[Elist] summer rides

John Del Santo mcbwaycool at yahoo.com
Mon Apr 18 16:12:55 PDT 2011

by John Del Santo
We’re spending a lot of time on the road, and Loving it !  Knees in the Breeze !  The weather is fine, but there are still hazards around.  Summer temperatures overheat tires and batteries….Are yours in good shape and not too old ?  How’s the tire pressure ?  Many people who are broke down on the shoulder of the road are struck by cars….That can be a Major Bummer on a nice day.  The heat also affects the tires of other vehicles.  Even though you will see big pieces of truck tires, “Road Gators,”  on the road all year long  there will be a lot more during the hot weather.  Point down to give the “road hazard” signal to riders following you. 
Group Rides can be fun.  We should be considerate of any riders with us who are less experienced…They may try to stay up to the speed of the pack even if it is beyond their ability. Breaking the pack into two groups, with the less experienced riders in the rear pack, works.  Each pack should have several of your best riders bringing up the “back door” so they can keep an eye on the group and one of them can drop out to assist anyone with  problems.  Ideally, they should have cel phones and phone numbers of the Lead Rider.  Bikers don’t desert their comrades.  Everyone should know the exact destination you have planned so they can find you if they need to drop back.
Summer riding pulls a lot of water out of our system.  You can ride naked if you choose, but the more skin you have exposed, the more dehydration will occur.  For extreme hot weather riding, some people soak their shirts with water, and then put a dry jacket on over the shirt….this helps keep the body temperature much lower, kind of a “Swamp Cooler” effect.  
 Taking frequent breaks is a good way to stay well watered, or our reflexes and reaction can drop off just when we need them most.  If we stop to fill up our tanks, and someone doesn’t  need to use the restroom…that’s someone who is probably dehydrated.  “Just a cuppla cold ones”  sounds good….but beer is a diuretic that will drain more out of our system than it puts in.  Heat Exhaustion is serious stuff that can make us feel like just stopping and laying down next to the road and going to sleep.  Maybe forever.  Drink!  Drink!  Water and Sports drink, Get in someplace cool,  dump water on your head and down your shirt, rest….Because next in line comes the worst… Heat Stroke… which can worsen from heat exhaustion with little warning.   The body’s temperature-control stops working….Feeling  hot dry skin, severe headache, exhaustion, hallucination. THERE IS AN IMMEDIATE POSSIBILITY OF DEATH.     First call 911
  Move the victim to a cool place,  douse with water, fan breeze onto the victim.  If we act quickly and correctly,   maybe we can prevent permanent brain damage or death.  Once someone has suffered a heat-related illness,  the chances of it happening again in the future are higher.
Do you see someone parked on the side of the road,  off their bike, jumping around doing the “Bee Dance” ?  If you have (“non-drowsy”) Antihistamines in your First Aid kit,  it could help them out.  Is there anyone on the run with special medical problems ?....They should tell at least one other rider about it.  There are many riders who will be carrying a small First Aid kit, and the Leader should know who in the group is qualified for CPR.   We don’t go around looking  for trouble (most of the time) but it’s nice to be prepared.
So….. Enjoy the weather and the road and the company of good people. 
Ride Free, and ….Ride Safe !
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