One of the primary concerns motorcyclists have is safety. Being visible, using skills to avoid accidents, awareness, and more all go into making sure you are safe out there on the road. One of the biggest parts of this is your brain. We wear helmets to protect our brains in case of an accident, but what do we do for our brains before and during each ride?
The answer is sometimes not enough. We need to concentrate on strengthening our brains and solidifying our mental strength before we go out and ride along with being physically prepared. Here are some ways we can get mentally prepared for the ride, and keep the rubber side down.
Develop Sharp Reflexes
Sound like kind of a “duh” statement? It is, but at the same time there a many people who never really work at developing sharp reflexes. They rely on natural ability, talent, and mental sharpness that can dull as we age unless we keep working on them. But how do we develop sharper reflexes?
Coin catch: Put a coin on the back of your hand, toss it up and catch it with the same hand.
Juggling: learn to juggle for even sharper reflexes.
Reaction Ball: a reaction ball is like a regular ball but with an irregular surface that causes it to bounce in random directions. This unpredictability helps your reflexes.
Trail Running: Regular running is good, but with trail running the ground is uneven and unpredictable, adding an extra layer of reflex challenge.
Ball Games: racquetball, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and other ball games challenge your reflex ability and keep you sharp.
The point is that if you are a motorcyclist, you should be consciously doing something to improve your reflexes and make you sharper on the road.
Read and Learn
No matter how long you have been riding, there is still more to learn. As bikes improve with technology and better brakes and safety features, riding equipment and techniques are refined as well. Just because you took a course years ago and have been riding a long time does not make you a master.
In fact, there is something to be said for constantly reading, learning, and digesting new material. Not only will you learn from the material itself, but the process itself keeps your brain focused on safety, technique, and new advances in the motorcycle world. The things you read about are things you will watch for and pay attention to when you ride. The more you learn and expose yourself to these things, the more engaged your brain will be in the ride.
Teach Others in Person and Online
Want to really learn something better? Teach it to others. Of course in the motorcycle world there are several ways to do this, and each has its own benefits. You can teach others online or in person.
Your state or local motorcycle clubs or shops probably have courses that teach people how to ride, from beginner classes to intermediate and advanced. If you’re a reasonably good rider with some years of experience, you will be able to get a position as an instructor in these courses. Most of them are taught on the weekends and do not have a high demand for your time.
Because these classes are hands on, you will sharpen your own skills as you teach others to ride. There will be good reminders and refreshers while at the same time you will sharpen what you already know.
For some, this is not a viable solution, but you can still teach in many ways. This can be by starting your own blog online and sharing your experience, research, and discussions there to writing on someone else’s blog. You can also teach informational courses online, or upload repair videos and more to a YouTube channel.
When it comes to teaching there are tons of opportunities and all of them will benefit you as well as your students.
Feed Your Vision
Guess what? Just like your body needs the right nutrition to function and your mind needs the right nutrition to think clearly, your eyes need the right nutrition to function properly too. This means you need to do two very important things.
The first is to feed your vision. Yes, carrots are good for your eyes (your mom was not lying just to get you to eat them) but there are other veggies that are good for them as well. Also, there are supplements out there that help you get the vitamins and minerals you need most to have healthy eyesight, a vital part of motorcycle safety.
The other thing you need to do is see an eye care professional regularly. One of the most important inputs to our brains is visual: your sight. If it is not healthy or you lose it altogether, your riding days are over. Little problems can be fixed if detected early, otherwise they can become big problems. Staying on top of vision problems is essential.
The good news is that with modern surgical techniques, you can correct nearly any vision issue and even correct your vision so you don’t have to wear glasses or contacts. Still, staying on top of these things is essential to your safety.
Riding a motorcycle is dangerous, or can be, and one of the greatest safety devices we have is our brains. But we must feed, protect, and exercise them to make sure they are effective. Don’t gamble with the wrong mind games: keep yourself mentally sharp through learning, teaching, improving reflexes, and keeping your vision at its best.