With so many people suffering a lack of riding from various lockdowns, how do you prepare yourself for long, extended and mentally fatiguing riding trips?

I remember when a trip to the Black Spur was a long way, now I think nothing of a 600+ km day trip, and I’m not talking about mostly highway/freeway, more about being “on the throttle” for much of a ride. Over the Xmas 2020/2021 holidays I did several 1,000+ km single day trips with up to fourteen elapsed hours from start to finish.

Why do I ask? Physical and mental preparation leads to a safer and more enjoyable trip, you don’t get dehydrated halfway through day one, you can think and act with a clarity of purpose and you’re safer to be around for your riding mates.

Some unordered observations:

  • Being physically fit helps enormously, cardio especially
  • Cycling, yoga and swimming are great exercises for motorcycling to help build physical stamina
  • Drink plenty of fluid – if you’re not peeing regularly and when you do there’s a dark yellow tinge then you may be dehydrated and that can seriously affect your judgement (but you won’t typically realise this at the time)
  • Get a really good night’s sleep before a big trip
  • Avoid/refrain from alcohol 24-48 hours ahead of a trip
  • Try to moderate your caffeine intake, it’s a diuretic and will leech water from your body (stealing your precious bodily fluids!)
  • Don’t “do” non-prescription drugs and be especially careful of prescription ones which can affect your mental faculties
  • Mental fitness cannot be underestimated, being able to concentrate and focus for hours at a time
  • To prepare yourself, go on longer and longer rides many weeks ahead of a long trip
  • Wear high attenuation earplugs
  • Wear a back protector with a kidney belt
  • Stretch and limber up ahead of departure and stretch your hamstrings regularly during breaks, forward folds/touching your toes really helps keep those hamstring relaxed,
  • Remember to breathe when riding – often in stress-related situations (or when adrenaline is coursing through our veins) we can take shallower breaths robbing our muscles and our mind of properly oxygenated blood
  • Wear the ‘right’ gear for the conditions – you’ll quickly tyre if you’re cold and wet or hot and drenched in sweat (fluid in > fluid out)
  • Preparation before and during the trip…
  • What else? Did I mention cycling? Yes, strong thighs for gripping the tank makes a massive difference.