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Old 2 Days Ago
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Death Valley Fatality

For anyone who hasn't heard, a motorcyclist died (and a companion was hospitalized) due to overheating while riding in Death Valley, California a couple of days ago. I haven't heard any details, but apparently they were among a group of six riding together--the four others in the group were treated on the scene and released.

High temperatures over the weekend were around 129F/54C. Bear in mind that these are official temps, taken in full shade a certain height above the ground, and that unshaded temps on asphalt would have been much higher.

I'm not here to lecture or to argue the relative dangers of various stuff you might do on a motorbike. I'm merely suggesting that anyone tempted to ride down for a selfie next to the Furnace Creek thermometer consider the possibilities should something go wrong.
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Many many years ago, when I went through Death Valley (in an air-conditioned car), all the travel books and advice about it said how no local or well-researched traveller goes there in the summer - you go there from October to March, when it's still hot but bearable, and the summer is only for dumb tourists looking for extreme experiences.

Would be enlightening to know what kind of motorcyclists these were... maybe dirtbikers? But my gut feeling tells me it was likely Harley people riding around in shorts and sandals and protective eyeglasses.
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It doesn't matter who the riders were, folks on tour on Harleys or dirt bike riders. One needs to take extreme temperatures seriously, be prepared, and know the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. This is an excellent article from the Iron Butt Association about how the body works when riding in extreme heat. Definitely worth a read or three for anyone riding a motorcycle:
Riding in hot weather

Don't use mesh gear when the air temperature exceeds your skin temperature!

Last edited by LD Hack; 1 Day Ago at 03:41.
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