his air conditioner for half an hour is small. Your only hope is your home front or the WegenWacht. It will not tinker either. But if your engine goes on the scoop wagon, you can enter the cool cabin. With a little luck, the ANWB employee will have something to drink on board.

Once home it is too hot to tinker. Then grab a lager and 'Men, motorbikes and (some) girls'. Then you can wait in the shade for less summery weather.

Adaptation is the secret

But rides during the summer evening? If it is a degree on 25? Or if there has just been a summer shower (and the asphalt can be slippery)? That is great driving. So ultimately it is possible to steer. Then we'll just make it a later one. Cheers!

Reading material for in the shade


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  1. And then you conveniently forget about the radiant heat the block gives off and roast your shorts-clad legs.

    No; driving in these tropical temperatures is no fun ..

    • That's right, it is better to wear leather pants, it will make you less warm. I can't avoid driving completely because the motorcycle is my mode of transport. Learn, blow on, but even boots and gloves. No engine with cockpit in that case. Do not ask much of your bike and avoid traffic lights, it is not fun, but it is doable. The biggest problem I think is the helmet, I can imagine that they drive without a helmet in Budapest. (I was there a few times in the summer with 45 degrees). By the time you can no longer think, you are already running late.

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