Any rider will tell you, riding demands a lot more from you than driving a car. Protected in a steel cage, surrounded by sound, drinking coffee, talking on a cell phone and blissfully unaware of his or her surroundings, the average driver isn’t fully engaged in the task at hand. On a motorcycle, that level of disengaged riding would result in injury or death. Beyond that, riding takes more coordination and balance, the ability to operate a variety of controls, usually by feel while avoiding that dozing driver in the next lane. You might think all of that mental exercise would keep you sharp and now, a Japanese brain training software expert, Ryuta Kawashima, with a research team working in conjunction with Yamaha, agrees.
One experiment involved 22 men, all in their 40s and 50s, who held motorcycle licences but had not taken a ride for at least a decade.
They were randomly split into two groups — one asked to resume riding motorcycles in everyday life for two months, and another that kept using bicycles or cars.
“The group that rode motorbikes posted higher marks in cognitive function tests,” Kawashima said.
Of course, we already knew that. Now, let’s see, if you could just tell your doctor you felt your mind was getting a little sluggish, do you think he could just prescribe a new motorcycle? “Honest Honey, the doctor said I had to go for a ride every day.”