Getting in Shape for a Dual-Sport Motorcycle Adventure in Ecuador
Offroad and Dual-Sport motorcycle tours can be pretty demanding, both mentally and physically. At Ecuador Freedom, we have done everything we can with our in-house maintenance staff to prepare the bike for the trip. But it is easy to forget that the rider also needs to prepare for a long, demanding dual-sport motorcycle tour by ensuring they have adequate strength, endurance, and the proper food and drinks made ahead of time. You can share these with your friends or riding partners that have joined you on the tour.
Strength and endurance required for a dual-sport motorcycle tour
So, imagine you pull over for a rest break, and your motorcycle falls over. Lifting the bike if you are by yourself on a self-guided tour would require some lower back and leg strength to get the motorcycle back up to standing. To avoid hurting yourself with this heavy lifting, it would be a good idea to practice your bending and lifting body mechanics. As you feel comfortable with these body mechanics, start working on deadlifting and squatting to help strengthen these movements.
To properly bend and lift heavy objects like a fully-loaded dual-sport motorcycle:
- Start with your feet wide for a good base of support.
- Stand as close as you can to the object you are lifting.
- Keep your core tight
- Bend at your knees, not your back
- Keep the object close to you as you stand back up.
- Stand back up by pushing into the ground versus rounding up through your spine.
What about your core and upper body? As Brian Murray of SoCal Supermoto School states, "hold the bars like you're holding baby birds." It is important to stay light on the bars to decrease muscle tension, tightness, and risk of developing pain or injury. The best way to prepare yourself do this is to work on your core, upper back, and arm strength. Plus, the stronger your core is, the better your posture will be for those long hours of riding.
And most importantly, you need to have the endurance required to stay in control of the motorbike for hours while out on the road. You need to ensure that your body is strong enough and has enough stamina to stay awake, alert, and able to maintain control during any sudden turns, unexpected llamas jumping in front of you, and anything else that can happen while out on tour.
How to best prepare strength and endurance weeks before the motorcycle tour:
- Deadlifts and squats to build lower body strength.
- Work within a weight range where you can complete 4 sets of 6 repetitions. Progressively build in strength over time.
- Bent over rows, lat pulldowns.
- Also, work within a weight range where you can complete 4 sets of 6 repetitions. Progressively build in strength over time.
- Start with 3 sets of 10 and progressively build up to 3 sets of 15-20.
- Start with 4 sets of 30 seconds, progressively build to 3 sets of 1 minute.
All of these will build the strength and endurance of your arms, core, and legs - all of which are key to having excellent control of the motorcycle on off-road surfaces.
According to RoadRunner Motorcycle Tour and Travel, to focus more on overall endurance and alertness, add in aerobic and cardiovascular exercises, "by improving the fitness of your heart and lungs, the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles is increased, and your body can perform at a higher level for a longer period of time."
Examples of aerobic exercises include running, biking, and swimming. Make a goal of completing at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. This will help you deal with the ever-changing elevations you will be riding in Ecuador, from sea-level to over 15,000 feet!
Day of motorcycle tour:
Take 10 minutes to go through a thorough warm-up for your whole body.
Make sure to include dynamic stretches for your lower legs, mid and low back, arms, and neck. While the possibilities are endless, try these to start with:
Repeat 2-3 times:
- Jumping Jacks, 20 repetitions
- Toe touches, 10 repetitions
- Lunges, 10 repetitions each leg
- Squats, 10 repetitions
- Arm circles, arms straight out to your side, like a T, rotate forwards and backward, 10 each direction, making the circle bigger as you go.
- Torso rotations
- Chest stretch
- Neck rotations, 10 repetitions each direction
- Neck side bends, 10 repetitions each direction.
Food and hydration
After putting all of the hard work into getting your body and our hard work getting the motorcycle ready, you need to make sure you have enough food and hydration to maintain your energy levels for a long dual-sport ride. When riding in Ecuador's remote areas, there may not be multiple restaurants or convenience stores to replenish your energy.
First, have a good breakfast before you even get started (all of the hotels in our tours serve a hardy breakfast), including a source of protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
While riding, carry easy to eat, nutritious snacks. There is a word for this in Quechua, the Inca Empire's indigenous language - "kukayu." Some examples of kukayu are:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Energy bars
- Beef jerky
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
- Easy to open cans of tuna or beans
- And keep extra water with you at all times
Besides plain water, you will want to have a mix of electrolytes to avoid dehydration. Look for a premade drink, electrolyte tabs, coconut water (served fresh in Ecuador's lower elevations), or make your own using:
- 2 cups water.
- Juice of ½ lemon.
- ⅛ to ¼ sea salt
- 2 tsp raw honey (you will find this throughout Ecuador)
Follow all of these recommendations for a smooth and successful dual-sport or offroad adventure motorcycle ride!
About the Author
Adria Biasi is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. Besides helping people move and feel better, she is also passionate about writing and content creation. She specializes in helping people in the healthcare, wellness, and fitness industry grow their online presence through her freelance writing skills. By combining her two passions, exercise, and writing, she won’t only help you with your business, she will also help you reach your health and wellness goals.
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- This commment is unpublished.· 4 months agoThis is very good stuff. Especially with the quarantine and all this "sitting around the house" time. Good time to get/stay in shape.
I did a tour with Rafa a couple of years back (Dirt Deluxe) and arrived in Quito less than a day before the ride. As a result, my energy level was low and after one or two unforeseen events, my ability to assimilate new experiences was compromised. Plain and simple, I was tired. Luckily, we had a mechanical issue and I ended up with a few extra hours on my hands at Tunas y Cabras. While Rafa went to take care of a couple of things, I stretched, did yoga and then rested for a while by doing absolutely nothing.
Once we were riding again, Rafa noted that my mood had improved considerably and after the two of us had exchanged a few jokes, he asked me, "What kind of yoga did you do? Clown yoga?"
My point is this: Bikes do require physical strength, flexibility and conditioning. And a ride with EC Freedom requires a good night (or tw of rest before the ride. Stay in shape, arrive in Quito two or three days early, and eat well. Your body and your tour guide will thank you.
George Gage -- Moreno Valley, California
2013 Husqvarna TE 511
2017 Kawasaki Versys-X 300