Photo Credits – Wild Triumph

Editor’s Note: The following article about how to beat rider fatigue is the third in a series of Guest posts provided by our friends at

Long highway motorcycle trips are adventurous and invigorating, but they can also be physically and mentally demanding. Especially if you are a beginner and not used to riding 300+ miles on a motorcycle. Unfortunate events on the road, such as heavy downpours, motorcycle breakdowns, and collisions can also cause fatigue. Getting tired during a long motorcycle trip can be extremely dangerous. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in Washington D.C., United States, approximately 9.5% of motorcycle highway accidents in the US occur due to rider fatigue. This article will discuss the causes and risks as well as how to beat rider fatigue and will also provide tips for safe motorcycle trips.

Table of Contents

Causes of Motorcycle Rider Fatigue
Inadequate Wind Protection
Uncomfortable Riding Position
Lack of Planning
Signs of Rider Fatigue on a Motorcycle Trip
Practical Tips That Help Overcome Motorcycle Fatigue
Modify Your Motorcycle
Eat & Drink Healthy
Get Adequate Sleep
Take Frequent Entertaining Breaks
Choose the Right Riding Gear

Causes of Motorcycle Rider Fatigue

nearly grayscale image of a man riding a motorcycle down a highway

Photo Credits – Pack Up and Ride

Physical strain, body aches, and muscle pain are some of the main reasons for motorcycle rider fatigue. But these bodily issues arise due to different factors mentioned below. Almost all these factors can be avoided by being proactive and investing in high-quality motorcycle parts available at reputable brands, such as Viking Bags.

Inadequate Wind Protection

Strong winds are one of the main causes of rider fatigue on the highways. Especially if your motorcycle is not equipped to provide adequate wind protection. In extreme temperatures, high winds can cause dehydration or wind-induced hypothermia and both conditions make you feel tired.

Uncomfortable Riding Position

Not all riders own a grand touring bike that features a comfortable and natural riding position. Traveling long distances on a sport bike or a lightweight cruiser can cause muscle fatigue and body aches.

Even if your bike is comfortable, the unchanging physical position can cause fatigue to set in quicker than you expect.

Lack of Planning

Before you embark on your motorcycle journey, it is important that you plan the route and where you plan to stop to take rejuvenating breaks frequently. Unfortunately, many riders fail to understand the importance of trip planning. With no plan, they continue riding and do not take a break until they feel aches and fatigue. While the right approach is to take breaks before pain and exhaustion set in.

Signs of Rider Fatigue on a Motorcycle Trip

image of a motorcyclist rubbing his neck showing the strain of rider fatigue

Photo Credits – Physio Inq Sutherland

Motorcycle riding requires undivided focus to ensure that you reach your destination safely. Fatigue lowers mental alertness and response time which can lead to minor mistakes, collisions, and fatal accidents. Other adverse effects that fatigue has on one’s physical and mental state are as follows:

  • Feeling bored
  • Yawning frequently
  • Loss of peripheral vision
  • Inability to focus on the road
  • Tense and achy muscles
  • Missing important road signs
  • Forgetting the route
  • Reduced motor skills and decision-making power
  • Irritability
  • Inability to enjoy the scenic view
  • Having trouble controlling the bike and navigating traffic

All of these signs of fatigue can make even a short trip unenjoyable, let alone a long trip that requires stamina. Contrary to popular belief, prevention of these symptoms begins a long time before you start your journey.

Practical Tips That Help Beat Rider Fatigue

Picturesque photo of an open highway at dawn

Photo Credits – Motorcycle Tourer

When planning to travel long distances on your motorcycle, you would first have to prepare yourself and your bike by adopting healthy lifestyle choices and modifying your ride. Furthermore, you would have to use expert advice to avoid falling asleep on the road due to fatigue and put your safety in danger.

Based on motorcycle riding skills, highway experiences, and fitness levels, riders have different stamina. As a beginner, you might consider 100+ miles as a long-distance trip, while another rider may get tired by spending three or more days on the road.

When riding with others, it is important to discuss what long-distance means to you and others. This will help you come up with a plan that will maximize riding comfort for you and your fellow riders, reducing the risk of fatigue significantly.

Here are some more tips that will help you ride safely without falling prey to deadly rider fatigue.

Modify Your Motorcycle

Image of three motorcycles parked in a beautiful setting with mountains in the background

Photo Credits – Viking Bags

An uncomfortable ergonomic configuration, hard flat seat, and lack of a windshield can make you tired quickly on the road.

If the distance between the seat, handlebars, and footpeg position makes you feel overstretched or cramped, your hands, shoulders, and back muscles will become strained and achy. Awkward ergonomics may also become the cause of persistent, dull headaches.

Handlebar position and shape can also affect the riding quality and comfort of your bike. Hence, it is necessary that you invest in high-quality aftermarket handlebars, risers, foot peg kits, and other parts to adjust your motorcycle to fit you perfectly. This way, the forward and foot controls will be right within your reach, and you will not feel any strain on your wrists, arms, shoulders, back, and legs.

