Cruising along enjoying the sun and the open road is great – you are not likely even thinking about cramping & soreness. But it’s only a matter of time, and soreness and annoying cramps will start up. To avoid or delay this just remember that the human body is meant to move and flex. Sitting in one position for hours on end with wind and weather compounding things, your muscles will be strained, pressure and heat will have negative effects.
Here are some tips that can help avoid or delay the onset of soreness and cramping with less fatigue;
- Find a perfect riding position. Adjust handlebar position, controls and levers to suit you. From a sitting riding position hold your hands over your head, let your arms naturally fall forward and down, they should end up resting on the handle grips. From this position, your palms should be resting on the grips. Your extended fingers should also be resting on the levers without rotating them. If not rotate the levers until they fit you doing this fluid positioning technique. This exercise will show you how challenging a sport touring motorcycle riding position for long hauls.
- Switch handlebars, levers, grips. If you find yourself reaching for handlebars that are too forward consider replacing more pullback. If you like the standard base bar risers can be fitted and will all controls to fit you better. Be aware that you may need longer controls and hydraulic lines if you move over a few inches.
- Use gel-pad cushion, sheepskin or beaded cover. These are economical seat upgrades, to cushion and allow airflow to your backside. Airflow is often an overlooked factor, getting sweaty and hot doesn’t help with long term comfort. Bead seats change pressure points all the time, preventing pressure from building up in one area.
- Replace your seat, while there are plenty of aftermarket options, simply replacing it with a new OEM seat could get you back a lot padding and comfort.
- Add a backrest. A backrest not only takes the pressure off your lower back, but it also lets your lower body relax from holding you upright. A poor man’s backrest can be created by packing gear on the passenger seat, just make sure it is firmly attached and there is something soft for your back to lean on.
- Don’t wear tight jeans or restrictive pants. In a seating position, they will bunch up and cause uncomfortable pressure and soreness, very tight pants will restrict blood flow to your legs.
- Take regular breaks, walk around. Develop some road-side exercises like but crunches, a few squats or flexes to get the blood flowing in your legs.
- Shift your sitting position regularly. Push back, stretch back out, shift a few inches left or right. Get in the habit of making small moves – this small habit will help significantly. Move your head around frequently, stretch your neck muscles before they get cramped.
- Change your foot position too, highway pegs, or install floorboards (read my complete floorboard post here ). Having a place to move to, and doing often is the key to avoiding cramps before they happen.
- Use cruise control – with cruise set and you don’t need to hold the throttle there are more positions you can shift to. And of course, cruise control will greatly reduce wrist cramping too. (read
- Shift your weight side to side also. You can also shift your weight on to each leg separately. It’s all about changing positions and changing the forces your body is dealing with.
- Riding exercises – try some “riding knee bends”, pull up on the bars and push up with your legs. All you need is a semi-raised position to gain benefits. Of course do this at lowered speeds, and with no traffic around.
- Try lycra sports underwear or something similar to bicycle shorts. Some find them helpful, they work for long distance bicycle enthusiasts. Another option is padded shorts – check here Padded Bike Shorts.
- Maybe your seat may be too soft! – Yes, a harder seat may be more comfortable.
- Consider a windshield extension – if your helmet is getting buffeted by the wind then your neck will be constantly fighting back, and wearing you out.
- Keep hydrated, take a small drink of water at every stop. Avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks.
- Try talcum powder ‘down there”. This is highly rated and works great for many riders – Monkey Butt Powder. Or a similar product in a roll-on stick BodyGlide.
- Take some wipes, and keep extra clean after washroom breaks, or sweating. Staying clean will go a long way to prevent redness and soreness where it counts. If you want a fragrance free no flowers on the packaging then Dude Wipes are for you!
- Use high SPF sunscreen on all exposed skin. After a few days, burnt skin and windburn will add up and wear you down.
- Stay warm, don’t get distracted by being cold. A cold body very often goes stiff and works against you trying to move and stay flexible.
- Get in better shape. Taking a long motorcycle trip is a physically challenging activity. Well before you head out, start an exercise program, you don’t have to go crazy, just enough to boost your cardio effectively and work on muscle tone.
- Eat lightly, avoid heavy, carb-loaded meals they will only slow you down physically and mentally, which will only contribute to feelings of soreness and fatigue.
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