With the warmer temps, more bikes will be hitting the road, and longer trips are being planned. If you haven’t already, now’s a good time to do some spring maintenance on your bike since it might have been sitting for a while. However, the extended time of inactivity during the winter months might not be limited to your motorcycle.
Take time to do some self-examination of your roadworthiness, too. Many of us are less active during the winter months, and all those holiday celebrations and winter comfort food can have an impact. This is about more than just seeing if your riding gear still fits.
Exercise is important
Motorcycling is a physical sport. Excellence in riding technique and safety requires strength and coordination. Just like athletes exercise and train for their sport, we motorcycle riders need to be in good shape to ride, too.
Riding for a long time, like performing any other physical activity, employs some muscles that aren’t used often—and will tax others that are used in unaccustomed ways. It takes time to regain ride-ready muscles.
Here are some areas to consider in your motorcycle exercise program. And don’t forget—before starting any exercise program, consult with your doctor.
Our legs are the largest muscle group in our bodies. We use our legs to lift our motorcycles from their side stands, support them at stops, and, at times, push them around.
While there are several weight-training exercises you can work on at a gym, the simple act of walking will do wonders. It’s also free. Walking one mile a day, more if you have the time, will keep your legs strong and offer benefits to your cardiovascular system. Simply put, walking is a winning endeavor.
Core muscles support our spine, hips, and shoulders, giving us the strength for good posture when riding our motorcycles. If your back, neck, or shoulders are achy after the first ride of the spring, this is a sure sign you need to work on your core.
Before you start working on core strength, you might want to consider a session with a professional trainer to learn the proper techniques. Here is a partial list of some exercises that work on your core:
- Modified sit-ups
- Abdominal crunches
- Side plank
- Back extensions
Arms and upper body
Depending on the style of motorcycle you ride, the riding position will vary from sitting upright to leaning forward. The position you hold will have an effect on how much upper body strength you will employ while riding, and it can help you focus your exercise routine.
Some use of modest weights or resistance devices may be required to strengthen your arms and upper body. Here are some arm and upper body exercises to consider:
- Chest press
- Bicep curls
- Triceps press down
- Wall push-ups
- Hand grip squeezes
Start slowly and build up your exercise routine gradually. This will help avoid strains. Just like riding, proper technique and form is important. There are a lot of exercise techniques online and in books, but nothing beats learning from a professional.
Your motorcycle deserves good maintenance, and so do you. Both bring more pleasure and safety to your riding experience.
Till next time, ride safe!