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Motorcycling 101: Conquering Life On Two Wheels

Motorcycling 101: Conquering Life On Two Wheels

A long, lonely road, a roaring machine between your legs, and a full tank. The unique experience of riding a motorcycle through lovely scenery is a sanctuary for many, and a reason to live.

road

    The joy of hitting the gas and enjoying the speed is something that changes you forever.

    From heavy cruisers and choppers to powerful sport bikes and cross country dirt bikes, motorcycles embody freedom, adrenaline, and living life to the fullest.

    For those reasons and a thousand more, many are opting for a bike or starting to look for one. Today, we’re looking into everything you need to start motorcycling: getting a bike, safety equipment, a license, insurance, and safety.

    Let’s hit the road, Jack!

    Types of motorcycles

    There are plenty of different kinds of motorcycles, and here we’ll describe every type to help you understand which one suits you best. Some types are better on the road, while some of them are perfect for off-road driving; some are suited for longer travels between countries, while others fit into short sprints better. Let’s explore the types of bikes:

    Cruisers

    Cruisers are the kind of bikes that have lower seat heights and a more laid-back riding position (Harley Davidson, for an example). In most cases, they have big engines. If you prefer smaller, have no worries, as you can get yourself a cruiser with a smaller and more silent engine.

    cruiser

      These bikes are not made for racing or some super high-performance situations; if you are a beginner, you shouldn’t find yourself in these situations for an extended period. So, if you are the type of person that loves to lay back on the seat and drive casually from one city to another, then a cruiser motorcycle is a great bike for you.

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      Expect a heavy load, average fuel economy, and prices around $4,000 and up for a decent cruiser bike. They aren’t quite as good for a total beginner, so taking a riding class might help significantly. Riding these types of motorcycles suits a traveler’s lifestyle, which can require a lot of gear. Cruisers are reliable, stable, and built for comfort.

      Sportbikes

      Unlike 20 years ago, when you could see cruisers around every corner, sportbikes are the most popular type of bikes around the world at the moment. They are well-tuned machines that are capable of high performance and they can achieve great speeds (we’re talking 299 km/h or 185.79 miles per hour, with models that can go even 400 km/h). Because of their speed, we would strictly recommend you avoid any type of sportbike for at least your first couple of years, until you master the handling of the motorcycle.

      sportbike

        The reason for this is obvious — it will take some time before you adjust your body to handle a bike, and with the sportbike, you can get yourself into a life-threatening situation before you even realize what is happening. Think about your life first before you think about the thrill of riding at 100+ miles per hour.

        Sportbikes are expensive. Expect to pay around $6,000 for an entry-level machine or an older one with significant mileage. Next, forget about the comfort or luggage — these machines are built for speed and speed only. That also means a higher fuel expenditure. Special gear is a must here, as you’re on a speedster where streams of wind can freeze you or throw you away from the bike quickly.

        Touring bikes

        If you’d love to travel to other countries on your motorcycle, a touring bike is what you’ll need. Touring bikes come fully loaded with large luggage saddlebags, windshields, GPS, and stereos. There are some that are focused on the engine power more, and they are a bit stripped-down in terms of equipment, but one thing is sure: they will come with high seats due to high clearance to allow you more comfortable off-road riding.

        touring bike

          These type of bikes usually offer an excellent travel experience, but be aware that they are also a bit pricier and heavier than regular bikes. Because of that, they are not recommended for beginners. With a touring bike, expect a huge fuel compartment, fully equipped saddlebags, ABS, great fuel economy, and prices that start at $10,000 for a basic, several-years-old machine. A lot of equipment is necessary, of course. It’s all about the comfort and tags of states you’ve visited.

          Dual-sport

          Dual-sport bikes are a mixture of touring bikes and off-road bikes. They have touring capabilities, but with a high chassis and suspension to conquer off-road terrain as well. So, if you know a good off-road area where you could enjoy driving this bike with your friends or even solo, take advantage of it. You’ll release yourself from the stress and forget about the problems in your life. After your adrenaline rush, you can return home on your dual-sport machine and commute to work like on a regular day.