Image of a motorcycle saddle

Photo Credit- Viking Bags

Consider your Saddle

A flat seat with up to 6-inch cushioning will make it impossible for you to sit comfortably for long hours as it is a major cause of lower back pain and a sore bottom, especially if you are on the heavier side.

You should consider getting a plush seat with gel cushioning or replacing the foam of your seat with a denser foam. Other options such as the AirHawk pad might accommodate you better as it distributes your weight equally.

The Wind Problem

Image of a farring from a motorcycle

Photo Credits – Viking Bags

Exposure to strong winds causes dehydration which is a major cause of fatigue. Moreover, to resist strong wind and maintain control of the bike, your muscles would have to work harder.

This wind-induced stress and strain will cause muscle fatigue to set in sooner than you would want it to. It is recommended that you invest in an adjustable tall windshield that will reduce wind buffeting by deflecting wind effectively. You can also get a full fairing to increase wind deflection and protect your hands from cold wind.

If you travel in winter, consider buying heated grips and a heated seat. But make sure that your motorcycle battery supports these accessories before installing them. The last thing you want is to get stranded on the road due to a dead battery.

Image of a motorcycle with a red gas tank

Photo Credits – Viking Bags

When riding with a passenger, make sure to add sissy bars and a backrest along with a comfy passenger seat to optimize passenger comfort.

Eat & Drink Healthy

Image of a healthy lunch including various fruits, veggies, water, and a sandwich on wheat bread

Photo Credits – British Heart Foundation

Thanks to access to the internet and all of the information we all have today, everyone knows what it means to eat and drink healthily. We are still mentioning these important tips because they will help you fight fatigue on the road.

Do not drink alcohol the day or night before your trip. Also, avoid alcohol on the road.

Drink caffeine to your advantage

When on the road, do not drink coffee until you feel tired or sleepy. Once you do, take a 15–20-minute break, drink coffee, and take a nap immediately after. According to experts, caffeine in coffee takes some time before it enters your bloodstream. Hence its effects will start appearing after you wake up. You will feel energized, refreshed, and alert for a long time.

Take a lot of water breaks to prevent dehydration.

Many riders avoid drinking water because they don’t want to stop for restroom breaks every hour or so. Don’t make this mistake and replenish your water frequently.

Eat small healthy snacks.

Avoid sugary, starchy, and junk foods as they cause energy crashes. Pack nuts, dried fruit, veggies, trail mix, granola, protein bars, cheese, etc with you to snack on the road.

Get Adequate Sleep

If you really want to beat rider fatigue, you’re going to need to get plenty of rest before you hit the road.The excitement of the road trip can cause you to stay up late, spend time with friends and family, or complete chores. Try to complete all the important tasks such as getting your motorcycle repaired, meeting friends, or last-minute errands two-three days before you plan to leave for your trip.

Get adequate sleep to wake up refreshed the next day. Also, try to get on the road as soon as the sun rises.

Take Frequent Entertainment Breaks

Image of a man and his motorcycle as he sits by the sea

Photo Credits – Focused Collection

Plan your breaks and your stops well to make your trip enjoyable as boredom also contributes to fatigue. Try to take the shortest route that offers scenic views, quick access to attractions, recreational spots, souvenir shops, diners, travel centers, truck stops, camping sites, and more. You can use different apps like Google Maps, Roadside America, AirBnB, Boondocking, Dyrt, and other apps to plan your travel.

If your route does not offer any of the facilities mentioned above, keep yourself entertained by listening to upbeat music, stretching on the road, taking pictures, connecting with friends, and writing about your trip in a travel log or journal.

Try to take a 20-minute break every two-three hours.

Choose the Right Riding Gear

Image of various biker gear such as a jacket, pants, riding boots, gloves and a helmet

Photo Credits – Overdrive

The right gear can go a long way towards helping beat rider fatigue, so it’s important to make sure you wear the right riding gear that is suitable throughout the journey. Make sure you use layering to your advantage so if the temperature rises or drops, your body does not get overworked and exhausted, trying to regulate the internal temperature.

Takeaway: How to Beat Rider Fatigue

Long motorcycle trips are fun and truly life-changing; however, you will not be able to enjoy the experience if you get tired.

The tips mentioned above are used by hardcore motorcyclists to survive the harsh conditions on the road, but they’re great for novice riders as well. Make sure you start with shorter trips and be willing to stay at a hotel overnight if you find it difficult to stay alert on the road after a full day of riding.

Special thanks for this guest post by Viking Bags

If you’ve enjoyed this article about what it takes to beat rider fatigue, click below to check out the previous article by Viking Bags:Image of a hand of cash in front of a stylish street-style motorcycle. Photo Credit: Motorcycle Shippers

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