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Monday, December 20, 2010

How to Approach Long Distance Riding

How to Approach...

Paolo Volpara © 2002

The skills of riding safely, smoothly and systematically for long distances are part of the Advanced Rider tool kit. Sometime for pleasure and sometime for necessity we found ourselves on the saddle for long period and we have to train for these occurrences.

Long Distance Riding (LDR) is one of the motorcycle sporting activities going back to the Rally tradition and in the last decade promoted on normal roads by groups like the Iron Butt Association in USA.

As any sport it should be approached with humility and passion giving time for progressive training and increasing experience.

LDR develops the capacity to hold alertness, concentration and attention for long periods of time in a variety of different situation.

It also trains the pilots on the essential art of self-evaluation obliging the rider to
• Face the personal skill’s limits
• Evaluate constantly the physical fitness status
• Accept, without problems, failure

In addition LDR incorporates planning, orientation and organizational skills that will turn quite useful in normal riding condition.

Above all LDR is a good former of discipline in the good (striving for achieving the goal) and in the bad (recognize attained limits)

The discipline required to maintain systematic riding for long spans can be applied then to everyday rides making the biker safer and progressive. It has often been noticed that a student under observation in a Training Course reduces the quality of his riding after 15/20 minutes. It is a well know fact that new riders (or riders with little training/experience) found particularly difficult to apply the same level of concentration after one or two hours of riding. The mind start wondering, scanning disappears, target fixation increases, short sighting becomes the standard, position/speed/gear go out of control; the road, not the bikers take the lead.

LDR must be approached in stages and within the (well-known) individual limits.

Specifically the rider must maintain constantly under control the level of fatigue, the physical fitness and the mental alertness. When a decreasing value in the last two elements and an increasing one in fatigue is perceived the rider must be able to stop. In this area LDR is a great teacher of self analysis and it cannot be approached by people with egos out of control or with limited capacity of evaluation of personal skills and conditions.

It is important to remember that any LDR must be performed in total respect o0f the traffic law of the Country: the great riders in this particular sport are not fast riders but constant riders.

As such the taste of this sport is not suitable for everybody. By this I mean that, while everybody must train for long distance riding, only the pilots with passion and training in this demanding sector should face challenges like 1000/24.
This applies to every branch of motorcycling: for an experience rider on road competing on the Paris Dakar Rally (without the proper training and experience) can turn out to be suicidal.

The same applies for an off-road racer called (without the proper training and experience) to race in a GP.
Finally: Long distance rides are not organized events: IBA (around the world) and OMM (in Turkey) only promote the knowledge of this sport and certify individual attempts.





Last Updated: 2009-01-27 11:22

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