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          dual sport

            Most of these bikes have a higher center of gravity and tall seat height. The difference between these bikes and pure off-road machines is in the law regulations — off-road bikes aren’t allowed on the street. The fuel expenditure is pretty high, but you get the good suspension travel of a dirt bike and the power of a touring bike. The simplest explanation of a dual-sport bike would be that it’s an off-roader that’s allowed on the street. Prices go from $3,500 for an entry model.

            Off-Road

            A pure off-road bike is an agile performer, jumper, and a powerful dirt bike capable of taking almost any obstacle. These bikes aren’t allowed on the street because of their performance and capabilities. They are very light and take a tremendous effort to ride perfectly, especially if you’re going through rough terrain or performing stunts and tricks.

            offroad

              Since they aren’t allowed on the street (you need a proper license and a set of regulatory permissions), we won’t consider them further in this article.

              Standard

              Last from the category, but not the least, is a standard bike. This type of bike contains a little bit of everything when compared to the previous four types of bikes. A lot of motorcycles that you can see now on the streets can be sorted into the “Standard” group of bikes. Usually, they have more upright riding position when compared to the cruiser type, which requires you to lean back more, or a sport bike, which requires leaning forward.

              standard

                Engine size on standard bikes can differ widely, but usually they are not meant for racing or to be upgraded with some huge and loud engines. So, if you prefer to have a silent and decent engine (that can speed up to 220 km/h max) then these type of bikes are perfect for you. Also, in many driving schools when you go for your driving license, you will usually practice on a standard bike. This means that after you are done with it, you will save some money by not having to take extra classes to learn how to drive one of the other types of bikes.

                Which bike to pick?

                So you’ve decided you’re going to get a motorcycle. The first step is to analyze which type of bike suits you. Deciding which type of bike is for you is almost as hard as choosing a perfect car for your needs — it is not something that you can buy today and decide to swap out tomorrow. Remember, you are choosing your two-wheeled machine for a longer period.

                If you’re a beginner, aim for stability and comfort. Since you don’t have experience, it’s important to be able to put both feet on the ground while sitting comfortably on your bike. That will provide more confidence — you’ll feel you’re in control. Very fast bikes and bikes with a higher seat are not great for beginners. The same goes with touring bikes — they are massive and very expensive. So, consider sticking with a standard or cruiser model.

                It’s smart to purchase a used bike for your first one, simply to get a hang of it and see which type of ride suits you best. Beginner riders usually don’t have a precise idea which riding style they’ll choose and how and where will they ride their new bike. That’s why it’s good to practice a bit and see what suits you.

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                A driving license is a must

                Be aware that before you even sit to drive on your new machine, you will need a driving license, and getting one is almost as tedious as getting one to drive a car. The only difference is that when you are taking it on the bike, you have more written tests.

                Some people will tell you that you do not need a full license, that you can drive your bike just by renewing your learner’s permit, but we would advise you to be responsible and get a full bike license to safely enjoy your two-wheeled friend and to avoid any lawsuits.

                Take extra classes for the type of the bike that you bought

                There will always be those people that will tell you that right after you finish with getting your driving license, you will be okay on a motorcycle. Trust us, they are wrong — that’s not to mention those people that will try to talk you into taking your bike classes through YouTube videos.

                Riding any bike, especially a heavy bike, can be hard and even dangerous for beginners, so taking extra classes is the perfect option. After you get yourself a cruiser, for instance, try to find a personal trainer that will help you handle that type of bike without any problems. Think of it as an advanced, more personalized training.

                  If you think a personal trainer is not for you, then you can take some extra classes at the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation), which may even a better solution, since these people really know what they are doing. Do not expect to become a pro driver after these classes, but you will be able to handle the basics for sure.

                  Be aware that dealing with a motorcycle at low speeds while taking a corner well are not skills that come naturally. Practicing is what will help you to perfect them, and the best way to do it is to learn from a skilled teacher.

