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benefits of motorcycling

I have been thinking about and posting on motorcycles quite a bit of late. Some of that is the season, as weather has become intermittently attractive for the bikers whose passion for that has been in a winter straightjacket. That is by itself exciting and motivating for us.

That brings to mind the bigger question:
Why do we find our motorcycle rides so exciting?

From a practical standpoint, they beat most alternatives. The Asian region, particularly India and China dominate global sales dramatically, with Central and South America not too far behind. The USofA accounts for less than 1% of the global motorcycle market. People who cannot afford cars are much more able to own scooters and motorcycles. For those countries, motorbikes take up A LOT less space in traffic and parking. Thus they make a lot of sense in those macro-economies.

In personal, micro-economies, I can make a bunch of little errand runs on a 45-75 miles-per-gallon vehicle without even considering the price of gasoline. Better still, maintenance costs on 300-500-pound machines are also a fraction of what 3,000-5,000-pounders cost to operate.

But there is a lot more to why we get so passionate about motorcycles.

I ran across many articles explaining the attraction and share a dozen or so headlines and excerpts with you below… and, as usual with Bitterroot Bugle, included are links to the sources.

On a personal note, we have sorted out our motorcycle garage in a way I find quite satisfactory. I (we) have one for each biking mood and purpose that strikes me (and US). Fortunately, dirt biking, trail riding, dirt or paved racing are not on my list or I would need a much larger motorcycle stable… not to mention deeper pockets.

The movie “On Any Sunday” (1972) did a good job of showing the draw. That producer’s son created a great homage to the original that I watched last night: “On Any Sunday – Next Chapter” (2014). Those certainly touch on what I am writing about.

(update May 19th) I watched the movie Why We Ride yesterday. THAT is an excellent show for anyone even remotely curious or interested in “the motorcycle culture” – and by that I don’t mean the ‘biker gangs’, but the families, business professionals, weekenders and everyday riders. There is something that grabbed us, didn’t let go, and is an obvious passion. While almost none of us can explain it, the large collection of motorcycle riders in Why We Ride do a good job of exactly that, while being fun, uplifting, refreshingly clean and real… in a sea of movies that do not do all that.

(update May 19th) Also noteworthy is an attitudinal difference regarding “running errands”. With the heavies, errands are combined as much as possible to improve the efficiency of trips. With bikes, any excuse for a ride is a good one. Some in the motorcycle culture make up darn-near any excuse to ride, including taking the long way home from shopping, riding two towns over for a cup of coffee, donut, taco, or some silly thing that could have waited or been picked up much closer to home. Errand trips are, by some claims, broken up to create multiple excuses for bike rides. I get all of that.

The authors linked below mention a number of factors in common then go on to detail what they are talking about with each. I excerpt bits of each essay under links to the headings. Chief among those are: passion, freedom, speed, camaraderie, stress reduction, mental health, physical health, and plain old fun.

The following quote is spot-on:
The motorcycle, product of human imagination, magnifies our own limited animal speed and strength. This power and expansion of being fills us with excitement, as it did those unknown adventurers who, more than 50 centuries ago, first learned to ride horses.

On a bike, it is easy to feel the freedom some get riding a fast-moving horse, along with an out-of-this-world control somewhat akin to controlling a magic carpet ride, a flying saucer, or something from an exhilarating dream state experience.

14 Reasons Why We ride
Have you ever seen a motorcycle parked outside a psychiatrist’s clinic? We are pretty sure the answer you will have is No, because riding a motorcycle takes away all the tension and stress, like you have rebooted your system. Riding a motorcycle brings a sense of calm and ease to your mind and body, which could be achieved otherwise only through meditation.

Also, many riders refer to their bike as their therapist, as motorcycles make you feel energized and refreshed after each ride. It is a therapy, a way of life that helps bind love for a couple riding together. It lets you have your own space while getting time to forget everything that has been bothering you.

Why We Ride Motorcycles
There is no right of way for the motorcyclist. We alone can assure our own security. So many motorists just don’t see motorcycles at all, and others are barely conscious, texting. Constant alert vigilance is the only security. Just as the horse takes delight in running up and down, so we are refreshed by exercising this high state of awareness that is so underused in our daily lives.

Is riding a motorcycle good for your health?
Motorcycling is a very involved activity, and your brain is always engaged when on one. A sharp mind isn’t born overnight, it’s developed over a long period of time. Being on a bike trains your brain to be very deliberate when making decisions on the road. The apparent danger challenges most riders to be very cautious about their next move, or very calculated depending on the skill level that the rider is at.

