Recent Study Shows That Motorcycle Riding Increases Focus and Alertness and Also Relieves Stress
Different motorcyclists will give you different reasons why they love bike riding. Irrespective of these differences, they all have one thing in common: the incredible feeling of joy and freedom that comes with riding.
Stereotypes about bikers
The motorcycle community consists of people whose passion for bike riding extends beyond merely using it as a means of transport. They are typically part of a social group of bikers who take the mainstream activity of biking to heart.
However, society considers bikers ‘rebels’. They believe bikers are ‘bad boys and girls’ with leather jackets, tattoos, and bandana scarves who break rules and are part of a gang. People also think bikers are reckless drivers. They couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The truth is that bikers have to be even more vigilant than car drivers on the road. They are also more likely to spot situations that might be dangerous before car drivers can.
Perhaps, the worst is the way people think motorcyclists aren’t hard workers. They figure the guy with an SUV has worked hard enough to buy it, whereas the motorcyclist is some dude who just rides his bike from bar to bar.
This mentality is archaic, to be frank. Bikers could be amongst the most hard-working people you know. Riding a bike doesn’t stop one from working at a good company, or even going to school. People need to stop with the stereotyping and condescension they have for bikers. 
Reasons why people ride motorcycles
Motorcyclists ride bikes for numerous reasons. One thing is certain, it’s not just about it being a means of transport. It also goes beyond using the motorcycle as a tool for attracting women or men to them.
Here are five reasons why people love motorcycles
1. It’s thrilling
The feeling that comes from sitting atop a bike while it goes at very high speeds can only be described as exhilarating. Several stunts can be pulled while riding; from ‘flying’ to a host of other acrobatic styles. As long as all the safety measures are observed and a helmet is worn at all times, motorcycle riding can be super fun.
2. They are passionate about it
Most core bikers if given the option of choosing between the latest sports cars and a motorcycle will choose the motorcycle in a heartbeat. This is because motorcycling goes beyond a hobby for them, it’s a lifestyle. The fire burns in them and the flames can only be fanned by riding a bike.
3. The freedom that comes from riding a bike
Riding a bike comes with a feeling of pure and absolute freedom. The trees and buildings being left behind as they zoom past them all melt into a blur of shapes and colors, till it’s just the biker and his motorcycle on the road.
4. It creates lifelong friendships
A tight bond is likely to be formed between two avid bike riders. They have a lot in common and even if they run out of things to say, they can always hop on their bikes and take long rides. This relationship can give way to a lifelong friendship between two people irrespective of their age, gender, or race.
5. It brings a sense of calm upon them
Riding a bike is in more ways than one therapeutic. There is a feeling of peace and calm that washes over your body when you are on a bike. It could almost be regarded as some sort of meditation.
Benefits of riding a motorcycle
It may interest you to know that riding a motorcycle is anything but a distraction. Heck, recent studies from the Semel Institute for Neurosciences and Human Behavior showed that it not only improves focus but also it relieves stress.
The study which was carried out by Dr. Don Vaughn and his team at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that riding a motorcycle does the aforementioned in addition to improving alertness and increasing heart rate. While the good doctor doesn’t ride a motorcycle, he snowboards, and skydives, both activities that get your blood rushing.
The in-depth study of the effects motorcycle riding has on the human brain was funded by Harley-Davidson America. They reached out to Dr. Vaughn who after careful consideration agreed to carry out the research.
Unlike the typical lab experiment, it felt good for the neuroscientist to do his research without the confines of the lab. “No lab experiment can duplicate the experience of riding a motorcycle, just like with most activities. It’s just hard to duplicate any kind of sport,” said Vaughn.
The study involved 77 participants whose brain activities were recorded while they were riding. This was done by attaching electroencephalogram (EEG) caps under their helmets. Thus, they were able to measure the electrical activities of the riders’ brains and figure out their focus and alertness levels.
Additionally, the participants were required to provide urine and saliva samples so their cortisol (stress hormone) levels will be measured.
As for the actual experiment, “You get a view into the consciousness and the experience of people while they’re riding a motorcycle,” said Dr. Vaughn. 
Afterward, the data collected were analyzed and the results computed. The results showed that indeed, there is an increase in alertness and focus — more than when driving a car. Also, they found that there was a 28 percent decrease in the stress hormone coupled with a 27 percent increase in adrenal and 11 percent increase in the heart rate of the riders.
There were numerous reasons for carrying out the study
For starters, there’s never been one like it before on the subject. Bikers know they love to bike, but there was no actual scientific reason for it. This study has given a quantifiable insight into the world of benefits associated with motorcycle riding.
Secondly, Harvey-Davidson intends to market motorcycles by using the information from the study. 
Other benefits that come with riding a motorcycle
1.Improved cognitive function
A study by Ryuta Kawashima — author of Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? — showed that bike riding could do that by 80 percent. It might sound contradictory but it has been shown that increased concentration could increase brain function.
According to the doctor, “Riding a motorcycle changes the simplest of commutes into an event that challenges the mind in ways that driving just can’t…” 
2. It could help you to lose weight
This is not only true for riders, passengers as well can burn a couple of calories just from riding with you. As for the riders, studies show that bike riding can help you burn 600 calories if you go hard on it and 300 calories if you only ride for an hour of reduced use.
3. It strengthens your core, neck, and spine muscles
With the appropriate adjustments to your bike and posture, you can straighten your core and get stronger muscles in your neck. Also, gripping the bike with your thigh muscles and constantly maneuvering is bound to strengthen those muscles as well.
5. It makes you very happy
If you are an adrenaline junkie, you can get a healthy fix from riding your motorcycle for a short while every day. Also, endorphins are released and these are known to bring about feelings of euphoria and bliss. So, riding a motorcycle ultimately makes you very happy.
At the end of the day, you’ve certainly seen why riding a bike is a good idea. If you can, perhaps you should invest in a motorcycle. Even if you can only ride it for an hour around your neighborhood, you’ll still feel great and in the long run, you could reap all the other benefits.
- “25 Things Outsiders Don’t Understand About Motorcycle Culture.” Hot Cars. Andre Nalin. December 8, 2018.
- “Riding A Motorcycle Improved Metrics Of Focus And Decreased Stress Biomarkers, According To A New Neurobiological Study.” PR News Wire. Harley-Davidson, Inc. January 17, 2019.
- “STUDY PROVES THAT RIDING A MOTORCYCLE REDUCES STRESS.” Visor Down. Laura Thomson. January 22, 2019.
- “The Mental Health Benefits Of Riding Motorcycles.” Web Bike World. Kathy Koewler. July 15, 2019.