The open road is a beautiful thing. When you can let the engine roar and embrace the wind in your face, there isn’t a better feeling in the world.
It’s not just the experience of summer riding that makes owning a motorcycle addictive. I love how the United States offers so many different attractions to discover. Whether you’re headed to Sturgis for the first time or traveling to a favorite destination, there is always something to do.
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My favorite summer trip happened in 2001. After thinking about a move to Phoenix, my family and I took a long ride from Des Moines to see if the city’s vibe worked for us. We went through Nebraska, saw New Mexico’s roadside attractions, and drove through White Sands before enjoying a week in Arizona.
We didn’t make the move, but we still talk about that trip and the time we spent together.
Preparing for the experience before hopping in the saddle is essential if you’re planning a summer road trip. When you ride under a hot sun, you can get tired and dehydrated surprisingly fast.
Table of Content
- Preparations Before Riding a Motorcycle for the First Time in Summer
- How to Stay Cool on a Motorcycle During a Hot Day?
- What Gear Should I Use When Riding My Motorcycle in Summer?
- Hottest Cities and States Where You’ll Love Riding a Motorcycle
- How to Manage Your Bike After a Hot Ride?
Preparations Before Riding a Motorcycle for the First Time in Summer
When you’re getting ready for a summer ride, having a “back to basics” moment with your motorcycle is important. Become familiar with the controls if you’ve been out of the saddle for a bit. Think about how you start and stop, shift gears, and turn.
Visualize yourself going into curves and navigating highway conditions.
Once you’re comfortable with the bike, it helps to inspect your safety gear thoroughly. Your helmet, gloves, jacket or body armor, and boots should be in good condition.
Try on everything to ensure the kit fits correctly. Those winter pounds don’t melt away as fast as you remember as you get older, so it doesn’t take much sometimes to need a size up from what you expect.
Similar steps are necessary with your motorcycle. Check the tires, brakes, lights, and fluids. The one step I’ve found most casual riders forget is the chain, ensuring it is adequately lubricated.
Consider planning the route you intend to take on your summer road trip ahead of time. Try to stick to places you’re familiar with so that you can request help if something unexpected happens. Roadside assistance through your motorcycle insurance is helpful in those situations.
Finally, I highly recommend riding with an experienced partner who can offer guidance if you’re new to motorcycles or support on your trip.
How to Stay Cool on a Motorcycle During a Hot Day?
Riding motorcycles during the summer is always fun but can also be uncomfortable during the hot summer. These ideas can help you to stay cool!
- Dress for the Occasion. Wear light-colored, breathable clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Avoid dark colors that absorb heat, and wear motorcycle-specific gear with ventilation and mesh panels. A visor or face shield helmet can also help protect your face from the sun.
- Stay Hydrated. Try to consume plenty of water before and during your ride. It helps to have a refillable water bottle to use while on the trip. Avoid energy drinks and sugary beverages to avoid excessive fluid loss from sweat while in the saddle.
- Use Cooling Products. A vest or neck wrap with cold packs help to regulate body temperatures while riding. Look for options that include evaporative cooling for the best results.
- Take a Break. If you start feeling too hot, pull over and take a break in a shaded area. Rest for a few minutes and drink some water to cool down before continuing your ride.
When summer temperatures soar, riding early in the morning or later in the evening is typically better. The late afternoon hours tend to be the hottest of the day, so pay attention to the forecasts between 10 am and 4 pm to ensure you’re comfortable with the expected temps.
It might only be 60 degrees on a mountain, but you can still get burned if there is exposed skin. A waterproof 50 SPF sunblock or higher is something I highly recommend packing for any trip during the summer that foes beyond 15 minutes.
What Gear Should I Use When Riding My Motorcycle in Summer?
When riding a motorcycle in the summer, it’s essential to select gear that protects you from seasonal heat and potential injuries in case of an accident. Here are some of my favorite low-cost necessities that help me stay cooler during a summer ride.
Remember to choose gear specifically designed for motorcycle riding, as it will provide the best protection and comfort on the road. Stay safe, and enjoy your summer ride!
Hottest Cities and States Where You’ll Love Riding a Motorcycle
Summer is perfect for travel, so I take my motorcycle to see many cities and states yearly. Every destination delivers something incredible to experience! These are some of my favorite options I enjoy whenever possible.
Riding in California
I love this state’s beautiful coastal highways, mountain roads, and year-round sunny weather. It’s the perfect destination for motorcyclists. California’s best places to ride include the Pacific Coast Highway, Angeles Crest Highway, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In SoCal, you can even enjoy a comfortable January ride.
Day Trips in Florida
You can’t go wrong with the warm weather, long coastline, and scenic routes. I love traveling along the Keys, the Gulf Coast highways and exploring Daytona Beach. There’s something about the combination of sunshine and salty air that makes it feel like I can accomplish anything while on my bike.
