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Written by Rocky Uchil
Riding is not about the machine, but about the rider. Bikers are known to be explorers, always ready to tame the unknown.
But to do that, your body must be willing to take the punishment that Indian roads mete out. There are bumps, potholes and bone-jarring speed humps all over the country, because of which you need to be as fit and comfortable as possible when on rides.
But wait, you need not be a gymnast or an internationally-renowned weightlifter to start riding. Given here are a few simple things that you should keep in mind to make your dream ride a comfortable, safe one.
Yes, we all know that you have planned this ride to the last detail, and are raring to swing a leg over and set off. The day before the ride is when you are so amped up that you can hardly sleep. But that’s a bad idea. We would not want you dozing off when a particularly delicious set of corners is up next, do we?
Riding is hard work, yes. Your muscles and brain need to work as one while on a bike. Sweating reduces the water content in the body, making you feel cramped and irritated, leading to mistakes. This is why you should hydrate as often as possible. It will surely make a difference. Too much water is not good as well, since you may feel the need to hang a wire too often.
While riding, you are in a stressed position, technically. Slight changes in your riding posture will help, but after a while, your wrists, neck and back will start to ache. If that happens, stop at the side of the road, and stretch your hands, shoulders and legs as many times as you can. Be careful, as we don’t want any sprains. Do not start a Yoga session, though. A few stretches are enough.
4. Sit on your haunches
Riding is all about pacing yourself and enjoying every moment. And if you are aching all over, you cannot do that. This is why, we suggest you stop every 100 km and sit on your haunches, so that you can flex those quads and glutes. Take the support of a wall or a tree, and try and get back up straight, slowly. Do not do it too fast, or cramps will set in. Just make sure you don’t fall flat on your face while doing this, by the way!
Riding in the sun and rain, or in bad weather, for that matter, can make your helmet and gear. This is why we you need to take off your helmet and riding gear and air yourself whenever you can. This will improve blood circulation and also help your gear stay in good shape. Do a chicken dance, if you can!
6. Eat Heavy. Once
We bikers are a ravenous lot, aren’t we? Yes, which is why the best meal should be before or after a ride. Have one, yes, one heavy meal a day when on rides. And it shouldn’t be lunch. While having breakfast, make sure you have as much milk and juice as you can. Dinners should involve as much proteins and salad as possible. Lunch should be light. Just a sandwich, fruits and a glass of juice or milkshake should do. Why not doze off happily after a full dinner when you halt for the night? That will help you digest your food better.
This will help ease your back and shoulders. Riding does affect blood circulation, which can be quickly stabilised with a short, brisk walk or jog. Your buddies would love it, as long as you come back with goodies for them. Cross the roads with extreme caution, though!
Yes, sounds odd, right? Well, singers are known to have powerful lungs,which is exactly what is needed in the cold and at high altitudes. Singing while wearing the helmet will amuse you as well. It also improves blood flow to the brain and eyes. Very good idea for night rides. If your voice is really bad, though,dogs might chase you. Just kidding. You don’t have to be a musical maestro or a rock god. Simple humming will also do.
9. Wash up
Washing your face and neck will relax you as much as a high-priced Thai massage, especially after a session of hard riding. Dry your hair after that, as you wouldn’t want an itchy head when you have geared back up.
Enjoy as much as you can, because fatigue breeds boredom, which causes mistakes. You need to laugh, since it will automatically destress your body and mind. There is always a reason to, we are sure of that.. If nothing else, do the robot dance, record it and make everyone laugh. Do it when parked safely though. Every ride has some happy memories, and you need to cherish them.
So that’s all for now. Till the next ride diary, keep riding along with MRF.
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Ride safe, guys!