How to stay alert while riding


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Being alert while riding a motorcycle is of utmost importance. Take it seriously

Story: Rommel Albuquerque
Photography: Harket Suchde

As we returned from this year’s India Bike Week in Goa, we heard the sad news that one of the bikers lost his life on the ride back to Mumbai. When riding for long distances on a motorcycle it’s very important to stay alert; even the slightest delay in reaction time might lead to a fatality. We have put together a few tips that will help you on long motorcycle rides.

Riding at a monotonously steady pace can sometimes lead you to relax a bit too much and your mind will start listening to the sound of your exhaust (in some cases the engine) like a lullaby slowly soothing you to sleep. If you feel this happening, try and vary the pace at which you’re riding. If you see a few cars or lorries ahead, slow down a bit and once you are past them, accelerate to your heart’s content so that a surge of adrenaline kicks in.

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If you’re planning to ride for a long distance in one single go, try to avoid a heavy meal immediately before you start. A sumptuous meal just before riding can make you lethargic and slacken your reflexes.

Nutrition experts say eating a small healthy snack every two hours helps your body’s metabolism rate and doesn’t leave you with hunger pangs. So when you decide to stop and rest for a few minutes, eat a fruit or a protein bar or some biscuits. It’ll keep your energy level up until your next halt.

No alcohol and cigarettes. Drinking and riding is always a dangerous idea. The next time you feel tired and sleepy while riding, stop and have a cup of tea or coffee. Alternatively, you could also chew on a piece of gum or candy.

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Sing a Song
This is the technique to stay alert and awake most widely used by bikers all over the world. Singing your favorite tunes aloud has a calming effect and it also keeps your mind active. The best part of this is that within the tight dome that a helmet is, we all sound like superstars!

Riding long distances can leave you dehydrated. So every time you stop, have a sip of water. Splash cold water on your face if you’re feeling tired. It stimulates the receptors in the skin on your face and helps you keep awake.

Fatigue is one of the main reasons why riders fall asleep while being astride a motorcycle. It creeps up on you slowly and, before you know it, your eyes start closing automatically every few seconds. The moment you feel overwhelmingly tired or if you notice that your eyelids have started drooping, stop there and then; not after a few kilometres or at the next scheduled stop. Pull over to the side of the road and have a sip of water or a snack. In extreme situations, take a short nap.

Start Early
One of the best ways to travel long distances and make good time is to leave early in the morning. About three o’clock to five o’clock is ideal. During long journeys this helps munch the miles quicker because of the sparse traffic on the road. Besides, your mind and body also remain alert for a longer period of time.


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