Many motorcyclists tend to think that motorcycle riding does not call for a huge amount of effort. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Obviously, to be able to focus on the road and to avoid any accidents, especially on a long-distance trip, you have to wear the right equipment.
In case you didn’t know, the wind has a drying effect on your body, and even wearing too thick clothing can make it difficult for you to keep your hydration body level on par. Another thing you might want to know is that dehydration doesn’t necessarily vary depending on the outside temperature. There are so many other factors that can lead to this, and we’ll do our best at detailing them below.
Keep in mind that although such cases are not frequent, there have been some where a motorcycle rider died of dehydration.
Why you need to avoid dehydration
Why is water so important? Well, your body needs it to be able to survive. Every tissue, cell, and organ needs water to function properly. Water is also necessary for regulating your body’s temperature, removing any toxic components (via urine), and even lubricating your joints. Water is an important ingredient if you want to be in good health all the time.
The general recommendation for an average sized individual is to drink anything between six and a half to eight glasses of water per day. One important note must be made in this sense, though, and it’s that if you weigh more than the average, you need a little more water to keep well hydrated. Not just water can help you with this – fruits and vegetables (especially the second) contain it, as well, and you can also use herbal tea or milk to hydrate, if you really don’t like it plain.
Sport drinks can be good for when you ride your motorcycle for a long time, and that’s because they also contain electrolytes, not just the liquid per se. Keep in mind that these might also contain quite a bit of sugar, and the last thing you might want when you’re on your bike for several hours at a time would be a glycemic imbalance.
How to tell if you’re getting dehydrated
There are some very simple signs that you can interpret to be able to tell whether you risk becoming dehydrated or maybe you already are, to some extent. If you don’t feel like going to the bathroom after you spent several hours on your bike, then that’s a telltale sign that you should drink some water. If your urine is darker than it usually is, you have a dry mouth, you’re suddenly feeling fatigued or sleepy, or extremely thirsty, you have to get hydrated.
When there isn’t enough water in your body, you can also experience confusion, headaches, lightheadedness, or dizziness. No motorcyclist wants to get dizzy while riding, so keep that in mind.
Something else we would like to add is that your body’s natural ability to tell when it needs water decreases as you age. If you’re an older adult, it might be more difficult for you to sense dehydration. Your brain actually finds it harder to receive signals for thirst.
Can you treat dehydration by yourself?
Dehydration is somewhat of a general term, meaning that the one that calls for medical treatment is actually pretty severe. Sure, you can prevent it and make sure that you treat it as soon as you realize that you might be exposed to the problem. You can do so by drinking water, consuming clear broths, having a popsicle, eating Jell-O, or drinking some sport drinks.
Fluid replacement is always the go-to treatment for dehydration, and medically, it can be attempted by mouth, but if it fails, you’d have to receive fluids intravenously.
We’re assuming that you didn’t hop on your bike if you were experiencing diarrhea or vomiting, because you should never do that. These manifestations can seriously dehydrate you, and aside from feeling bad, you will also have to make stops quite often to deal with the problem. Another situation when you should never ride your motorcycle is if you have a mild fever or you’re feeling like you’re coming down with the flu.
People do not realize that dehydration can have some severe consequences, some of which are downright horrific. Dehydration can lead to kidney failure, shock, coma, heat-related illnesses (heat stroke is just one of them), and various electrolyte imbalances.
Avoiding dehydration in a heat wave
We prepared some tips for you if you plan on taking a long-distance trip on a hot summer day. We hope that you will find them useful.
- Avoid drinking alcohol the evening before you leave for your trip. You could consume small amounts, but you have to know that it has a diuretic effect, so it will actively lower the water levels in your body and you’ll be dehydrated when you wake up. Depending on the amount of alcohol you’ve ingested, you might not feel capable of riding your bike until it’s way past noon, so it would actually be better to avoid drinking the night before altogether.
- Drink plenty of water before getting on your bike. Here’s where some motorcyclists make a mistake, because they tend to drink a lot right before hopping on their bike. You don’t have to do that – drink several small amounts at different hours of that morning.
- Don’t wear leather apparel. Leather’s great for when it’s cold outside, but it can get you very hot on a summer day. It’s not particularly breathable, either, so if possible, we suggest choosing a synthetic pair of gloves and a jacket made from a similar material, both of which have to have some breathability features.
- Remove your jacket in the shade. If you’ve stopped for gas and the sun’s shining brightly in the sky and the temptation of taking off your jacket is huge, you might want to do it in the shade to avoid getting sunburnt.
- Drink water even when you’re riding. While you might argue that you’re going to make a stop every now and then, we all know how exciting riding can get, and you’ll end up doing it for several hours without even realizing it. You can use a water dispensing unit to have a sip every now and then.
Finally, it would be a good idea if instead of packing on donuts or other types of pastries, you’d choose healthier snacks and foods when taking breaks for lunch. No one’s going to ask you to eat a light salad, especially after being focused on the road for so long, but it wouldn’t hurt if you avoided foods that are overly sweet or packed in carbs or refined sugar. Sugar forces your kidneys to produce more urine than they usually do.