Love long rides and motorcycle touring, but hate the unpleasantness that follows?
Here’s some advice for riding long-distance that will, hopefully, ease your discomfort.
You’ve spent months perfecting your riding route, accounted for everything from weather, to motorcycle gear, to fuel stops, to estimated daily riding time. Your saddlebags are stuffed to the brim, and all of the important people have a copy of your itinerary.
But despite all this rigorous planning, there are a few things you’re still overlooking... Sore muscles, a bottom that’s chafed to bits, and ear drums that won’t stop ringing.
When it comes to the long-haul, you need all the motorcycle touring tips you can get because aches and pains caused by prolonged rides are inevitable. But don’t let this deter you from fulfilling your journey; there are steps you can take to counteract the discomfort:
Build up your stamina.
What is stamina? It’s your ability to endure situations that test your physical and mental constitutions, and you can only build up your stamina by exercising and riding regularly. When you get to the gym, focus on your back, shoulders, core, and legs. You can also buy compression garments to further prevent long-term muscle soreness.
Pro tip: Biker shorts are a great alternative to full-on compression garments.
Stretch A LOT.
Stretching promotes relaxation, which is a key ingredient of comfortable motorcycle riding. Ideally, you would begin stretching at least a couple weeks before your trip, focusing specifically on muscles that you’ll be utilizing while riding: arms, wrists, shoulders, legs, core, and, most importantly, your back. But it doesn’t stop there—you also need to stretch every time you stop to rest or fill up!
Get a throttle lock.
These can get pretty pricey depending on where you shop (RevZilla has throttle locks listed for as little as 6 bucks!), but they’re totally worth it. And I speak from experience. Your wrists will be the first of many body parts that will be screaming at you after hours of sustained riding.
A dehydrated rider is a hazard to themselves and to other motorists, so pack all the water your saddle can muster and drink generously. In fact, use water breaks as an excuse to stop, stretch, and relax. Don’t let yourself go more than an hour without stopping because, according to RideApart.com, “remaining adequately hydrated will prevent soreness from developing in your muscles and keep your mental acuity high.”
Invest in a back belt and/or motorcycle seat pad.
Not all seat pads are created the same. In fact, an ill-made or cheap motorcycle pad can increase discomfort instead of alleviating it. Back braces are relatively inexpensive, too; these keep you stabilized in the saddle and also help reduce lower back pain by acting as a buffer against vibrations.
Pro tip: Sheepskin seat covers are incredibly soft and help circulate air around your derrière, which decreases chafing and the ever-dreaded monkey butt. You can also generously apply talcum powder to your, uh, nethers.
The motorcycle gear you should wear ultimately depends on the weather conditions you’ll be riding in. For warmer weather, dress in mesh and ventilated gear that will help control the airflow around your body; for cooler weather, wear layers, gloves, and thick socks that will protect your extremities. And always, always wear a motorcycle helmet.
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