Touring Tip: Make Time for Break Time

Sep 09, 2016 View Comments by

Touring Tip

Experienced motorcyclists already know that riding is much more fatiguing than driving. On top of that, sore muscles often occur during the first few days of a long trip, particularly when most of a motorcyclist’s previous riding has been on weekend day trips.

In addition to sore muscles, there are the environmental factors, which can diminish a rider’s stamina: hot or cold weather, high humidity, wind noise in the helmet, rain, strong crosswinds, reduced visibility, the high level of mental concentration required to ride safely, and the types and condition of the roads. On this last count, mountain riding with lots of curves and elevation changes is inherently more physically and mentally exhausting than riding across level terrain.

When leading a group of riders, it’s important not to forget about their needs as well as your own. I’m sometimes guilty of getting into an enjoyable riding rhythm and losing track of time and the physical needs of my companions. Whether you’re riding alone or in a group, here are some rules of thumb about taking breaks:

  • Stop every one to two hours, depending on the factors discussed above.
  • Walk around and stretch muscles to relieve or prevent aching.
  • Hydrate with non-caffeinated drinks that replenish electrolytes, which is particularly important in hot weather.
  • Converse with your fellow riders to gauge their level of fatigue and to relieve the intense mental focus required during the ride.
  • In very hot weather, reduce body temperature by sitting under shade, sipping a cold drink, and/or seeking refuge in an air-conditioned building.
  • In very cold weather, increase body temperature by seeking a warm place and drinking a hot liquid.
  • If overcome by sleepiness, take a catnap in a safe location.

Under serious conditions, like severe weather, flooding, or excessive heat or cold, it may be advisable to seek shelter and wait out the threat. It makes little sense to push one’s self to a point where the ride is no longer enjoyable. It also may be dangerous to do so. Remember, it’s better to take too many breaks than too few. Ride safe!

Text: Jim Parks
Photography: Brian Shaney


Tours, tankbag maps, tips, and more: subscribe to RoadRUNNER today!

Tags: , Categories: Touring & Safety Tips