Motorcycle riding can be a thrilling and exciting activity that offers riders a sense of freedom and adventure. The Rolling Barrage, which is our annual coast to coast ride conducted in August since 2017, is a perfect example of this. Our ride not only promotes the awareness of PTSD but acts as therapy for many who take part.
However, it’s important to recognize that motorcycle riding can also impact mental health. In our own mental health blog, “Not Silent” we will discuss the connection between mental health and motorcycle riding and how to support good mental health while riding.
As with all our blog posts pertaining to mental health and wellness, we cannot stress enough that if you are experiencing acute challenges to your mental health, please seek certified professionals to guide you in mitigating your mental health challenges.
The Rolling Barrage PTSD Foundation / The Rolling Barrage actively supports many organizations that have professional counselling to assist you. Please visit our Who We Help page to engage in an organization that can help you.
The Benefits of Motorcycle Riding for Mental Health
Motorcycle riding can have several benefits for mental health. For some, riding can provide a sense of freedom and escape from daily stressors. The sensation of wind rushing past, often referred to as “wind therapy” and the focus required for safe riding, can help to clear the mind and reduce anxiety.
Motorcycle riding can provide a sense of community and connection with other riders, which can be important for mental well-being. The Rolling Barrage conducts an annual coast to coast ride across Canada, which presents an excellent opportunity for riders to connect with like-minded people.
The most common connection obviously is motorcycles. Then the connection of service to one’s country or community, be it military or the first responder community. This is also fortified by those that ride and support those aspects of the ride and the ridership, whether they be family, friends, or significant others. The ride itself, The Rolling Barrage, is literally a moving community of riders engaging among themselves but also the communities that they ride through or stay overnight in.
Potential Risks to Mental Health
While there are benefits to motorcycle riding for mental health, it’s also important to recognize potential risks. Riding a motorcycle can come with dangers, and accidents can cause physical injuries that can affect mental health. The stress and anxiety associated with riding in busy traffic or on unfamiliar roads can also impact mental health.
The Rolling Barrage uses experienced riders to have key roles within the ride itself, such as Lead Bikes, Waist Gunners, Tail-Gunners that provide a safety element and purpose during the ride. There are often Support Vehicles that have significant road safety experience. The Rolling Barrage also engages with the First Responder community and policing organizations across the country has supported The Rolling Barrage by providing escort as the ride progresses.
How to Support Good Mental Health while Riding
There are several things that riders can do to support good mental health while riding. These include:
Wear Protective Gear: Wearing protective gear, such as a helmet and motorcycle jacket, reduces the risk of physical injuries in the event of an accident. Feeling safe and protected while riding can help reduce anxiety and support good mental health.
Choose Safe Routes: The Rolling Barrage spends significant time each year on route planning. Routes are chosen for many varying reasons, such as routes that are familiar and less busy to reduce stress and anxiety while riding is one aspect of many when we consider routes.
Practice Safe Riding Techniques: Practice safe riding techniques, such as maintaining a safe speed, following traffic rules, and scanning for hazards, to reduce the risk of accidents and promote mental well-being.
Connect with Other Riders: Connecting with other riders can provide a sense of community and support that can promote mental well-being.
Take Breaks: Taking regular breaks while riding can help reduce stress and fatigue, which can impact mental health. During The Rolling Barrage some of our start and end point destinations are in the hundreds of kilometers. Depending on the route, our breaks can encompass a breakfast stop, fuel, visiting a memorial or point of interest, to just taking a break to stretch, hydrate, and relax.
To conclude, The Rolling Barrage focuses on the positive aspects of motorcycle riding that provide benefits to mental health and wellness. Consider riding with The Rolling Barrage to experience what many have experienced to date.