Long Distance Motorcycle Riding Tips: Staying Awake! - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 43 Old 09-06-2013, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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Long Distance Motorcycle Riding Tips: Staying Awake!

Riding your motorcycle as we all know requires you to be and stay alert. If your concentration goes, or even worse, you fall asleep, you are going to be in deep trouble. So on long motorcycle trips you need to make sure you stay alert. Imagine riding from or to Sturgis? You could be in for a couple of days with 100′s of miles of road per day, and at times the roads are boring. Your attention starts slipping, and you are going to miss that truck about to cut you off.

The obvious choice for many bikers is to drink some coffee, and it is a wise choice. But remember on all the drinks mentioned below, a lot will depend on your own body but more importantly, your health. If you have a weak heart, think twice before taking any special drinks, or better yet, consult your doctor.

Coffee

Biker-Blend-CoffeeCoffee is easy to get, but for it to make any sense it needs to be pretty strong. Typically an Italian or French expresso coffee (the small cups, typically 2 fl oz.) contains an average of 100 mg of caffeine.

It is the caffeine that will keep your mind active for a few hours. But it will also increase your heart rate and might also give your muscles some cramps, so there are downsides.

But mind you, if you are a regular coffee drinker, 100 mg of caffeine will probably not do the trick, and you might want to drink 2 or 3.

Normal coffee cups, the good old java, is fine too, but you will need a cup or two, and there is an additional downside to this: you are going to need a toilet break faster than normal. Obviously caffeine-free coffee or instant coffee has far less of the good stuff to keep you going for miles and miles.

Tea

You can consider that tea has caffeine though it is called theine. An added advantage is that theine lasts a few hours longer. But that applies only to normal tea (green or black), herbal teas have no theine or caffeine at all.

So if you want to drink something warm and stay awake, a green or black tea is better than coffee since the effects last longer.

Soda

The most known caffeine-induced soft drinks are Coca-Cola and Pepsi, both do indeed have plenty of ingredients to allow you a few more miles on the road. Apart from the many ounces of sugar, Pepsi Max has the most caffeine, with 69 mg per can, while Coke has 35 mg for 12 oz.

All transparent sodas, like Seven-up, Fanta and even root beer have no caffeine.

The normal side effect of having to make a potty-break is obvious, but the other effect is adding a few inches to your waistline.

Energy Drinks

Red-BullThe one type of drink that can be taken quickly since it is not hot, and nice to drink on a hot day, are the energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull. These drinks are made for keeping you focussed on riding your motorcycle. It is what a lot of people drink when they are doing something that needs 100% focus.

A 23.5 fl oz Jolt Energy Drink will supply you with 280 mg of caffeine, a 16 fl oz Rockstar Citrus will deliver 240 mg, while 16 fl oz Monster will give you 160 mg and Red Bull 8.4 fl oz will deliver 80 into your blood stream.

These drinks jolt the system wide awake. They will also make your heart run a lot faster. Health officials in Europe are advising people not to drink more than 2 cans per day, maximum.

Health and Safety

You do need to take into account that too much caffeine is very bad for your health. The older you get, the quicker you will loose focus, the more caffeine you will be inclined to drink. But that is when your own personal engine (heart) will suddenly quit, and before you know it you wake up with EMS staff performing cardiac arrest procedures.

So if your ride is long, and you need to stay awake, try to keep it under 100 mg of caffeine.

But to keep awake and alert on your motorcycle, coffee and other drinks are not the only way. As I said, caffeine and theine do have some undesired effects on your health. So apart from drinking cups of hot java before setting out again, what can you do?

Eating/Chewing

One simple way of keeping focus is chewing gum. That is right, just by chewing gum you keep your mouth busy and therefore your brains. It is a trick many professional long distance drivers use, so why not you? But remember, you can not blow bubbles if you are wearing a helmet!

An alternative is to eat something very (and I mean VERY) bitter. Imagine eating a lemon; your mouth probably grinches just now of the thought of eating a whole lemon. The pucker factor will keep your brains in gear.

For some people, chewing on ice cubes help, but the problem with ice cubes is that they melt, requiring you to stop to get new ones. So maybe it is really the stopping that helps, not the chewing of ice cubes. Maybe one day a scientist will analyze it.

Head Movements

Another way is to shake your head from side to side with enough force to push blood around. In a car you could slap your own face for the same effect, but on a motorcycle that becomes a bit more tricky using a helmet. By shaking your head, you force blood from one side to the other and back. That action will regain you a few minutes of attention and focus.

Talking

If you are riding with a pillion, and you have an intercom/communication device (like the Chatterbox), talking to someone helps keep focused. Just the fact that you talk requires your brain to function, and with that, you gain more attention span.

Listening does not necessarily work, since a smoothing voice will work the opposite way. So tell your pillion your life story.

If your communication device plays music, maybe listening to one of your favorite tunes is not the way forward. In fact, listen to awful music; the fact that you don’t like it will make your brain more active, while on the other hand, when you are listening to great music, your brain goes to “sleep” while listening (that is why many people listen to music before going to sleep).

Stops

StretchingOne of the most important and easy way of staying awake, apart from coffee, is stopping. It may seem strange that in order to stay awake on your motorcycle you need to stop, but by pulling over, getting off the bike, and stretching for 5 or 10 minutes, you will be able to go on for an extra hour or two.

