Monday, April 12, 2010

Desert Riding and the Issue of Water

Heat has returned to Phoenix. This afternoon, I hate to admit, we had to turn the air conditioner on so we could work in the back room of our house. Our home has a western exposure, and the bedrooms turn into ovens in the afternoon.

Yesterday, we went out for a quick walk along a trail in the desert (I hate to call it hiking) with some friends. I brought two liters of water in my backpack. Lady Luck and I managed to drink half of it while we were out walking.

The desert sucks moisture right out of you. You lose water from breathing, sweating, and I think some of it just up and leaves. Dehydration is a real danger, especially for bikers and other people stuck exerting themselves in the sun.

To be honest, once the peak heat of summer hits, I don't ride much unless I'm commuting or it's dark out. On quick little rides, one can sort of get away with not having a water supply. It's stupid, but I've gotten away with not carrying water because water is readily available at either end of the trip. I'm planning to do some motorcycle camping this summer, and a long trip up to Colorado in the end of June. Those will be significantly longer rides. I'm not going to be able to avoid the heat, it seems.

As a man with, uh, a very active cooling system, I'm going to need significant amounts of water handy to keep from getting dehydrated. I've been considering investing in some dromedary bags. I suspect a few of you use them and maybe even like them. Which ones are well-suited to motorcycling? Do you carry them on your back, or in a tank bag?