Keeping your cool on the road when the weather heats up
Remember to rehydrate and take breaks to beat the heat on a motorbike
Lately, riding a motorcycle feels unbearable because of the wall of warm air hitting your face.
With the mercury hovering around the 35 deg C mark, fatigue may set in earlier when you ride long-distances or spend time at the circuit or dirt track.
But there are ways for you to keep your cool, said motorcycle racer Mah Kin Wai, who has10 years' experience in circuit and offroad racing.
Key to surviving the heat is preparation, said the 36-year-old, who will be participating in a Supermoto race in Kallang on Sunday.
Leading up to a race weekend, he consumes only water and juices while avoiding soft drinks and alcohol.
Said Mr Mah: "Staying cool is equally important for both disciplines (road and offroad racing) as it helps us to stay mentally sharp. If the heat gets to the rider, he or she might lose focus and make silly mistakes that could lead to serious consequences."
Getting enough rest should also be a priority, as well as starting a hydration regimen a week before any competition.
On the morning of a race, Mr Mah consumes more salt.
Despite wearing a full leather suit in circuit racing, heat issues are not as crucial compared to offroad competitions.
That is because the laps are shorter in circuit racing, and the higher speeds help cool the rider better.
But there are indicators that a rider is about to suffer a heat-related illness.
Among them is that light-headed feeling and the tingle in your fingers.
"Usually, when I find myself sweating a lot, I am susceptible to getting (heat) cramps," Mr Mah said.
"That is when I know the heat is getting the better of me."
On the circuit, the dangers of being overwhelmed by the heat include loss of concentration, poor judgement, cramps and inconsistent lap times.
The same dangers may arise while riding on the road in sweltering heat.
To beat the heat, riders can choose to ride when it is cooler, like in the early morning hours or in the evenings.
If you plan to go on a long ride, Mr Mah advises riders to take more breaks to rehydrate and improve blood circulation.
He said: "(Having more breaks) allows the rider to replenish fluids in his system. Also, constant riding in a fixed position may cause strain on the muscles."
In our hot and humid climate, it has always been hard to find a balance between protection and staying cool.
Dress for the weather and you will instantly feel "naked" in terms of protection.
But wearing a leather jacket in the middle of the day, gloves, riding boots and full face helmet could make you a candidate for heat stroke.
And when you are caught in a jam wearing such an ensemble, you will soon start to overheat like a sportbike with a broken radiator at a long traffic stop.
Said Mr Mah: "The best is to try to dress casual but still with the basic levels of protection like proper CE-approved helmet, ventilated riding jacket, jeans and covered shoes."