The side benefits of motorcycles

I got my latest motorcycle a few weeks ago. I’ve had my motorcycle license since the day I got my drivers license on my 16th birthday. I have owned several bikes over the years, but it’s been a while since my last bike.

I was so stoked to get on one again and feel the freedom and excitement that riding a motorcycle delivers. I had to take some time to get used to all the nuances of riding a bike. It’s very different from driving a car. There’s a feel to it. You become a part of the bike. Or it becomes part of you. I don’t know, but it’s a full body, engaged experience.

As I’m reintroducing myself to all the wonders of riding, I have noticed some interesting benefits. I’m going to talk about three of them here.

The first and most obvious is the balance that you have to have and will develop as you ride. Secondly, it’s a great workout that helps keep you tone and probably even build a little bit of muscle. Finally, there is an awareness aspect that is tied to riding that you both have to have, and will improve each time you ride.

First, balance. The science of motorcycles works for you in keeping the bike up. Gyroscopic physics is going to lend you a huge hand. But that is not to say you don’t have a part in the balance of the machine. You play a big part. And you will notice it the moment you have to veer off a straight path.

Second, it is much more physically engaging than driving a car. Your leg muscles, arms, hand grip, and helmet supporting neck will all get a nice mild, but constant workout.

This won’t make you super strong or ripped by itself, but as one more thing you do each day to add to your strength and toning routine, it will definitely help.

In addition to muscle strength, you increase your general strength – your ability to withstand the cold, deal with being hit with small rocks, and keep your hand on the accelerator when your hand is cramping up.

As it gets colder, it gets tougher to ride my motorcycle. But I also realize that it makes ME tougher. Overcoming the cold is part of the process. And it makes you better at dealing with other discomfort in life. The more you purposefully endure hard things, the better you get at dealing with them when you don’t have a choice.

Third, your awareness. First, to be a good rider, you have to have a certain level of awareness. Without it, you just might get yourself killed. Even more important than when you are driving a car, you have to know at all times what’s going on 360 degrees around you.

I find that when I’m driving a car, I’m more aware of things going on around me that I don’t even need to think about in a car. The down side of that, though is that I drive the car sometimes like I’m on a motorcycle, thinking I can fit in tiny spaces and accelerate much faster than my car actually can.

When I’m on my bike, I find myself looking ahead, behind, and all around. I scan the area for anything going on that I may need to know about and react to.

There are also other benefits, like being outside in the fresh air and sunshine.

One of the other aspects of riding a motorcycle is a downside, but it adds an opportunity for an upside. It’s much more dangerous than driving a car. If people around you, either through anger or ignorance hit you, cut you off, etc. you could be in real trouble. Obvious downside.

But the opportunity for an upside is that when you are aware of the added level of danger, you can be more aware and travel with a heightened sense of care.

I love all the benefits I get from riding my motorcycle. It’s hard to pick one as the best or as my favorite. But I don’t have to. They’re all great.