With the temperature rising, and summer just around the corner, already the hardier amongst us will be in shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops. Hopefully though, not when we are out riding our motorcycles.
The last thing any of us need at the beginning of the summer biking season, is to be hospitalised while the medics spend hours scraping bits of gravel, tarmac and road kill, from abrasions to our buttocks, torso, legs, arms, and hands. And that applies to pillion passengers as well as riders. In a worst-case scenario, it could also involve return visits for skin grafts or plastic surgery.
The summer months don’t just draw weekend or fair-weather riders to get the hog out of the garage. They also encourage a lot of four wheel drivers to venture further afield than just too work, the school run, or collecting the weekly shop. With more traffic on unfamiliar roads, the risk of vehicular accidents increases, and the risk of serious damage to skin and bone if you’re involved and not wearing protective clothing. This recent article is a case in point.
Gear-up for the summer
No doubt as a child growing up and learning to ride your first bicycle, you remember the skinned knees and elbows from those early learning tumbles – at four or five miles an hour. Whether you’re a new biker on a 200cc Honda, or an experienced rider on a 1200cc Kawasaki, hitting the deck at 30mph is going to cause a lot more damage if you’re not wearing decent summer biking gear.
The good news is, companies such as XLMoto offer lightweight summer motorcycle gear that can provide a high level of rider protection in the event of a biking accident. Biking jeans with a Kevlar lining can be bought. Lighter than full leathers, but reinforced in all the right places. Lighter motorcycle jackets are available which allow increased airflow through for those hot summer days. And lightweight gloves which don’t make your hands feel they are encased in a cauldron.
Although I wouldn’t recommend them except for the shortest of trips to the local shops, you can even buy biking shorts. Reinforced around the buttocks and thighs, and normally just off knee-length, they certainly provide greater protection than standard shorts. Nonetheless, even worn with calf length biking boots, the knee areas are totally unprotected in the event of an unforeseen. Not a nice way to lose your knee-caps.
Stay safe this summer
Although UK roads are amongst the safest in the world, there are still too many accidents and fatalities year on year. Of which the majority are down to driver/rider error. From the biker’s point-of-view, rural roads are likely to present more problems than motorways and dual carriageways. Excessive speed when entering right or left hand bends is a major cause of losing the bike, along with wet patches and gravel on shaded bends with high hedges.
While car occupants have a steel surround, seat belts and airbags to keep them protected, the biker just has what he or she is wearing. Make sure you have good motorcycling attire for this year’s planned summer days out in the saddle – and keep the shorts, tee-shirts and flip-flops – for the beach.