How To Stay Alert On Long Motorcycle Rides


Category: How To

So you know how to stay comfortable on long motorcycle rides, now, how about keeping your eyes open? Here’s how to stay alert on long motorcycle rides.

Photo: Nicholas D.

1. Play “Chase”
One of the best ways to stay focused is to turn riding into a mental game. It’s a fun way to pass the time and keep your mind from wandering away from the task at hand.

Riding on long or lonesome stretches of highway, I often find myself interacting with other vehicles. Sometimes I’ll turn it into a game of leapfrog. Whether it’s a car, truck or motorcycle, I’ll pass them, then after a few miles, let them pass me back. Repeat.

See a tractor-trailer or other slow moving vehicle ahead? A vehicle merging onto the highway? “Attack” that hole before your nemesis can get there. Then let them win the next time around. Do that all without exceeding your chosen speed range or taking any chances and it’s enough to keep your mind occupied for hours at a time.

We should emphasize that this is a mental game, getting into a real altercation with other traffic is a terrible idea. Other variations might include lifting your feet off the pegs every time you cross a shadow or playing a game of arithmetic using the miles, speed, fuel economy and other numerical variables of your trip. The trick is to give yourself a fun reason to focus on the task of riding without turning it into a chore.

2. Use Your Mouth
It seems obvious, but chewing gum keeps your taste buds and salivary glands stimulated, which helps you stay alert. You can also suck on a piece of hard candy or, for an even bigger boost, an all-natural ginger candy. The latter trades the temporary and ultimately unhealthy effects of sugar for the homeopathic benefits — and eye-opening, nasal passage-clearing aroma — of ginger. It’s a kick in the head, which is exactly what you need on a long ride.

3. Use Your Mouth, More
If you don’t already do it, a long ride on an empty highway is the perfect place to start. For god’s sake, sing! Do it to your heart’s content, loud and proud. Run through every track on your favorite album, belt out your favorite cuts from the grunge years, rap every line from “The Chronic,” whatever it takes.

If you really can’t carry a tune in a bucket, talk to yourself. Have that argument with your boss or your wife you know you’ll never have to the stones to have in real life. Unless, of course, your boss or wife is on the back seat.

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