Motorcyclists don’t often think about dehydration, primarily due to the fact that driving, physically speaking, does not constitute an overly difficult effort.
However, exposure to the wind and tropical heat can make us very vulnerable to dehydration on the road. Especially during long motorcycle tours.
Dehydration can lead to headache, disorientation, heat stroke, muscle cramps, loss of concentration, drowsiness and nausea, and ultimately to a road accident.
The problem is that when some of these symptoms become apparent, it’s often too late for any solution other than to park the motorcycle. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent dehydration from happening:
1. Reduce or avoid alcohol consumption
Do not overdo alcohol the night before driving (not to mention driving). Alcohol is a diuretic, that is, it causes you to expel more water through your urine than you have brought in. leads to fluid loss. If you try to solve it with a larger water intake, you will eject most of it with urination.
2. Drink a few cups of water upon waking up
As soon as you wake up, start sipping water until you get on the bike. It takes about half an hour for the water to reach your muscles. But also don’t overdo it before leaving as it can lead to stomach cramps. To avoid digestive issues it’s also recommended to drink while sitting rather than standing, especially if you’re consuming a lot of liquid at one time.
3. Wear clothing with good ventilation
The skin will better protect you in the event of an accident, but it creates a micro-climate that reduces your body’s ability to release heat. As a consequence, you will sweat more. However, regardless of the correct choice of clothing, it is important to follow steps 1 and 2.
4. Keep your jacket on
You may feel more comfortable with your jacked off, but the sweat will evaporate faster, leading to faster dehydration. Not to mention that you can burn in the sun, which can again lead to further dehydration.
5. Make frequent stops
Take stops and rest in the shade or in an air-conditioned place. If you have listened to our advice and drank enough fluid, this will be almost a necessity.
6. Reduce caffeine intake
Don’t drink too much coffee because caffeine has the same diuretic effect as alcohol. This also applies to energy drinks and green tea, both often containing a lot of caffeine. But you can get non-caffeine energy drink and green tea if you don’t want to give up on these drinks altogether.
7. Avoid sweets
Increased blood sugar levels can also lead to sweating and dehydration. If you suffer from diabetes, be sure to take your prescribed medication. Generally avoid sweetened beverages and fast-acting carbohydrates.
Since they lack fiber, these drinks and foods get digested very quickly and the sugar enters the bloodstream in a large amount immediately. Consume fiber-packed food instead, even if it means relying on fiber-dense energy bars.
8. Check your urine color
As a last resort, a dark urine color can be a good indicator of whether you are dehydrated. Ideally, urine is transparent or slightly yellow. This is one of the simplest ways to evaluate whether you’re properly hydrated, as our subjective perception often leads us away from the truth.
9. Manage your sodium intake
Sweating releases sodium, and its significant loss can lead to symptoms similar to dehydration. The average diet contains a lot of sodium. But if you’re on a low-sodium diet for health reasons perhaps you will need to slightly increase your sodium intake to maintain balance.
10. Always carry a bottle or two
Experienced motorcyclists will tell you that it’s crucial to bring water and food on long trips. Beginners who go on long rides often rely on regular stops, hostels, bars etc. But what if your bike breaks down in the middle of nowhere?
You don’t want to be left hungry and thirsty as you wait for help which may arrive only 24-48 hours after the event or even later. And who knows for how long you didn’t have a sip of water before any of that happened? Refill your bottle(s) on every stop and you’ll be much safer and more relaxed.
11. Get a motorcycle cup holder
This motorcycle cup holder from Amazon has been a game changer for me on both short and longer trips. It saves me space in the backpack and the time it would take to look for the bottle every time I need to take a sip. And on shorter trips it’s super convenient because I often don’t carry a backpack at all, so I can still bring a drink or two with me.
Final Word: How to Avoid Dehydration During Motorcycle Riding
By following these 9 tips you will avoid dehydration in almost any conditions. But in the event you experience any symptoms of dehydration, it is better to park the bike till you feel better than to risk getting into an accident.
Dehydration can make a motorcyclist feel fatigued, with a slowed down response to external stimuli, just like a drunkard. In case of severe dehydration a blackout and even death can ensue. This isn’t a laughing matter so be sure to always have a bottle or two in the bag even on shorter trips. Hope this helps!