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.
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.