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Rand Rassumusen

Rand Rassumusen, SEDALIA:

A Primer Focused Mostly, but not Exclusively, on Riding and Camping in the Heat

One-Hundred-and-ten degrees. Fahrenheit! That’s what the thermometer affixed to my windshield says. Of course, that’s in the direct sunlight; but then, so am I. I mean, really, why would a motorcycle rider care what the temperature is in the shade? Late on this Missouri July afternoon the heat bears down on me with an almost physical weight. Even so, I can still tell when a blast of air has first made its way past a cylinder, and collected it’s extra heat before swooping up my leg and under my helmet carrying an extra furnace blast. I haven’t ridden in this kind of heat for a while—if ever. But it’s okay; I came prepared for exactly this. I had made my decision that I was going to attend the BMW MOA National this year, in Sedalia, MO heat be damned and, anyway, I know how to ride in heat.

TIPS for Beating the Heat:

Andy Goldfine, proprietor at Aerostich, is fond of saying that, when riding in heat (or cold for that matter) a rider must strive to create a “micro-climate.” That is, a smaller, more hospitable personal ecology in which to ride. People who live in desert nations have understood this for millennia, and it is the reason that we always see desert-dwellers in heavy clothing—which seems counter-intuitive, but is backed-up by much objective science and many years of experience. So, I revert to my own experience riding in heat. I drink lots—actually forcing water, juice and Gatorade; I re-wet my long-sleeved cotton T-shirt at every stop, and I wear a jacket to control the evaporation of my shirt. Controlled evaporation is the key to staying cooler longer. If you wet your t-shirt and wear nothing over it, it will feel really good…for about 10 minutes. But if you mute the evaporative effect with an over-jacket, and venting, you will feel quite-a-bit cooler for an hour or more. That is one of the reasons Aerostich suits are built the way they are, with so many venting options. I have also resorted, at times, to filling the pockets of my Aerostich with ice (a tip learned from my wife, Susan) and sucking on the remaining cubes for as long as they last. But, despite the forge-like heat, I seem to be okay with more basic measures today.

As important as the physical adjustments a rider must make when the riding conditions are uncomfortable, is a positive mental attitude. Pirsig was right when he contended that focusing on the discomfort, or worse, complaining, helps no one, and just makes it worse for everyone. I knew what I was getting into before I ever decided to attend this rally, and I chose to come anyway; so I have no one to blame but myself. Anyway, I am very much enjoying the ride—heat and all. My bike seems always to have a positive attitude, no matter the conditions. Right now, for instance. I am running up-hill at 75MPH, pulling my trailer in 110 degree heat, with nary a burp or stutter from the motor, and with speed and power to spare. It makes me wonder how this little 650cc motor can withstand this kind of heat and use. And not just to withstand it, but to handle it. I take a gas break/rest stop at the north end of St. Joseph, MO, and go through my routine: fill the tank, use the rest room, re-soak my shirt and buy lots to drink. If not almost to the rally site, I am at least close. It has been a good ride so far… Click Here…

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