Hand-eye coordination must go hand in glove with your bike. Man and machine must be one, and all the hazards on the road must be avoided. Once you’re up to speed and skilled, it’s all second nature and a sign of your development as a rider. Studies show that riding a motorcycle is like drinking a cup of coffee. Riders experience heightened alertness and decreased hormonal biomarkers of stress, as observed by the researchers at UCLA. So not only do you feel good and look good on a bike, it’s actually proven.

Benefits You Get as Your Learn to Ride a Motorcycle
5: You’ll be benefitted Spiritually
Keeping yourself away from the constant life distractions that prevent you from communicating with yourself is the simple definition of spirituality. Because the surroundings, such as the weather, the road, and the view, are to the rider’s liking, motorcycle riding can help some riders connect with their inner selves. Riding can calm and bring inner peace.

6: Riding a bike Facilitates the Release Of Positive Chemicals
Our brains’ chemical processes for emotions. Our brains create several hormones that cause us to feel joyful, ecstatic, and depressed. Happy thoughts are released in your mind by hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, endorphin, serotonin, and adrenaline. These hormones are only released when you are excited, and if you feel excited while riding a motorbike, you will be super happy.

14 Reasons Why We ride
Riding a motorcycle gives you a sense of freedom. You are in total control of the moment, you are not just riding, you are flying and there are no set limits to stop you. You can travel to any place with complete freedom. It lets you be you without anyone’s permission. Just like a kid who was always restricted to his space but as soon as he gets on his bicycle, it’s the moment of freedom, he now breaks those chains and flies through the street on his bicycle with the widest smile on his face.

It might sound like a cliche but it’s true, when on your bike you experience the open air with the wind brushing through your face, all the colors around is vivid and vibrant. The sound of the motor and the vibration which you feel. The obscured view going on around you. It’s an embracement of senses and acts as oxygen to your soul. We just love it, the sheer enjoyment of being on a motorcycle.

17 Benefits Of Riding A Motorcycle
When you’re on a road trip, it’s fun to look out the window and see all the beautiful scenery around you. Sometimes you may roll down your window to smell the experience, too.

When you’re riding a motorcycle, you don’t just look at the scenery, rather you become a part of it. Your entire body is immersed in the beauty instead of glancing at it all through a window in a car.

This is especially true during a long road trip on a motorcycle. Some people think they would find the constant wind to be rather annoying while riding a motorcycle for such a long distance, but people don’t understand the amazing feeling you get when you’re a part of the beauty around you with no windows or roof to block your view.

The Health Benefits of Riding a Motorcycle
Keeping yourself away from the constant life distractions that prevent you from communicating with yourself is the simple definition of spirituality. Because the surroundings, such as the weather, the road, and the view, are to the rider’s liking, motorcycle riding can help some riders connect with their inner selves. Riding can calm and bring inner peace.

Your Brain on A Motorcycle
While a great body is always something to appreciate, an active and healthy brain is priceless.

When we drive a car, we sit in a sedentary manner. Navigating a motorcycle requires more work, physically and mentally, which activates the prefrontal areas of the brain. In lay terms, this means riding keeps your brain functioning at its current prime and helps establish higher levels of concentration.

A study by Kawishima at the University of Tokyo, titled “The relationship between motorcycle riding and the human mind,” tested male motorcyclists between 40 and 50. They evaluated two groups, regular use cyclists and a non-rider control group. Each individual was examined for brain function and cognitive skills.

After two months on two wheels, research results were able to conclude riders who drove their motorcycles to the office daily had increased cognitive functioning when compared to those who did not. When they analyzed the data produced by the men, who were also asked to repeat a set of numbers in reverse order, consistent motorcycle riders’ scores had increased more than 50 percent, In contrast, the control group’s scores slightly decreased.

It was also found that these improvements would be lost if regular use of a motorcycle ceases.

In addition to keep your mind on its best game, riding has been proven to have a positive impact on mental health, helping mood and reducing stress. The study’s rider participants noted that after 60 days of consistent motorcycle use, they had reduced stress levels and were generally happier.

You know that adrenaline rush you get each time you accelerate on your bike? That’s the release of endorphins. Not only do endorphins feel great, they help improve your mood as well.

As substantial as they are, the benefits of motorcycle riding are not solely mental. They’re significantly physical as well.