Preparing your body and mind is as important as preparing your bike
While much has been written about preparing a rider’s motorcycle for a tour, relatively little is ever said about preparing a rider’s body for a multi-day trip. And yet all serious riders know just how much mental focus and physical stamina it takes to ride all day.
As you eagerly anticipate your upcoming trip, consider the next logical course of action: preparing your body for the road. If you haven’t already, start a physical conditioning regiment that includes at least three main areas of focus:
Lack of flexibility can result in increased pain, impaired muscle coordination, and increased risk of injury while on the road. Start with simple daily stretches. For motorcyclists, the most important areas are the back, neck, thighs, and hamstrings. Numerous books and online tutorials can get you started safely.
Aerobic, cardiovascular exercises are an excellent way of increasing endurance and alertness for a long ride. Some of the best aerobic exercises include: walking, swimming, running, and bicycling.
There’s a rule of thumb metric that can be used in cardio fitness training: subtract your age from 220 to find you maximum heart rate. Your pulse rate should be in the range of 65 to 85 percent of that number. Start out at around 65 percent of your maximum heart rate and gradually work up to between 75 and 85 percent of your maximum. Minimum aerobic training is about 30 minutes three times per week. If you haven’t been physically active recently, it’s always wise to consult with a physician first.
Core Body Strength
Our core muscles are those deep in the abdominal area and back that attach to the pelvis or spine. They keep your body stabilized and balanced and are fundamental to riding a motorcycle.
The Mayo Clinic offers some basic core strengthening exercises. Yoga and Pilates classes are another source of core body strength training.
Getting your body in shape to ride long distances not only makes your tours more enjoyable, it also makes your everyday life healthier and more pleasurable as well. It’s a win-win and we’ll take it. See you out on the road!