Finding the right bike for you can be a challenge for any number of reasons. If you’re a short rider, the challenges are undeniably greater—but they don’t have to be impossible. A 6’3” person with a 34-inch inseam won’t have to think about half the things that a 5’3” person with a 27-inch inseam (such as this writer, for example) will have to consider. That’s not to knock anyone’s height, by the way—but truly, some of us are built differently. As a result, we must tackle certain riding topics in slightly different ways.
If you’re a fellow short rider, and you’ve spent any amount of time riding, chances are good that you’ve gotten your share of unsolicited advice from completely random people. Motovlogger Doodle on a Motorcycle regularly produces motorcycle experience videos for her YouTube channel, and three important things to know are that she’s a) a woman, b) a person on the smaller side, and c) also likes to ride both bigger and taller bikes. As a result, plenty of people have told her things like "that bike is too big for you" and “you shouldn’t ride a bike if you can’t pick it up.”
One of the things that’s endlessly inspiring about Doodle is that she takes comments like these and turns them into challenges for herself—like she does in this video. Now, something the naysayers couldn’t possibly have known is that she’d been wanting to get a strength training routine into her life for a long time. Setting a challenge for herself allowed her to take steps toward a goal that she’d had, but that she hadn’t previously had the time to make a solid plan to accomplish.
After coming back from her most recent cross-country journey, Doodle realized that she wanted to get better at lifting her bike up off the ground when it inevitably goes down. Right now, she’s riding a Triumph Tiger 900—and on her last trip, it was also laden down with all the stuff necessary for a cross-country bike journey. So, she decided to set a challenge of doing 100 bike lifts a day for 30 days.
Part of lifting a bike is strength, but part of it is also strategy. Along the way, Doodle consulted a few experts, sharing videos to demonstrate what she was doing so they could help analyze her form. This included adventure motorcycle instructor (and noted short riding expert) Jocelin Snow, a bodybuilding friend, her bodybuilding cousin, and orthopedic rehab clinician and Motorsport Athlete founder Dr. Matt Tolstoy.
Everyone’s going to be different, because everyone’s fitness levels, strengths, weaknesses, heights, and bikes are different. In Doodle’s case, the first thing she noticed was that she felt the effects of her initial bike lifting efforts in her shoulders and arms more than in her legs. So, she took that as an indication that she wasn’t lifting with her legs like she wanted to be doing—and modified her strategy accordingly.
At first, that seemed to help. However, after a certain point in the challenge, she noticed pain in her knees after lifting her bike. (Speaking from personal experience, dealing with knee injuries on a bike is something I’d rate at zero out of ten stars, with a solid ‘do not recommend.’)
Consulting with her chosen experts convinced her to back off, because she didn’t want to do any serious and/or long-lasting damage to her knees. At the same time, though, she also didn’t want to give up completely—so she modified the challenge to suit her needs and abilities once again.
After completing the challenge, Doodle noticed (and demonstrated) a significant positive change in her ability to pick her bike up off the ground. It’s now a lot easier than it was before, and she’s confident that she’ll be in a better position to pick up future dropped bikes on future road trips.