Thursday, March 05, 2009


An article from the Singapore Straits Times on March 4th lays out the results of a study which finds that motorcyling keeps the brains of middle-aged men young.

The article, set forth below, should be good news for men wishing to convince their spouses that a motorcycle should be in their future. Per the article, morotcyle riding demands a high level of awareness and that this awareness is invigorating for the brain.

From the Author's perspective, riding a sportbike demands a very high level of awareness. The Author's Ducati is a difficult bike to ride and its perfromance attributes demand a high level of road awareness. A moment's lapse can be highly detrimental to the riding experience.

In one sense, it did not take a scientific study to convince the Author that riding a motorcycle keeps one young. But science is the lingua franca in the Desert of the Real and we prefer to let the data do the talking.


TOKYO - RIDING motorcycles helps keep drivers young by invigorating their brains, the scientist behind popular 'Brain Training' computer software said on Wednesday, citing a new scientific study.

'The driver's brain gets activated by riding motorbikes' in part because it requires heightened alertness, Mr Ryuta Kawashima said after his research team and Yamaha Motor conducted a string of experiments involving middle-aged men.

'In a convenient and easy environment, the human mind and body get used to setting the hurdle low,' he warned. 'Our final conclusion is that riding motorcycles can lead to smart ageing.'

Mr Kawashima is the designer of 'Brain Training' software, which incorporates quizzes and other games and is available on the Nintendo DS game console under the name 'Brain Age' in North America.

A self-professed motorcycle fan, 49-year-old Mr Kawashima cited a new study conducted jointly by Yamaha and Tohoku University, for which he works.

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,' Mr Kawashima said.

In one test, which required the men to remember a set of numbers in reverse order, the riders' scores jumped by more than 50 per cent in two months, while the non-riders' marks deteriorated slightly, he said.

The riders also said they made fewer mistakes at work and felt happier.

'Mental care is a very big issue in modern society,' said Mr Kawashima. 'I think we made an interesting stir here as data showed you can improve your mental condition simply by using motorbikes to commute.' -- AFP