Advertising
Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      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.

          Advertising

          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.

                Advertising

                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.

                  Advertising

                  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.

                        More by this author

                        Dejan Kvrgic

                        Blogger, Writer

                        30 Excellent Slow Cooker Recipes For Lazy People 5 Things You Must Know to Find the Best Headphones Bedroom Makeover 101: Enhancing The Most Important Place In Your Home 8 Fun Ways to Make Your Wedding Truly Memorable How to Survive Valentine’s Day – A Practical Guide

                        Trending in Lifestyle

                        1 How to Gain Muscle Fast (The Healthy And Natural Way) 2 Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It 3 Anxiety Coping Mechanisms That Work When You’re Stressed to the Max 4 15 Natural Sleep Remedies for Insomnia That Are Backed by Science 5 These 13 Leg Stretches Will Prevent Pain and Injury During Exercise

                        Read Next

                        Advertising
                        Advertising

                        Published on November 14, 2018

                        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                        Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                        With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                        For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                        In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                        Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                        Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                        It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                        For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                        Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                        Symptoms of Fatigue

                        Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                        • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                        • mental blocks
                        • lack of motivation
                        • headache
                        • dizziness
                        • muscle weakness
                        • slowed reflexes and responses
                        • impaired decision-making and judgement
                        • moodiness, such as irritability
                        • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                        • reduced immune system function
                        • blurry vision
                        • short-term memory problems
                        • poor concentration
                        • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                        Causes of Fatigue

                        The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                        • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                        • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                        • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                        • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                        Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                        Medical Causes of Fatigue

                        If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                        Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                        Anemia

                        Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                        Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                        There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

                        Advertising

                        This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                        Diabetes

                        Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                        Sleep Apnea

                        Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                        Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                        Thyroid disease

                        An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                        Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                        • Lack of sleep
                        • Too much sleep 
                        • Alcohol and drugs 
                        • Sleep disturbances 
                        • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                        • Poor diet 

                        Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                        • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                        • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                        • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                        • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                        Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                        Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                        • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                        • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                        • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                        How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                        Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                        1. Tell The Truth

                        Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                        To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                        Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                        The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                        One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                        • How you feel
                        • What time of day it is
                        • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                        • How your mind and body reacts

                        This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                        2. Reduce Your Commitments

                        When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

                        Advertising

                        If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                        When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                        Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                        3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                        If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                        Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                        If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                        Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                        Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                        4. Express More Gratitude

                        Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                        It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                        Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                        5. Focus On Yourself

                        Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                        There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                        But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                        We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                        6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                        Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

                        Advertising

                        Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                        The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                        Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                        7. Take a Power Nap

                        When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                        Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                        This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                        8. Take More Exercise

                        The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                        Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                        The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                        You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                        9. Get More Quality Sleep

                        To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                        Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                        My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                        10. Improve Your Diet

                        Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                        Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                        On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

                        Advertising

                        To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                        Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                        Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                        11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                        Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                        When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                        Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                        My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                        12. Get Hydrated

                        Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                        Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                        If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                        The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                        The Bottom Line

                        These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                        If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                        Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                        [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                        [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                        [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                        [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                        [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

                        Read Next