Pretty much any bike is comfortable for just a few minutes, but any bike can be torture if you have to spend hours in the saddle. Luckily, there are ways to address that. Here’s how to stay comfortable on long motorcycle rides.
Stretch all your muscle groups before you ride. If you have the right riding gear — stuff that flexes with your body and allows full range of motion — you can even wear it while stretching.
If you’ve taken a high school PE class, then you know how to stretch, the same techniques apply here. Hold stretches for 30 seconds.
Start with your legs: touch your toes, spread your legs to twice shoulder high and and fold your torso down so your head points at the ground, then bend alternating knees, stretching the inside of your thighs. Stretch your quads by bending your knee while standing and pulling it up with your foot. Sit on the ground with the soles of your boots touching and do butterflies.
Your head and neck need attention too: roll your head around your shoulders. Stretch your back by reaching for the sky and your arms by pulling them behind your head and across your shoulders. All this gets you nice and limber for the hours in the saddle ahead.
Before you set out, drink water until you can’t drink anymore. Then, top yourself up on the go. The goal is to urinate once an hour, all day and for that urine to remain clear. If you’re off schedule or it starts turning dark, drink more. Riding a motorcycle, even just cruising down a highway, puts you outside in the elements, remaining adequately hydrated will prevent soreness from developing in your muscles and keep your mental acuity high. And we do mean water. Staying hydrated is better for energy and focus than sugary caffeinated drinks ever will be.
3. Dress Appropriately
No matter what the weather, there’s riding gear that will make you more comfortable in it. We all know what it can do in the rain and cold, but even in extreme heat, appropriate riding gear can allow your body to cool itself more effectively than simply exposing it to the wind. Ventilated or mesh gear controls the airflow around your body, giving the evaporative cooling effect time to work, rather than simply allowing the wind to blow the sweat off your body before it provides any cooling. There’s also cooling vests and other articles that soak up water, then keep you dry (they’re like diapers) while providing additional cooling. Or, you can just soak a scarf (we recommend the Aerostich silk item) in water and achieve a cooling benefit from that too. You’ll also need to protect yourself from the sun, any remaining exposed skin should be covered in high-SPF sunblock.
4. Compress Your Muscles
Compression garments increase long term comfort and athletic performance by increasing the lymphatic and blood flow. It also holds muscles in place, isolating them from vibration, further preventing long-term soreness. A simple pair of bike shorts can work wonders over long distances and compression garments are now available for virtually your entire body. Wear them, they work.