Many people - and not entirely without justification- see motorcycle as a seasonal pleasure. The combination of a motorcycle and adverse weather conditions during the winter is not the best combination possible.
In the summer, however, bikers have to face a series of problems that are more important than those in winter.
As bikers are directly exposed to high temperatures, they have to take care so as to make up losses of liquids frequently and in advance. Thirst is the first indication of de-hydration, which in its turn affects adversely the clarity of thought, reflexes, and ability to concentrate.
Due to the heat, many bikers cut down on the gear they use. They leave their jacket at home, drive wearing sandals and do not even wear their helmets. However, helmets, apart from providing protection in case of accident, they also offer excellent protection from the sun rays. A dark visor protects the eyes from blinding light, exhaust fumes, dust and all kinds of particles in the air, even insects.
As to jackets, you can easily find in the market special summer models which allow the free circulation of air and so the biker does not feel warm and does not perspire. They cover the surface of the body and what is more important, they have all the protective additions (for the elbows, the shoulder, the back) .
The same is true with gloves, where a light, ventilated, but providing complete protection pair of gloves, is preferable to the naked hand which is continuously sweating.
The same is true of the biker’s legs. The least we can do, is not to leave biker’s legs uncovered by wearing shorts, bermuda shorts etc. If you think it is too much to wear boots or anything that covers the ankles – although it is necessary - you should always avoid wearing any kind of sandals. Sports shoes are the “lighter” kind of footwear bikers should use.
The most important element of a motorcycle is its tyres. Tyres are the parts that are severely tested during the hot summer months. They get dry and hard and lose their properties. In any case tyres should be replaced every autumn, after the summer period. In this light, if at the beginning of the summer they are still in a passable condition, it makes no sense to change them, because you will have to change them again after the summer period. Moreover, given the condition of asphalted road surfaces in the summer months, a change of tyres does not make much difference. Of course, if the tyres are worn-out, we have to change them, especially if we are going on a long journey on our bike, covering hundreds of kilometres. As the hot asphalt raises tyre temperatures more than any other period of the year, we recommend that you should increase tyre air pressure by 2 psi, so as to reduce over-heating.
Changing the oil in your engine at the beginning of the summer is very important for your bike. Before any big jaunt, it is highly recommended to have your bike serviced, checking the radiator and brake fluids, your breaks, the transmission chain, your carburettor and valves and all the lights and lamps of your motorcycle.
Attention!! From the day of your visit to the garage to the beginning of your vacations you should allow at least a weak to pass, so as to be sure that there was no failure or omission in the servicing. Avoid leaving your motorcycle out in the sun if you are not using it, as this leads to the drying up of its rubber parts and controls, to the aging of paint and to the altering of colours of plastic parts.
In addition, it is a good idea to have always in your machine the following items:
A stick or a special ointment for wasp or bee stings.
Some anti-sceptic handkerchiefs from a pharmacy to be used in the event of scratches.
An ointment for burns. A burn from the exhaust on a naked leg is very unpleasant during the summer when we go to the sea and are exposed to the sun.
A tyre puncture repair kit does not take much space in your luggage, but will allow you to continue your trip until the first service-station.
A list with emergency telephones in the area you are visiting. It only takes a short visit to some tourist office to get such a list, or even a telephone for information, before starting your journey. The list should include the numbers of the Police, Hospital, Pharmacy, Tourist Police and harbour-master’s office.
This article is reproduced from the informative bulletin of 'Αttiki Odos', July 13 issue, July 2007.