Motorcycle Riding as a Path to Mental Health

Why two wheels? Because motorcycle riding may be one of the best ways to get to a healthy mind.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may have come across the idea that Motorcycling is Mindfulness, and if you haven’t you might as well start there. Harley claims that riding a motorcycle improves focus and reduces stress. The older I get, the more I’m convinced that riding a motorcycle is a multi-faceted path to more general mental health. I’m going to use this particular page as a place to bookmark all of my best arguments and observations so that when someone asks “Why make that trip on a bike instead of a car?”, I have one place to send them. Some of these are ready to read now, some are teasers to be filled in as I have a chance to do more writing.

  1.  Motorcycling is Mindfulness: Mindfulness is having a moment in the sun right now, but being briefly popular doesn’t change the core benefits.
  2. Lost Connections and the Cost of Belonging: It’s probably no surprise that many people’s social interactions are, well, fucked up. Why do so many people have depression and anxiety and what can we do about it? Thoughts on motorcycling as it relates to Hari’s work on addiction and depression as well as other works.
  3. Riding Fast and Slow: Thoughts on long solitary rides as it relates to Kahneman’s work on human cognition.
  4. The mind needs nature: it’s no coincidence that the most popular rides are set against amazing natural scenery. Much of our mental wiring evolved to find food, mates, and avoid danger. Nature is complicated, and the complex texture of nature is something that makes our brains happy. Thoughts on motorcycle travel involving research I was first exposed to by Levitin.

All of these things might be attainable in other ways, but stick with me as I fill in the blanks as to why riding might be one of the best mental health bang for your buck things you can spend your time on.

 

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