It was a good idea at the time. Arrange a group ride from her base in the Wollongong area, to Wisemans Ferry, west of Sydney. There are some nice riding roads out around there. Unfortunately though, mother-nature stepped in with some unexpected hot weather. It was still November, but already the area had seen some days more typical of the middle of Summer rather than late Spring; and this was to be another one of them.
The forecast temperature for the Wollongong area was for high 20s, which would be quite nice, but it ended up over the 30 mark. However the areas west of Sydney, which are always hotter than coastal regions, had forecasts for temperatures in the low 30s. So it was going to be hot out that way, but still tolerable. However on the day the temperature ignored the forecast and soared into the 40s! Sharon tells what happened.

Well the planned ride to Wisemans Ferry didn't make it all the way to Wisemans Ferry! Unfortunately I became unwell between Narellen and Windsor and had to pull over a couple of times due to dizziness and tingling in my hands and feet.
It came on quite quickly. We had a stop at the servo at Narellen for a cold drink and to meet riders, and there had been no problems up to there. But as we got further west it became hotter, and sitting at every light on red most likely finished me off. As it turned out, the temperature far exceeded the temperature that had been forecast and I hadn't experienced such heat before so wasn't prepared for it. I had to pull over.
When I was able to ride again we stopped at the next servo and it was suggested that instead of continuing on, we could go back to the Wallacia pub which was also near to some friends’ place, just in case I needed that. I had a real conflict of emotions about not carrying on; and also being conscious that each time we stopped, everyone else was suffering from the heat. A few riders continued on to Wisemans Ferry, some called it quits and went home, and some of us went back to the pub.
Just before we reached the pub I had to stop again. This time I was also losing feeling in my right leg, and had to stop whilst I could still operate the brake. A friend helped me off the bike as I couldn't lift my leg off it.
A bit more recovery time. I had to lie down for a while with my feet raised up, before managing the last few kms to Wallacia pub.
I still didn’t come good properly at the pub and when we did finally leave I only made it to the Narellen servo and knew I couldn't continue. My friend who lived nearby rode home and fetched his ute, then his wife drove me to their place while he rode my bike there. They looked after me with cold drinks and something to eat until I came good and the weather had cooled down.
I was so thankful to all of the amazing members of our group that looked after me. I was so sorry for spoiling the ride. The heat had never got to me before in the 27 years I have lived here in Oz, but from what I heard later, temperatures got up to 44 degrees on the ride when we got out West!
I pushed myself as far as I could possibly go on that ride, and now I know my limitations in the heat. When I lost the use of my right leg and just managed to stop before I would no longer be able to use the brake, that was very frightening; and I had to be helped off the bike and lie down for quite a while. I was still a bit shaky a couple of days later, so it takes a few days to get over it!
I didn't intend to put anyone in harm’s way and have learned another lesson from my experience.
Thanks for sharing the story – and the photos – with us, Sharon. It is a very timely warning for us all just how quickly this can come on, and how serious it can get.
It can be hard working out what to do in situations like this – especially when it’s a ride that you have organised. You want to stop, but as you say, you have the other riders’ enjoyment of the ride and well-being in mind too.
It's easy to start suffering the effects of dehydration even when you don't feel particularly hot and sweaty. But by the time you start losing feeling in your limbs it has really got a hold on you! Anyway, a good lesson for us all, and I'm glad you were looked after and recovered okay. It must've been a very scary experience though!

Sharon’s story inspired me to look further into this issue and write an article on riding in the heat; including the effects, symptoms, and various stages of what is generally termed “heat illness”. And there are some tips on what to do to avoid being affected. The article is called “When The Mercury Rises”. Just click the link to go to it. 
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