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Rider Education

Riding & Your Health
By Timothy Bryan
Posted on 3/5/2014 6:35 AM

I recently heard someone suggest it was not a matter of if a rider was involved in an accident, but when.  I would have to seriously disagree.  There is no reason to assume any rider will be involved in an accident while riding.  I know not all circumstances are within your control, but many are.  So much so that if you remain vigilant, always watching out for the factors ahead, you stand a much better chance at remaining accident free.  I intend for this to be the case, but also accept, like any activity, there are times I will not be the one in control

Know you begin to understand the meaning of riding health, but wait.  If you keep reading right now, I will double your order.  J  I suppose many of you have also heard the reasoning that a mind is much better maintained while active than stagnant.  What do you suppose the effect would be if riding a motorcycle down the highway and allow your mind to become less active versus keeping a active mind?  I know that is an easy guess for most of us.  As we get older our minds much more easily become un-focused.  I notice this in just about everything I do these days.  When bowling, I must keep reminding myself to remain focused and don’t become distracted.  A gutter ball is a wakeup reminder, but riding does not offer just a zero score for a gutter.  Here is a great motivational tid-bit.  Riding a bike offers so much opportunity to improve your mental health, but you have to claim it.

Based on a un-official study by Ryuta Kawashima, developer of the Nintendo DS Brain Age game software, two groups of men in their 40’s and 50’s were assembled who all were at some time motorcycle riders, but had not ridden in some time.  One group began riding every day for 60 days, while the other group did not.  The riding group scored higher on cognizant tests than the non-riding group after the 60 days.  In addition, the riding group improved their ability to remember numbers in reverse order by 50% compared to before the 60 days of riding.  (Moto Direct,  2008) Does this mean you will get smarter if you just keep riding?  Probably not, but at least you have a chance to remain cognizant for longer by exercising your brain while riding.  You also get to be safer.  No, you don’t’ get that benefit if you do not actively participate in the ride.  Nice try!

Other health risks from riding can include tinnitus which involves constant hearing of noise such as ringing or buzzing.  This would primarily happen if you rode extensively without proper head gear.  Preferably you should wear a good helmet that offers some protection from the constant wind going by and the awesome rumble of your Gold Wing.  Oh, snap…  I need a set of Torq Master Daytona Exhaust pipes for my wing. 

Nancy Kwiecien previously posted an article about the aging effect of vision and how that impacts your riding.  I have personal experience with this visual issue she described but accelerated by other medical factors.  It is very deceiving.  If you have not read this article, or don’t remember, I will make it available to you online, just ask me.

Lastly, if you don’t fall into the same age category as me and might still be looking to start a family.  Men might want to be aware of the effect of long term riding where the tools are subjected to warm and confined positioning.  I think you get my drift, but also know the seating of the Goldwing and more rearward foot pegs, due to the awesome six cylinder engines, puts you in a position more conducive to this concern.

Overall, I believe the enjoyment of motorcycle riding along side with the positive cognizant health effects are worth it.  The other health risks mentioned are minimized by awareness and using proper riding gear.  When this article was conceived, the weather was showing signs of worthy riding.  This morning, my truck doors were frozen shut and I did not see that coming.  I presume the weather will return shortly.  Here is to our health, let’s get some riding and some brain food with it.

Have fun, ride safe, stay healthy.