1: Although it’s hot (or at least it is if you’re very lucky in the UK) and the temptation to go all ‘Mediterranean’ is very appealing think carefully before you cast off those protective items. Shorts and t-shirts look cool, scabs and mangled limbs don’t.
2: Instead of ditching your usual protective kit altogether, consider using some lighter summer gear instead. Summer gloves and ventilated jackets make a massive difference to your comfort without compromising safety.
3: Kevlar jeans are an item every rider should own; with abrasion resistant fabric, as well as knee and hip armour they protect your delicate skin and keep you cooler than ordinary textiles.
4: An open-faced helmet may look the part on certain machines but if you get hit in the face by a massive puss filled insect at speed you’ll know about it. As will your face and chin if you’re unlucky enough to part company with your machine. A well ventilated full-faced or flip fronted lid is recommended on any bike or scooter.
5: Trainers don’t have a great lot of protection built in but there are plenty of smart and casual sneakers and boots around made especially for riding. They come with CE approved protection, are comfortable and often waterproof as well.
Summer riding tips
1: If you’re riding in a group don’t get drawn into riding faster than your capabilities allow. Ride for yourself, to your own skill level and you’ll enjoy yourself more and live longer.
2: Summer is the perfect time to practice and improve your riding skills. Maybe you struggle with certain bends, can’t do a U-turn, worry about busy town riding or just want to make your riding faster and smoother. Practice makes perfect so get out and enjoy riding whilst it’s warm enough to just ride aimlessly. Riding the same bend over and over again will work wonders for your confidence. Don’t get overconfident though!
3: Summer can throw up a few odd things, one to be especially wary of is loose gravel on freshly resurfaced roads. You’ll often find piles of gravel mid corner, just at the place where you don’t want it, so adjust your speed and be ready to alter your positioning before leaning into the bend. If you keep the bike as upright as possible, don’t do any harsh braking and make everything as smooth as possible you’ll be fine. Tensing up and panic braking is the worst thing you can do. If you’re stiff the bike won’t go where you want it to go.
4: Believe it or not we sometimes get heavy rain during summer in the UK. When it’s been dry and it rains suddenly the road surface gets all the dust washed into it and becomes greasier than usual. Again smooth riding is the key, show rain you’re afraid of it and it’ll bite. Relax; adjust your positioning through corners for a straighter line than usual to keep the bike upright and go with the flow. Try to avoid painted white lines and slippery manhole covers. Riding in the rain can be as much fun as in the dry if you learn how to make the most of it.
5: Use clues to help you predict what’s around the corner. If you smell freshly cut grass, or see soil and muck on the road there could be a grass cutter or tractor moving slowly ahead. A smell of diesel or tell-tale black oily marks on the road could mean there’s a diesel spill, better to be safe than sorry…
Above all else though get out there and ride, no matter what capacity, where you live or what you ride the summer months are a fantastic time so make the most of them whilst it lasts…
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.