Ask the MSF: Staying In Shape Over The Winter
October 28, 2013
Q: I don’t ride in the winter months. Is there anything I can do in my off-season to stay sharp? Jumping jacks? Video games? Any good books? Thanks for the advice and everything you do to keep riders safe.
A: Actually, all three of your suggestions are useful. Not that we would specifically recommend jumping jacks for everybody, but keeping fit is important because motorcycling is more physically demanding than driving a car. It helps to stay strong and agile and build your endurance. Maintain a reasonable workout schedule over the winter and remember to stretch as part of your warm-up.
And since riding is more a skill of the eyes and mind than the hands and feet, anything that improves perceptual abilities and hand/eye coordination can only help. Certain video games or the MSF’s Rider Perception Challenge (on our homepage, MSF-USA.org) can be beneficial. Like any other activity, moderation is the key—don’t strain your eyes.
There are many books on the art and science of motorcycling, including the MSF’s “Guide to Motorcycling Excellence.” By reading a wide variety of books you can pick up some new tips or enhance your understanding of motorcycling theory. You can also rehearse certain riding scenarios in your mind.
We’ll add a fourth suggestion: Clean and inspect your motorcycle from end to end and top to bottom. It’s easier to spot wear and damage on a clean bike than a dirty one. Set aside a few hours to wash, degrease, or polish every surface and component, down to the nuts and bolts. When using strong cleaners, make sure you have enough ventilation in your garage. Then, following MSF’s T-CLOCS pre-ride inspection checklist and your motorcycle’s owner’s manual, check, adjust, lubricate or replace items as listed. To prepare your bike for long-term storage, consult your owner’s manual.
When spring rolls around, your body, mind, and bike will be ready to take on the adventures of a whole new year. Consider taking your first ride of the year in a formal skills course, such as the MSF’s Ultimate Bike Bonding RiderCourse, BRC 2, Advanced RiderCourse, or Street RiderCourse.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (www.msf-usa.org) is internationally recognized for its comprehensive, research-based rider education and training programs. It offers a wide range of programs, from hands-on training to online opportunities. The group's Basic eCourse (http://online2.msf-usa.org/msf/ecourse.aspx) is an interactive computer-based program that provides riders of all knowledge and skill levels with the basics of motorcyclist safety, while recognizing the best first ride is in the hands-on MSF Basic RiderCourse.
About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world's largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists' interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through its support of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, the AMA preserves the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com