We’ve already covered the reasons why being fit will make you a better rider (check it out here if you missed it), but beyond the curls and squats, there’s one activity that makes the biggest impact on you as a motorcyclist. Here’s a hint: it’s also got two wheels.

Yep. Cycling is hands-down the best cross-training exercise for motorcyclists. There’s a reason all the pros do it. Riding a bicycle works all the muscles you use when you’re on your moto (whether you know it or not)—your core and legs, especially—as well as improving your two-wheel balance and control and cardiovascular fitness.

Riding a road bicycle is great, but for the biggest impact (not to mention a heck of a lot of fun), taking a spin on a mountain bike is the best way to cross-train your body and brain for motorized two-wheeling.

Giant Full-E+
This Full-E+ full-suspension electric pedal assist mountain bike from Giant has reignited my enjoyment of bicycling. Photo by Kurt Yaeger.

I’ve been into cycling for fitness for years, not in a hardcore way, just for fun and exercise. But when I took my first ever off-road ride way back when on my old KLR650, my mountain biking experience resulted in an immediate payoff on my moto, especially in balance and line selection. I had already honed my ability to quickly and continuously evaluate the trail ahead, picking the easiest and most manageable line through the rocks, ruts and sand.

Even when riding street motorcycles, I discovered that the more I mountain biked, the better my balance became and the more comfortable I was, even on tall, heavy ADV bikes. My increased leg strength gave me the confidence to get just my toes on the ground, or even just one foot, and I could balance and push back off with less effort.

Plus, practicing skills like rear-wheel skids on my bicycle was much less intimidating than trying it on a 450-lb dual-sport.

Giant Full-E+
Riding a mountain bike teaches you how to evaluate the trail ahead and make quick decisions. This steep uphill switchback is covered in deep, silty dirt, but the far outside line is the cleanest and most hard-packed.

There’s also a shared two-wheel sisterhood that exists between cyclists and motorcyclists. Maybe it’s the fact that we both ride alongside distracted drivers, playing much closer attention to our surroundings and therefore noticing others in similar circumstances.

Maybe it’s that we’re both drawn to the freedom and fun that only being on two wheels can provide.

Probably it’s a bit of both.

Giant Full-E+
A bicycle ride is a great way to get some exercise while improving your two-wheel skills.

Recently we got our hands on the latest trend to hit cycling, an e-bike from Giant, and it reignited an excitement about mountain biking that I’d almost forgotten. Inspired by this, we’ve decided to start a fitness section of the website that we hope will answer any questions you might have about getting into pedal-powered two wheeling, and provide some skills practice and inspiration as you start riding.

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  1. 100% agree. After broken collar bone, open heart surgery, left and right ankle surgery for broken fibulas, two internal bleeds requiring surgery on one, and Cancer of the esophagus to wear you down, I find my 48V Rad Mini with 4″ balloon tires to be just the trick for letting me ride anywhere and help my recovery from what appear a continuous tear the body down of events. I’m 72 and riding the E-bike is fun.


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