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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here in Illinois we are supposed to be "sheltering in place", limiting our leaving our homes for trips to the grocery, pharmacy, essential employment as well as to get our exercise through things like walking, bicycle riding and the like. I told some of my family that when the weather warms up a bit I plan on riding my motorcycle as my exercise. That brought out some laughs by some saying that riding a motorcycle is no exercise at all, and that its about the same as driving a car. I admitted that riding a motorcycle was not like running, or bicycling or even walking, but that it was more physically demanding than driving a car. Although I can go for a long ride without a problem, I do find that I am tired after a several hour ride, even on my comfortable Goldwing. The muscle use of arms and legs and back in the controlling of the bike as well as effort expended in stopping, and putting the bike on and off the side stand, etc., is not inconsequential and that riding a motorcycle is actual exercise. I don't think I convinced any of my non riding relatives, including my skeptical wife. But my wife did admit that as a passenger when we ride two up, at the end of a two hour or longer ride she is tired as well, admitting that this must mean than she is physically involved even as a passenger. What do you think? Is riding exercise, or just an excuse to go for a ride?
 

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Dang straight it's exercise. Some that ride you might not convince it is though so not surprised your no-riding relatives or friends don't see it. Just look at how few actually ride any real distance, thinking 200 miles they''ll need an extra day to get back. They have no idea. Or ride for 6 hours with a 25-30mph crosswind and tell me there is no work/exercise involved. There is, you just build up slowly when you start riding that you normally don't notice it. But stay away for 6 weeks and just watch the sore muscles you get those first few days. It's there and it's real.
 

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Zip
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I was in a weight loss program last year. One of our tools was an activity tracker which included "driving a car" and "riding a motorcycle" activities. Motorcycle riding expends twice as much energy as driving a car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was in a weight loss program last year. One of our tools was an activity tracker which included "driving a car" and "riding a motorcycle" activities. Motorcycle riding expends twice as much energy as driving a car.
And its twice as much fun.
 

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On The Road Again!
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One other thing, constantly working the clutch and brake levers is about the same as those squeeze grip exercise things. I know so many older people who have either no strength in their hands or worse, arthritis in their fingers.
I don't have that problem. Almost 70 and I still have a grip like iron. You'll never convince me that it isn't the brake and clutch levers that are responsible for that.
 

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Zip
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One other thing, constantly working the clutch and brake levers is about the same as those squeeze grip exercise things.
I have a pair of those squeeze grip exercise things I use daily just so that I'll be able to ride comfortably for hours at a time.
 

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I have some golfing friends (what is wrong with THOSE people??) who likewise laugh at my "riding is exercise" belief, saying that THEY get far more exercise out of a round of golf than I do in a 100-mile ride. Bollocks! What exercise? Steering the golf cart? Swinging your arms? Raising the beer cans? Motorcycling may not be equivalent to running or full-court basketball, bit it IS exercise.

To any golfers who may read this -- carry your own bag, walk 18 holes, and THEN you may have a point. Until then, no way...
 

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I agree that riding is a form of exercise. To what extent I think depends on how long/how far the ride and the pace of the ride in relation to the type road. I think there can be no argument that doing a MotoGP or MotoCross course, or several hours of dirtbike riding, or a SaddleSore1000 is exercise, at least by those who know what it takes. Those examples would also probably be the extreme of exercise for motorcycle riding. The other extreme pf low cardio would probably be doing a 10-20 mile ride around town or in the country. So somewhere in between there is some exercise to be had by those of us who already know the benefits. In addition, I did read a study a while back that stated the increase of heartbeat while riding as a benefit and those of us who ride know the mental benefit of riding. So, I think it is great for our health. I did 90 miles today riding local and a few of those miles on a curvy local road was more than enough to get the cardio going!
 

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Being somewhat of a fitness nut, I have pondered that question a lot. I used to do mostly off-road riding and racing, and that was definitely exercise. A good measure of how much exercise you are getting is how much you are sweating, and riding a dirt bike could definitely work up a sweat. Street bikes, not so much. It does make me more tired than driving a car for the same amount of time, but I think some of that tiredness comes from the discomfort of the wind blast and the need to concentrate so much.
 