Doctors and other specialists recommend that you stop every 2 hours. Luckily our precious motorcycles do not hold that much gasoline, so we are forced often enough the stop to tank up. But use that time, after you have filled up the fuel tank, to do some stretching exercises.

If you are not in an enormous rush, take a 10 minute nap. Power naps will allow you to go on for hours of riding. If you read more about Iron Butt rally riders, you will see that all the top riders take 10 minute power naps, allowing them to ride 1000+ miles each day.

Drugs

You will have noticed that I have stayed away from drugs, either legal or illegal kinds. Personally I believe that if you need to resort to drugs, you are going to far, and then things escalate.

Stay on the safe side, and as some famous politicians said years ago “just say no”.

Have a safe ride. What are some of your tips?


Source: Long Distance Motorcycle Riding Tips: Staying Awake! | Motorcycle Blog from JAFRUM
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post #2 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 02:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jafrum.com View Post
Riding your motorcycle as we all know requires you to be and stay alert.

[SNIP]
If you read more about Iron Butt

Almost 100% of your above advice is contrary to the experts, the Iron Butt Association Words of Wisdom

IBA - World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders

Tech House - Archive of Wisdom - Tip#3

CAFFEINE DOES NOT WORK, drink no more than your normal daily amount



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post #3 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 03:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jafrum.com View Post

If your communication device plays music, maybe listening to one of your favorite tunes is not the way forward. In fact, listen to awful music; the fact that you don’t like it will make your brain more active, while on the other hand, when you are listening to great music, your brain goes to “sleep” while listening (that is why many people listen to music before going to sleep).
No, I refuse to listen to Country, hip-hop, or rap. Yes, they are all bloody awful but they are not music.

The problem is that I find some rock music makes me drive/ride faster.

I was given one of those so-called energy drinks once when my driver said we didn't have time to stop for coffee (it was in the USA and my friend was doing all the driving). I had a taste and threw the rest away. It was undrinkable!

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post #4 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 07:01 AM
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Just about all of that advice is bad advice in my opinion.
Stopping and stretching AND RESTING is probably the best way to go.

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post #5 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 07:20 AM
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If you are tired and at risk of falling asleep..... FORGET ALL THE TIPS.

Stop somewhere safe and SLEEP.

Scientific proof has been shown over and over again that the only cure for fatigue is sleep.


NO long distance ride is worth dying for.

Ock. in Oz

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post #6 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 07:55 AM
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Bad advice, setting you up to have problems.

OP needs to do some more research on LD riding.

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post #7 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 10:17 AM
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RoadDust! You have one very impressive colored map in your signature! I am one envious rider! Next time you're up this way, stop in for dinner and a beer. I'd love to hear some stories...


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post #8 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 10:23 AM
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Hmmm, I will have to mention here that I have used NoDoze(cafiene pills, 100mg) when I am intending to do 1,000km days. I usually use these after I have had a nice midday meal, just to counteract the afternoon nanny nap(or Power Nap) Sometimes this does not work and is of course dependant on how much prior rest I have had before the trip

I will admit to riding asleep, or micro sleeps on occasion, this is a basic fatigue issue and is the result of not planning the days ride properly and usually occured on long straight outback roads where white line fever happened, although there are not many lines out there!

I have tried many many times to do the stop and rest trick on long rides whn I am tired, but, every time I find a place to stop and rest, I for some unknown reason find myself wide awake and unable to shut down for the 'power nap'.

I then hop back on the bike and find the fatigue hitting me again once I am in 'white line fever mode"

Just for the record, my 'subconcious' has kept me on the straight and narrow and even though I was riding in 'the zone' I was always still aware of what was 'changing' around me

I know I will get nailed for some of the above, but I have managed over the past RTW trip to cover 250,000kms and NOT crash due to fatigue, although I had a few not related to fatigue

Just my thoughts

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post #9 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 10:59 AM
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Eating/Chewing

One simple way of keeping focus is chewing gum. That is right, just by chewing gum you keep your mouth busy and therefore your brains. It is a trick many professional long distance drivers use, so why not you? But remember, you can not blow bubbles if you are wearing a helmet!

I've used this trick to do 70hr. road trips. It does not work with all people.
one of the bets things you can do is, Stop drop a tarp on the ground or a bench and do a power napfor 30min. or so. Some people can do this and come out refreshed and good for a few more hours.
Ride smart, know what works for you and stay within your limits.

T-ville

Last edited by T-ville Trooper; 09-07-2013 at 11:01 AM.
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post #10 of 43 Old 09-07-2013, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravellingStrom View Post

I will admit to riding asleep, or micro sleeps on occasion, this is a basic fatigue issue and is the result of not planning the days ride properly and usually occured on long straight outback roads where white line fever happened, although there are not many lines out there!

I have tried many many times to do the stop and rest trick on long rides whn I am tired, but, every time I find a place to stop and rest, I for some unknown reason find myself wide awake and unable to shut down for the 'power nap'.
I to have fallen asleep once while riding, not sure how long, something jared my senses and I suddenly awoke wondering how many miles I was sleeping, next exit I got off and found a picnic table for a 15 minute power nap, did wonders

I learned power napping thru self hypnosis, something I was taught while under hypnosis



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