Motorcycle Trips in Texas
I love Texas because you’ll find long stretches of open roads and wide-open spaces where you might not see another driver or rider for a hundred miles. Big Bend National Park and the beautiful Hill Country are my favorite places to explore.
There’s also the El Paso Lower Valley Mission Trail, and you can always find something fun to do while spending time in downtown San Antonio with its Riverwalk.
Summer Rides in Colorado
If you’re not a big fan of exceedingly hot temperatures like me, consider spending the summer on your motorcycle in Colorado. The mountains drive down the temps by up to 30 degrees. The best stops I’ve discovered include Telluride, Glenwood Springs, and Georgetown. It’s also lots of fun to roar up the road to Pikes Peak.
An underrated drive in Colorado is on I-70 between Eagle and Grand Junction. You’ll go through two winding canyons with many hiking trails and exploration opportunities. As you travel west, stop for peaches in Palisade.
The New York State of Mind
New York isn’t always the first state that comes to mind for motorcycle riders, but it offers some beautiful routes and scenic views that I adore. Try visiting the Finger Lakes, Catskill Mountains, and the Adirondacks to feel like you’re a million miles away from everything.
A North Carolina Summer
You can find some of the most scenic routes along the East Coast in North Carolina. My favorite choices are the Tail of the Dragon and the Blue Ridge Parkway, but you can travel from the coast to the mountains to find a new destination to love.
You’ll discover charming diners, camping options, and friendly hospitality awaiting your arrival. My secret to success in finding a dive that makes a great burger? A run-down exterior with a modern kitchen in the back.
Embrace the Arizona Heat
Although it gets a bit hot, the summer drive between Tucson and Phoenix is still breathtaking. If you love desert landscapes and bring enough fluids, the experience is incredible! I appreciate how you can ride into the mountains, take a day (or a week?) to explore the Grand Canyon and find wide-open spaces with only dirt tracks to follow.
Tips for Having a Safe and Successful Ride
The best tip I can share for riding in the summer is to stay alert and sober. I have seasonal allergies, so it only took one ride while feeling like I wanted to sleep to stop doing that forever. Whether you grab a few drinks or use other stuff, ensure you care for yourself and others on the road.
Here are some other thoughts to help you have a fun and safe adventure this summer (and many more!) on your motorcycle.
- Conduct Pre-Ride Safety Checks. Before setting out, check the condition of your motorcycle, including brakes, tires, lights, and fluids. Make sure everything is working correctly and is in good condition.
- Maintain a Safe Distance. Keep plenty of room between yourself and other vehicles. I like to practice mirror sighting. I know they can see me if I can see the car’s side mirrors in front of me.
- Ride Defensively. Always assume that other drivers on the road may not see you or be paying attention to your surroundings. Keep scanning for potential hazards and be prepared to react quickly.
- Follow the Rules. Motorcyclists follow the same rules as other drivers, including turn signals and speed limits. Weaving and lane splitting, even if allowed, create more opportunities for something to happen. Use your discretion and operate within the traffic laws.
- Be Prepared for the Weather. Summer weather can turn quickly and unexpectedly. It helps to pack rain gear, lightweight items for hot days, and other items you prefer when challenging conditions exist.
Even though it helps to plan a trip and know what to expect, you can still book time for spontaneous adventures. If you’ve got two or three hours to kill, hop on the bike and see what is around the area. Then pack your gear and head out to the next destination on your itinerary!
How to Manage Your Bike After a Hot Ride?
After a hot ride, properly caring for your motorcycle is vital to keep it running smoothly and avoid potential damage. I’ve compiled these steps from my riding experiences to help manage things so it’ll be ready for another summer trip soon.
- Let your motorcycle cool down for a few minutes. Turn off the engine and let it idle for a minute or two outside, then turn off the ignition and let it sit for another few minutes.
- The engine can get very hot during a ride, so checking the coolant once the bike has cooled down is essential. You should see the levels between the minimum and maximum marks.
- Take a second to check your oil levels. Pull out the dipstick, take a clean paper towel to wipe it, then reinsert it before pulling it out again to receive an accurate reading.
- Inspect the tires and check your brakes for potential damage.
- As a final step, it helps to take some time to clean your motorcycle after a hot summer trip. Use mild soap and water to remove the accumulated dirt and grime, then dry everything with a soft towel. Don’t apply cold water to hot surfaces as they could expand to cause damage or emit hot steam.
Summer motorcycle rides have created some of my favorite memories with friends and family over the years. It’s a chance to see new sites, explore unique cities, or get off the grid for a few days. Taking the time to plan your adventure while caring for yourself and your bike makes it more likely that everyone and everything will come home safely.
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