Safety Feature written for Countyline Publications and printed in Wisconsin and Illinois Biker Information Guide – third quarter 2009 by Bill Gade, Tour on 2 Last issue we talked about eating and exercise to get into riding shape. Here we will discuss how to ride your motorcycle to get into riding shape. When we ride most of us tend to overlook the forces that act upon our bodies. Wind is a function of riding but are you aware that when you are riding at 55 mph into a 20 mph head wind is equal to riding 75 mph?  It takes more physical effort just to hold on to the handgrips at that speed.  Lie on the floor and place a 25 lb. weight on your chest.  That weight is equal to the wind force when riding 75 mph. While it may not feel like allot of weight for a few minutes, that weight would become very uncomfortable if you left it there for several hours. The road surface is another factor that affects our motorcycles and results in stress on our bodies.  If the road is smooth and free of potholes there are fewer forces transferred into your body.  Our Midwest roads are full of potholes after this past winter, so we need to expect many rough rides until our roads are repaired. When you combine wind and rough roads and you can become fatigued quickly. To ride yourself into riding shape you need to ride but not like you typically ride. Most of you ride an hour or two, stop for lunch and then turn around and ride home. This is fine for casual riding but if you are planning on a multi-day trip you need to start riding more than just a few hours on the weekend. Pick a place for lunch 150-200 miles away and ride there!  Minimize all stops there and back to a quick “gas, splash and dash”.  Take these rides as many times as you can weeks before your trip. You will begin to program yourself to ride extended miles that will prepare you for those longer trips. You will also be mentally prepared knowing that you are capable of riding 350+ miles for multiple days. If you ride with a passenger it is a good idea to take your passenger on these rides so they can get accustomed to these longer rides.  Many people trailer their motorcycle because it takes them several days to recover from the ride just getting there if they rode there. Being in riding shape allows you to ride to places like Sturgis and be ready to ride more when you get there!  – BG