On 11 January 2021, as my digital gauge creeps closer to 40c in Melbourne today, I’m reminded of how I survived a freeway ride yesterday in +35C. Hopefully, this is valuable to you.

  • Frequent stops for hydration are a must
  • If you’re not peeing you’re not properly hydrated
  • Shady areas away from the blazing bitumen are ideal, a ridge is best or a thicket/forest section
  • If your lips feel dry you are likely dehydrated
  • If you have stopped sweating and it’s a hot day you are likely nearing seriously dangerous territory, stop, cool down and hydrate as much as possible, you are likely entering heatstroke territory and your brain and body can and will eventually simply shut down
  • Plain water is preferable to sugar-laden carbonated drinks; Gatorade/Powerade with the added sodium can be useful though
  • Yesterday I had a swim in the Licola river to cool off and I’ve swum in the Mitta Mitta to Omeo river several times, bathing suit not needed, you do wear dark coloured undies don’t you :) air drying afterwards is lovely
  • Soak your T-shirt in water, bonus points for your back and chest protectors, as you ride the water will cool you down through evaporation
  • For extra bonus points when filling up, stick your lid in the ice chest found at many service stations and revel in the bliss as you ride off
  • If you don’t have comms gear in your lid, fill it with water too then open the vents for that evaporative cooling effect
  • Splash water over your face, arms, exposed bits etc
  • Fill your boots/gloves with water and your leathers too 

These are suggested starting points for staying cool in the heat. Remember though that if it’s too hot to ride, it’s too hot to ride; never skimp on your personal protection.

YMMV but these are some of the tactics I use. Remember that if you start to overheat then your cognitive powers will decline, markedly so and without you realising it. Use “dry lips” as an indicator.

On the pee front, the colour can help tell how hydrated you are. A dark yellow means you are potentially dehydrated and the clearer it becomes the more hydrated you are – beware the effects of a morning Vitamin C leaving your body as that can make your pee fluorescent.