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Bikers Know Why . . .

“Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out of a car window.”

This quote is funny but also spot on because the joy of riding a motorcycle involves being in the wind, exposed, open to the elements. Free, if you will. And men and women who ride motorcycles know the exhilaration of riding on two wheels.

Bikers call cars “cages.” The implications are obvious. Certainly driving a car is safer than riding a motorcycle, but then . . . that is the point, isn’t it. Motorcycles aren’t safe and bikers revel in the inherent dangers of riding on two wheels as well as the knowledge they are responsible for their own safety. Sure, that’s true of four wheeled vehicles as well, but the obvious danger in bikes makes it more apparent. It is easy not to pay attention when one is driving a car. You don’t see many bikers texting while riding down the road.

That’s why the press release from Harley Davidson, of a new neurobiological study, indicates that riding a motorcycle has actual positive effects on the rider. The results of the study: “riding a motorcycle improved metrics of focus and decreased stress biomarkers.” In other words, it is what those of us who ride bikes have always known—riding relieves stress and improves focus. If you don’t pay attention to what is going on around you you’ll end up as road pizza.

Excerpts from the report:

Researchers recorded participants’ brain activity and hormone levels before,

during, and after motorcycling, driving a car, and resting. While riding a

motorcycle, participants experienced increased sensory focus and resilience to

distraction. Riding also produced an increase in adrenaline levels and heart rate,

as well as a decrease in cortisol metrics – results often associated with light

exercise and stress-reduction.[i] [ii]


“Stress levels, especially among young adults, continue to rise, and people are exploring pathways to better their mental and physical health. Until recently, the technology to rigorously measure the impact of activities like motorcycling on the brain didn’t exist,” said Dr. Don Vaughn, the neuroscientist who led the research team. “The brain is an amazingly complex organ and it’s fascinating to rigorously investigate the physical and mental effects riders report.”

It is a fascinating read.

The full study with sources and notes can be found here:

My Iron Head Sportster, an XLX 1000cc in Singapore

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