May 08, 2009 GMT
Long Way Down

I see there are 'Yoga for Motorcyclists' sessions at the Horizons Unlimited June meeting in Ripley, and I'd recommend them to anyone. If you associate yoga with 'happy-clappy celebrity' nonsense, you should go along and see and do the real thing for yourself.

Iíve been practising yoga for more years than I can remember, about eighteen I think.
It started purely out of curiosity, and I tried a few different teachers before finding one who, for me, treated and taught the subject seriously and skilfully. Iíve been a twice-a-week student ever since.
Yes, some teachers Iíve come across do treat the activity like a happy-clappy ego trip, but there are plenty of good ones worth looking for. In the classes I go to there is no clapping, but plenty of creaking and groaning.
I find it impossible to answer the often-asked question, ďWhat benefits have you gained from it?Ē Because itís impossible for me to know what my bodily frame and engine would be like now if I'd never started the activity in the first place. But Iím absolutely certain that it would not be possible for me to still be riding my Aprilia RSV1000, knees in armpits, chin on tank, arms outstretched to infinity, had I never started those classes eighteen years ago. No doubt about it.
An important aspect though, like any exercise, is that it has to be practised regularly and properly, which needs a lot of discipline. And for me, that discipline comes from attending my twice-weekly class.
But what happens during long absences from home on extended trips?
Exactly. - Not much yoga. And Iíve been wondering how Iíll keep any practice going on this long trip to Cape Town.
Well, Iíve found a partial answer.
I bought some new boots for the trip.
Iíve been trying to decide what sort of boots to buy for quite a while, and was convinced that traditional motorcycle boots would be the wrong choice. They are no good for walking in, and I didnít want to take one pair for riding and another pair for everything else.
Then a short while ago I found a forum on the HUBB discussing that very thing, and all the participants seemed to be agreeing that a non-motorcycle, waterproof boot is the best for a long journey, as you only need the one pair. So after much shopping around and trying on different types, I bought these:

Lowa GTX

They are tall and waterproof, good for biking, and have proper laces to grip and support the ankle, good for walking.
But lacing them up! What a task!

Itís a Long Way Down to reach those Long, Long Laces.

For the boots to fit snugly, the first four holes-worth of laces have to be pulled reasonably tightly, and held tight while they are engaged into the awkward first pair of Ďquick-laceí hooks at the side, then carefully and firmly laced around the remaining four pairs of hooks, and all held in place while being tied.
Now, these boots hold your ankles so firmly that there is only one way to reach all the way down to your feet for that tricky lacing job.
Itís called Uttanasana:


So Iíll be practising this everyday between London and Cape Town. Iím sure itíll be taught, after careful preparation and warming up, at the Yoga for Bikers sessions at Ripley.
Head high, straight back, shoulders down, extend out of the hips, straight legs, bend forward at the hips only, keep head in line with spine, let spine lengthen and top of head hang down to the floor, relaxed back, fingers alongside toes, nose between shins.
And hey presto! Itís easy to pull and juggle those three yards of laces! With a little bit of a warm-up stretch first for preparation, Iíll have a short, but effective, yoga practice each time I put those boots on.
So thereís another benefit of yoga. As well as keeping your frame straight and wheels in line, youíll also be able to lace up your German Army Commando boots when youíre old enough to have your free bus-pass.

Posted by Ken Thomas at May 08, 2009 01:50 PM GMT

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