The high miles club
Riding long distances safely and comfortably is not something to be taken lightly, it’s a true test of mental and physical endurance. It’s one of the biggest challenges an adventure touring rider can face – and one that many overlook.
No matter how well a route or itinerary is planned, you can never rule out having to knock out a big mileage day: maybe a border or road is closed, or there’s a ferry to catch and you’ve been held up en-route. Perhaps there’s been an incident and you have to go the extra miles to get help, or maybe you’ve just underestimated how long it takes to get to your end destination in the country and conditions your riding in – you can go a lot further and faster in Europe, than you can in Africa or Asia.
Whatever the reason, being capable and confident riding for longer periods is a skill that not many train to do, but sometimes there may be no option. Be prepared, so that if a 500-mile day presents itself you are up to the job:
Always take breaks
Even if it’s just five mins to get off and stretch and have a drink of water, a five-minute break is worth its weight in gold. Never ride until the point of exhaustion.
Being properly hydrated helps keep your concentration level up. Always have water on you and drink little and often, as you ride.
Eat little and often
Don’t stop and have a big meal, as the blood goes to your digestion system and this can speed up tiredness. Caffeine has been proven to help, so like the old public information film said: “Pull over, drink a cup of Coffee.”
Full throttle and full brake is not good. Maintain a consistent speed, not too fast though as your concentration level goes up – your fuel consumption does too. Smooth and steady wins the race.
Learn to listen to your body and recognise the signs of tiredness, fatigue, hunger, body temperature etc. and lean not to ignore them. If you can sense a problem, deal with it right away.
Kevin and Julia