Riding Fit… Riding Smart…

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Riding fit… riding smart… my new motto. I am 66 years young… and not getting any younger ;). This past July I rode my longest ride in terms of miles and days (5500 miles in 16 days). It was the best ride to date.

As I have gotten older I have noticed things don’t function as well as in the past. I am not as strong as I once was. Fatigue takes a toll on me physically and mentally. I get pains in places I have never had pain before.  I don’t like these changes. I have had to adapt these to my riding style.

My daughter Katie is a triathlete and knows how to keep her body functioning at its peak. I asked Katie for some advice and tried to incorporate her tips into my ride.

I’ve always known it is important to stay hydrated, but she suggested replenishing my electrolytes. When you exercise heavily, you lose electrolytes in your sweat, particularly sodium and potassium. These electrolytes must be replaced to keep the electrolyte concentrations of your body fluids constant. Many sports drinks have sodium chloride or potassium chloride added to them. They also have sugar and flavorings to provide your body with extra energy and to make the drink taste better. Electrolytes are what your cells use to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses (nerve impulses, heart & muscle contractions) across themselves and to other cells. The human body needs various kinds of salts to be healthy and to function normally. Serious salt imbalances, like those that occur with dehydration, may lead to heart and nervous system problems that, unless they are rapidly resolved, can result in a medical emergency. So you can see why this is important to a rider and very important to an aging one…

On previous trips I had, on occasion, bought a sport drink when we stopped. Katie suggested I drink one at every stop. That was a bit of a problem since we sometimes stop in the middle of nowhere and drink just water. Now I would have to carry sports drinks too… Katie suggested we carry electrolyte tablets that we could add to our water. That way we didn’t need to carry both. I actually carried several different brands (Hammer Nutrition & Nuun tablets and Mio Fit liquid). The brand I liked the best because of taste and it seemed to give a better boost of energy too, was by Hammer Nutrition (Electrolyte Fizz Tablets). I am amazed how much this helped. Even on long mileage days I felt great at the end of the day.

I have had a few back problems that have put me out of commission for days. This is always a concern when I am riding. Back problems on a ride would not be good. So far so good. I did have a problem with my back several months before our trip. Since this would be a long trip with many days in the saddle I wanted to do whatever I could to prevent any back problems. Katie suggested I do exercises to strengthen my back muscle. She gave me some exercises to do, but I modified them to suit me and my back. The exercises seemed to help a lot. I never noticed any pains hefting the Goldwing off the kickstand or any pains when staying in the saddle for hours on end.

The other issues I’ve had in the past were getting a good night’s sleep. Long hours in the saddle, not sleeping in my bed and the excitement of the day sometimes take a toll. I have trouble getting to sleep but once asleep I’m out until the alarm goes off. So on this trip I would take half a Ibuprofen PM and one Ibuprofen (muscle relaxer and helps with stiffness) an hour before bed. I slept really well during the whole ride.

Another concern is getting sick while riding. It’s no fun being sick (even a little sick) and having to ride. No fun for you and no fun for the other riders having to worry about you being sick. As a precaution I took an “Airborne” every night. I don’t know if it kept me from getting sick but it couldn’t have hurt and I didn’t get sick…

Riding a motorcycle is different from driving a car… I’ve found too that knowing your limits is as important as all the above. Of course this is continually evolving. Exceeding your limits will put you on shaky ground both physically and mentally. Staying within your limits makes for an enjoyable riding day. At the end of the day you can wind down and reflect on all the fun of the day instead of wishing you had made better choices.

Having taken these steps to ride fit and smart, I can see myself riding for years to come. It was a great ride and an even better ride not having to deal with any above issues.

I hope this is of some use to the older riders and the younger ones too.

If you like this post you may also like these related posts…

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…

8 responses to “Riding Fit… Riding Smart…

  1. Hey, Texas Rambler, I may be a decade behind you but still really appreciate your post. I’ve been wanting to buy a Camelback to stay hydrated and you have prompted me to do it. Are you going to the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Dallas this weekend? I went two weekends ago, took lots of photos, and wrote a four-post blog series: http://bit.ly/1asEV2z

    • Thank, I appreciate your comment. I’m always looking for info on riding and try to share my experiences. I’m glad to heard that it is of some use.

      I can get to the show. We have been super busy with other things lately.

      I saw your post and will check them out…

      Ride safe…

  2. Hello TR, I am a married and retired 53 y/o Texan. The lovely wife and I now hope to ride and explore. I sought out info on the internet and found your blog page. Wow, great job may I say. Being a “beginner” and having ridden only short distances (less than 100 ms) on borrowed motorcycles. I have found your blogs to be an almost perfect source for what we seek. That being said, the afore mentioned lovely wife and I, have that strong urge to feel the wind and ride the summer of our lives drinking up the freedom of the roadways. As a current novice biker the info provided here is major in how we plan our first trip.

    Cordially,
    Hal & Roxy
    S TX Brush

    • Thanks Hal, for the kind words and taking the time to leave us a comment. One of the reasons I started the blog is for people like yourself. There is a lot to learn and I have evolved and still learning. The important thing in my opinion is finding the bike that is right for you (not an easy task).. and good gear. I’m more about function than style. I hope to see y’all down the road somewhere. Ride safe…

  3. Hi TR,
    Good advice there. I have ridden a fair few long distance rides and can relate to keeping hydrated. One thing I have found is to not ignore fatigue. if you are starting to feel tired then you need to stop. A 30 minute power nap on the side of the road truly work wonders. We have a lot of parking areas now in the oldback just for that purpose.
    Good post and read.

    Cheers,

    Cliff

    • Thanks Cliff, fatigue can sneak up on you for sure… We have a lot of rest stops here too… It just seems like the next one is always 30 or 40 miles ahead when you want one ;).

      Have you thought any more about riding over here?

      RIDE SAFE…

  4. Very informative blog, thanks for connecting with me and leading me here. I’m an older rider too, and have had to stay out of the saddle for a few years now while waiting for and then recovering from, a total hip replacement. But this year I plan to get back to it. I have a VTX 1300 R and I do love it, but thinking of trying a Spyder for the ease and stability. Not crazy about the look of it though. Thanks again for the great information; I’ll be back for some more reading!

    • I know what you mean. Janet (my wife) wants me to convert my wing to a trike or… buy a Spyder. Not to crazy about the Spyder looks either but they have a lot to offer. If I get the automatic Janet could probably drive it too. That could be a good thing on longer rides. I’m not there yet. I still like to lean in the curves…

      Thanks for checking out the blog. I like write about stuff I like and it is always nice to hear from readers who like reading it.

      My buddy (one of the Larry’s I ride with) just had a knee replacement. It has slowed him down a bit. He’s hoping will be able to ride by spring… So far I’ve been able to avoid any of that…

      Ride safe…

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