It’s Official: Riding Is Good For Your Health. But How Good?
Benefit mentally and physically by riding a motorbikeby Harry Fisher, on
Those of us who ride motorcycles know how happy it makes us. Now, a British company has conducted research to find out why we choose to ride and the results confirm what we knew all along.
Why You Should Ride
The Covid-induced lockdowns around the world have forced many people to re-evaluate what freedom of movement means. Weeks and months spent at home have had us thinking about what we will do when restrictions are lifted and reflecting on why we love doing them. For all of you reading this, that means riding your motorcycle.
More than simply a means of transport, motorcycling is an escape for many from the routine of life. Now, British supermarket chain, Asda, through its financial arm, Asda Money, has conducted a survey on why people decide to ride a motorcycle rather than drive a car. They also spoke to British racer Leon Haslam to get his views.
After polling 1000 motorcyclists, it is no surprise to find that the top reasons for riding were to enjoy a sense of freedom, the thrill felt and an ability to travel. Also revealed was how riding a bike had helped with anxiety and depression.
Through the questionnaire, it was clear that riding a motorcycle helps with mental health. Riding releases dopamine and endorphin hormones, which promote a feeling of happiness and feeling happy is a large part of a healthy mind and body.
Leave Your Cares Behind
Another factor is that when you’re riding a bike, you are doing just that: riding. You are disconnecting yourself from everything else and, indeed, have no time to be doing anything else: you are in your own world and you are in control and everything you do is focussed on that one activity. You are choosing to be completely on your own and distract yourself from outside pressures.
Smell the Scents
When driving a car, you are completely isolated from the world around you. On a bike, there are so many sensations: the warmth of the sun, the chill of an early morning, the blast of fresh air on your face and, not least of all, the smells of the world around you. There is nothing blocking your view and you feel as if the whole world is laid out before you to look at.
A Sense of Community
How many times have you pulled up in your car, got out and walked in to wherever you are going, walked out and got back in your car and you’ve said nothing to anyone? That never happens on a bike. Meet a fellow motorcyclist and instantly there is a rapport: you share stories of where you’ve been and where you are going, admire each others’ bikes, help someone out if they’re having problems, share a beer or a coffee - you’ve made an instant friend. How many car drivers will stop for another car driver if they are stopped by the side of the road? How many motorcyclists will stop to make sure a fellow motorcyclist is all right? You’re part of a brother- or sisterhood and you’ll always have a friend.
A Good Workout
As well as being mentally stimulating, riding a bike is also physically stimulating. Sure, if you’re carving up a twisty canyon road, getting your knee down and using your body to influence the bike, that’s a severe workout but even if you’re sitting on a huge and comfy cruiser, you’re still using so many more muscles than if you were sitting in a car.
That’e the other thing: riding a bike, you’re so involved in making the bike do what it needs to do: the sense of achievement in doing it well is fantastic and you get that from heading to the shops as much as slicing half a second off your best lap time at a track day.
It’s simple: riding a motorcycle is good for body, mind and spirit. That’s why we’re always so happy!
Asda Money could have spoken to any motorcycle racer in the world, whether they are at the top in MotoGP or racing scooters around a karting track with an informal club, about the benefit of riding. They chose son of legendary racer Ron Haslam, Leon Haslam, who has competed in World Superbikes and the British Superbike Championship.
“It’s great that motorcycling can offer an escape for many people, whether it be from everyday life problems, stress or potential mental issues.’ he said. ’The focus required from motorcycling is such that all other issues are forgotten and even if that is for a short period of time it could be invaluable.
"Obviously racing is the ultimate distraction for me but climbing aboard a racing motorcycle in the pitlane has that same feeling as if I’m jumping on a road bike or my trials bike.”