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It depends on what you ride too, behind the fairings on my rolling Barcalounger I can basically relax and guide the beast with 2 fingers on my right hand, with no wind on me at all, but on my no windshield cruiser it's a heck of a core workout just sitting upright and hanging on with both hands in the 80mph airflow for a couple of hours on the slab.
 

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The first dirt bike I bought was a little 100cc Suzuki. I thought I was in pretty good physical condition, but a few hours in the woods and logging roads would wear me out good. Arms, legs, shoulders, hips they all got a good workout, but it was a lot of fun too.

Street bike is different, I can ride a lot longer on the street bike than I can on a dirt bike, but at the end of a day, I'm just as tired.
 

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Most everyone that has been riding for awhile has worked up to dealing with how much exercise it is so they don’t notice it. But even they, if they stay away from riding for 6 months will feel the pain when they start again. The physical effort, therefore exercise, is there. It’s how much is the unknown.
 

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Yes it is exercise and some forms of riding are much much more physical than others. Motocross for example is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Dirt riding is also very physical and regular sport riding on the road still requires physical effort and would be considered "exercise." However, that being said, many riders tend to work much too hard when riding their bikes and using more energy and physical exertion than necessary. Gripping the handlebars too tightly, inefficient steering, poor body position can all lead to early fatigue while riding. So if you find that you get excessively tired while riding or tire quicker than your friends, you may want to consider some of your riding techniques. Sometimes small changes in HOW you ride can make a huge difference in how you FEEL while riding. :)
 

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Long rides are mostly mentally tiring. The wind noise rattles your brain. Trials riding is tricky stuff but not too physically demanding. Motocross punishes the body, but after much practice is survivable. Tough cross country races over the mountains, is the toughest of all, and after a few years with experience gained, requires a few days to recover. Without the experience, you do not finish. The ISDT is an extended version ( days ) of a cross country event. Only very good physically fit and tough riders, can manage that. A bit like the Dakar rally. I met Geoff Smith, an ex motocross champion and gold medal ISDT rider. He helped develop the CanAm bikes.
UK
 

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Good points about riding being mentally tiring. How do you manage keeping your brain alert while riding? What are the signs when riding that you might be facing mental fatigue?
 

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Yep. riding a motorcycle is great exercise! Ya need coordination mental focus and core strength. I squeeze the tank with my legs, lift my butt off the seat over expansion joints with my calves and tuck on a naked bike to stretch my back.

I raced a push road bike competitively for 10 year when I was much younger and thinner :). I did my first track day earlier this year. That is really physical. I was trashed before lunch after my 4th session. Almost felt like I was about to bonk!
 

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I did my first track day earlier this year. That is really physical. I was trashed before lunch after my 4th session. Almost felt like I was about to bonk!
It sounds like you were just about to bonk!! We see at all the time at the Superbike School and are well trained to look for the signs. What this means is that not only were you physically tired but mentally as well- this is usually caused by dehydration. Riding a motorcycle is very physical and that means on track days (more so when it's extremely hot) you need to be drinking a ton of water! And along with that water (more than you think you need) you should also be taking some electrolytes to keep up with your salts. We use Skratch Lab as ours that we encourage students and staff to use.

And on the physical aspect of riding, yes it is physical and tiring. But honestly, if I had to break down the Superbike School into only two words......I'd say that we teach you to DO LESS.

This means that we teach you to be more efficient with steering, more precise with less effort, to relax more, to use your lower body to stabilize you on the bike, to be smoother with your motions and to limit the overall number of movements you do.

I honestly get exhausted watching my students sometimes, lol. I'll be tootling along in one gear observing their riding and they are banging up through the gears, hanging wildly off the bike, on and off with the throttle, moving back to the middle of the bike, then hanging way off the other side.......they work too hard and waste so much energy that I love seeing the change in how much smoother they look when they've heard my lectures a few times ;)

How might you do less while riding? :)
 
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