People ride thousands a mile a year without making any changes to improve their comfort. For some reason it’s often overlooked. But that shouldn’t be the case, especially for anyone wanting to cover big distances. A few little tweaks here and there can make a huge difference to your riding, the distance you cover and how your body feels when you get off. Try these five quick tweaks and ride for longer in comfort!
Are you sitting comfortably?
A long day in the saddle is greatly affected by … your saddle. Spend some time weighing up your seat options. A tiny change here can make a big difference when pumping out 500 miles a day. An easy option is an inflatable AirHawk seat. Even easier (and much cheaper) is a £12 sheepskin throw-over, which will keep your bum cool in heat and warmer in the cold. It’ll also double up as a ground mat when camping too. If you’re covering serious mileage, then it can be worth having your seat tailored, plumped up and filled with either memory foam or gel. This is an especially good option if you’ll be taking a pillion with you.
Handlebars are seldom adjusted on touring bikes. It’s a minor alteration which can make a huge difference to your wrists and stop your arms and shoulder muscles from aching. Changing the standard bars for wider bars is one option. But usually bars could do with just being raised a little or tilted forward. Companies like SW-Motech provide bar risers for a large number of different bikes. They’ll stop you from slouching and putting weight on your hands.
Pegs are a little trickier to alter, although many companies do provide aftermarket options. If your knees are bent at an angle which causes your legs to ache, then look at having the pegs dropped, moved slightly or opt for pivot pegs. Change the height and setting of the gear lever if it’s not comfortable changing gears too.
Take a break
Ever ridden with someone who just refuses to stop for breaks when touring? It might sound like a good idea, covering as much miles as possible before a pit-stop. But sitting in the same position continuously without a break numbs the brain and body. Taking a quick break every 100 miles will allow you to keep going for longer.
Eat and drink right
The food and drink you consume when taking a break on a long ride will make a big difference to the next leg of your trip. Sitting down to a big meal will make you feel bloated and tired as your stomach digests it. Try opting for quick, light snacks instead like fruit, coffee, water and granola bars. You’ll feel far more refreshed and ‘lighter’ on your toes. Steer away from super sugary drinks too.
Author Andy Davidson and his partner Alissa have been motorcycling in far flung corners of the world for the last 10 years. But on January 1st 2018 the pair gave up their lives in the UK for an indefinite life on the road. You can follow their round-the-world adventure online at www.madornomad.com or on social media as Mad or Nomad.