Hunkering down at a Burger King in Baker California after having driven the 6o miles between Barstow and Baker. It was a horrible ride. There was a 15 mile long rolling traffic jam on I- 15, stop and go traffic and the temperature was over 100. Here in Baker now it’s 113 degrees/45 degrees Celsius. For the record. Motorcycles do not have air conditioning. A lady asked me once in a Memphis hotel elevator when I was in my biker gear, carrying my helmet, sweating up a storm: “Is your air conditioner broken?” I was too tired to respond so I just nodded.
Also, most bike engines are air cooled, which means you have to be riding to cool the engine down. Sitting in traffic on a hot day the bike can easily overheat. So can you. You’re sitting on a motorcycle with a 1600 cc engine that’s pouring the heat out.
So you want to keep moving. But then you have a traffic jam. Fortunately, California allows white lining or lane splitting. That’s when you have two (or more) lanes of cars moving in the same direction and you ride on the white line between the cars. Cars are required by law to give motorcyclists room for this maneuver. You mainly do it when cars are stopped or are slow moving. I rarely do it because it scares the bejesus out of me. I only get up to around 25-30 miles per hour when I’m doing it but it saved me today. If only there hadn’t been 15 miles of it I had to ride through.
When you find yourself finally free of the traffic and start to speed up then you have another problem. Initially, the wind cools you down. But when temperatures climb above 95 degrees only evaporative cooling (sweating) works and too much wind actually becomes a bad thing. When the increasing wind speed uses up your sweat a reversal takes place and you actually begin to get hotter. It begins to feel like someone is blowing a hair dryer on you. My fingers got it the worst. I had fingerless gloves on and my fingers were burning. Had to alternate taking my hands off the handle bars to hide them from the wind so they would cool down. Whole lotta fun!
But now, I’m a happy boy. I’ve drunk three large glasses of iced water and had an ice cream cone. Amazing what an ice cream cone can do! Unfortunately, even though it’s after 5 pm now the temperature has climbed to 114 degrees and I have about 170 miles to go to my motel room. And tomorrow is supposed to be hotter! Well, we’ll see how things go. Safe riding to you. Happy Father’s Day.