Redneck A/C

motorcycle riding in the heat
The Red Neck Air Conditioner

We have all seen the pics before on social media and the videos on YouTube with redneck ingenuity. You have to admit, there are some very cool and funny stuff out there. One I kept hearing about was the redneck air-conditioning. Sounds funny. Sounds cool and sounds crazy enough that it just might work. In this heat, I had nothing to lose.

For several days I was riding with the “feels like” temperature hovering around 105 degrees. The heat from the asphalt and the engine probably raises the temperature another 5-10 degrees. With temperatures like that, after a few hours on the road you begin to second guess why you are even riding in the first place.

The redneck a/c is simply a bag of ice on the handlebars. Within seconds you feel the difference. Soon the ice ice starts to melt and the wind pushes sprinkles of ice water towards you. Ahh, you are in heaven. But, it’s hot! So in no time, the ice melts, ice cubes start falling out of the bag and you are out $2. How much do you wish to invest in bags of ice?

*****

I rode for about a week in intense heat on the way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Even at 5:30 p.m., the temperature was in the high 90’s if not triple digits. Yesterday in Miami, the temperature was 93 degrees and it wasn’t even 10 a.m.

While the Redneck Air-Conditioning works temporarily and I mean temporarily, you are better off lying in the shade and placing the bag of ice on your neck or on top of your head at your next rest stop. Or, just ride with the bag of ice underneath your shirt rather than on your handlebars. That’s too cold for me, but more effective.

*****

At the end of the day, the old tried and true methods still work best. I soaked my shirt in water whenever I stopped at a rest stop or gas station. A few times I even soaked my socks. That really helped and if I stopped at a gas station where the bathroom was located outside, I soaked my jeans as well. I also had a cooling vest from one of my sponsors Techniche Intl. Their motorcycle cooling vests help reduce your core temperature which is critical when riding this time of year.

Cooling vests are now common among construction workers and athletes; cyclists and joggers especially. The cooling vest is simple to use. Soak it in water for a few minutes, wring out excess water and put it on.

*****

Once I left Estes Park, Colorado and rode north towards Wyoming, motorcycles became more visible since most were riding out to Sturgis. I noticed by the license plates on the motorcycles that 99% of the bikers were not from “hot states” like Florida. They wore short sleeve black t-shirts which is never a good idea on hot days, no sunblock, and some weren’t even wearing helmets. I always ride with my helmet but it also adds another layer of protection when it comes to the heat.

And if it is hot, no black shirts for me. I stick to long sleeve micro-fiber shirts which helps keep me dry. Others had no shirts on, tank tops, and/or shorts. I always say I don’t care to look cool at 70 mph.

A mesh jacket like the one in the picture below also works well because it keeping your skin protected and air flows through. A liner is also available in case it rains but I rode it without the liner most of the time. This jacket is by Oxford Products.

best mesh motorcycle jackets, oxford motorcycle gear
Oxford Products USA

*****

Another thing I witnessed was the drink of choice of many seemed to be beer or sodas; neither a good choice. At every stop I was drinking two if not three bottles of water unless I had a large bottle of Gatorade which I usually drank every few stops and conveniently put in my right pocket. That’s why I prefer cargo pants for long rides.

As I neared my destination, I focused more on Gatorade to replenish my body with electrolytes. Take it from someone that loves the heat and spends plenty of time in it especially while golfing, skip the beer and sodas and stick to water. Nothing hydrates faster than water. At the end of your ride; Gatorade. When you are settled in, then enjoy your beer. Nothing is better than a well deserved cold beer after a long day of riding.

Stay cool!

MC Atty

 

#staykewl, summer motorcycle gear
Got Gatorade?

 

cooling vests, motorcycle riding gear
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2 thoughts on “Redneck A/C

  • August 31, 2015 at 12:04 pm
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    That’s a great ride you did. Thanks for posting. Riding the deserts is on my list. I didn’t know about the wind chill factor/formula. Will come in handy for many. Ride safe.

  • August 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm
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    Greetings M.C. Atty!
    I live at the edge of land on Pacific Coast. Temperatures here hover between 45 and 70F. Most of the time it is 64F. However just a few miles in land, once away from the effect of the coastal cloud cover the temperature soars to 90 or 105F. Thus temperature control while riding in my area is a tricky business. Dressing in layers is not practical so a touring jacket with vents and a supplemental cooling west are the two things that work around here.

    This year (2015) I went on a long trip across California deserts, Death Valley and on to Arizona, and Utah. In the hot desert heat I found that it is more bearable to have a layer of protection against hot wind vs riding in a T-shirt. The reason for that is the Wind Chill factor. Many people assume that Wind Chill always cools the body at higher wind speed. That is not true. The wind chill factor lowers the temperature only if the ambient temperature is below 74.8F. Anything higher than that and the wind chill is actually wind heat. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_chill. Plug the numbers in the formula and see for yourself. 65 mph 100 F = 111.5 F. So a face shield and a touring jacket that does not sit too tight is better than a set of closes that are tight fitting. And much much better than shirts and a T-shirt. I experimented in Death Valley at 120 F temps and it turned out that in Modular Helmet with closed face shield and a loose fitting touring jacket with open vents it felt survivable, while T-shirt and open face was unbearable. The best way was to dawn the cooling west soaked in water under the touring jacket and face shield closed.

    I agree 100% on Gatorade. Drinking beer to rehydrate and cool-off is plane dumb. Beer contains alcohol, and that is a dehydration agent. The 2 liters camel backpack used by cyclists proved to be fantastic. The first swig of the liquid is warm, but after that it is cool. Somehow it manages to stay cool in the heat for half a day on my back.

    Stay k00l

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