                  Choosing the perfect gear

                  One of the fascinating things about bike gear is that the very same equipment will keep you fresh when it is hot, warm when it is cold, and dry when it is raining. Motorcycle equipment is some of the the most advanced designed gear in the world. But still, to avoid injuries, you should get yourself some good equipment, and it all starts with a quality motorcycle helmet.

                  Picking a quality helmet can be a science; there are dozens of models, types, variations, accessories, and more to get you confused. Still, with a little exploring and researching, you can get a quality motorcycle helmet.

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                  equipment

                    Don’t go cheap on gear, especially for the helmet. It will keep you safe if an accident occurs. Traffic laws also oblige you to wear one — and please, don’t go all Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Next, get yourself some riding boots, gloves, pants, and a jacket designed for riding. Here’s some more information on motorcycle gear.

                    Get yourself proper insurance

                    When you take the fact that motorcycles work on a high level of performance into consideration, getting insurance is a no-brainer. The main reason why you should get insurance is that even the best of the best motorcyclists make mistakes sometimes. Those mistakes can happen to anyone, and even when it’s not our fault, we can still end up suffering damage.

                    insurance

                      You can be a perfect driver and never jeopardize anyone’s safety, but the guy next to you can be reckless and harm you and your bike. You don’t want that to ruin your life or your bike. Depending on the job that you currently do, insurance companies will give you different rates, so either try to get yourself an insurance agent or just request quotes from various companies.

                      Safety comes first

                      After getting a driving license, some extra classes, and gear, you are ready to cruise around the country or even the world with your new two-wheeled friend. Always have in mind that safety comes first, no matter what — even if the road is clear and you feel tempted to test out the bike and push it to the max.

                        It’s not only about your safety as a driver, but the safety of the other drivers as well as the passengers. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to outside forces and bumps; a small rock can make a significant impact on your wheel and set you off balance. If that happens during your “testing” at maximum speed, you can fall and hurt yourself badly. Always be careful.

                        The life on two wheels awaits you

                        No matter the style you prefer, when you start riding a motorcycle, you’re in a club for life. Life itself changes — your thinking, your core values, and your psychology all change. You yearn for freedom, and there is no bigger freedom than a lonely, long road, you, and your bike.

                        Hit the gas, be safe, and ride on.

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                        Dejan Kvrgic

                        Blogger, Writer

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                        Last Updated on November 12, 2020

                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                        Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                        If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                        If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                        In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                        What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                        If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                        Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                        • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
                        • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
                        • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                        • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
                        • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                        • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
                        • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                        Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

                        Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                        Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

                        1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
                        2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                        3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                        The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                        Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                        You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

                        Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

                        If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

                        Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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                        Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

                        Symptoms of fatigue include:

                        • Difficulty concentrating
                        • Low stamina
                        • Difficulty sleeping
                        • Anxiety
                        • Low motivation

                        These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                        Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                        How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                        The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                        Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                        Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

                          The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                          Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                          Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

                          If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                          It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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                          4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                          Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                          1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                          2. Exercising regularly
                          3. Using stressbusters
                          4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                          After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                          I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                          Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                          • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
                          • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
                          • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                          • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                          The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

                          Living Healthy

                          Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

                          In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

                          As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                          Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                          1. Unplug

                          Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

                          Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                          2. Unwind

                          Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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                          3. Get Comfortable

                          Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                          Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                          Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

                          This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                          Exercise

                          Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                          That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

                          I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

                          If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                          Attitude

                          Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                          When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

                          But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

                          Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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                          1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
                          2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
                          3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
                          4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
                          5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
                          6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

                          This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                          When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

                          Nutrition

                          Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                          If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

                          Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                          Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                          1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                          2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
                          3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
                          4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
                          5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                          6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
                          7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
                          8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
                          9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

                          Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                          That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                          Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

                          The Bottom Line

                          If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

                          If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

                          Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                          More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

                          Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                          [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                          [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                          [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                          [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
                          [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
                          [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                          [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                          [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
                          [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                          [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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