Back in 2002, GlobeBusters were in the middle of their Fastest Circumnavigation of the World by Motorcycle record attempt when they encountered the hottest day of their trip.
Riding through Turkey and into the isolated state of Iran, they had gone from cold mountain passes to baking desert in a single day – where temperatures hit 30°C at 6am, making dehydration a real risk as the day wore on.
Writing in the December 2015 edition of RiDE Magazine, Julia Sanders explains just how quickly these problems can arise when undertaking a long overland journey, and how best to combat them.
The first problem Julia had was that she had to cover up more than normal, wearing a long black manteau and head scarf as well as her bike gear, as Iran is dominated by Shia Islam. With Julia riding pillion, husband Kevin was also acting as a windbreak, with a pocket of still, warm air building up between them – the only option was to move back in her seat a little to try and get the air flowing again.
With the temperature rising, and unable to drink anymore water without finding a toilet, not an easy task in the middle of the desert with no shelter for miles and cars driving past, things were getting desperate.
Eventually the pair found some rocks by the roadside which were casting a shadow, but as soon as they stopped the bike, traffic started to stop too, in order to find out what was going on with the big bike on foreign plates.
With people crowding around them, Julia had to try and cool down whilst remaining covered up, drinking water and feeling drained, with dehydration and heat stroke both taking their toll.
The air cooled BMW GS also generated a lot of heat coming off the engine, and 13 years ago there were no venting systems or modern airflow suits to try and help you stay cool. The pair also avoided the temptation to take off their riding jackets. If you ride showing bare flesh, you actually dehydrate quicker, and leave yourself open to the risk of some pretty bad sunburn too.
Pouring bottles of water over your head, on your t-shirt, and even in your helmet is no substitute for preparing yourself and buying the correct gear!
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