In the regional forums a few of us were discussing ride routes through West Virginia. I raised the point that in some ride environments -- typically, flat terrain twisties with an homogeneous view of green trees in front and to both sides with no horizon in view -- I tend to experience vertigo from time to time. For me, it is made worse if the sun is low and shining through the trees in way that creates something of a stroboscopic effect. I'm curious how many other riders experience the same phenomenon. If so, has anybody developed tricks or techniques to counteract or eliminate the problem? Years ago when I toured by motorcycle in the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps I experienced similar vertigo. I learned that keeping ones head vertical -- plane of eyes parallel with the horizon -- irrespective of the lean angle of the bike would virtually eliminate vertigo in the constant switch-back twisties of the Tyrol. I'd love to hear other rider's experiences related to vertigo while riding.
Do a search on "epley maneuver", a sample below.
My wife was gettig dizzy every few months and went to DR (ear, nose, throat)
and had tjhat done. So far so good.
A friend had it done a few times and it helped. He had it much worse that my wife.
Also someone I know had his wife do it and it did not work well.
He was OK but she was not trained.
Don't try that at home.
you can minimize the effects via the noted manuver. However, the cause of the problem is in the balance mechanism of the inner ear. Some folks are born with calcium particles floating in the fluid of the inner ear. These contact the sensing hairs that send balance messages to the brain. There is no cure for this problem. Antivert, bonine, dramimine, scope patches, and other over the counter drugs help but they have the nasty side effects of causing drowsiness.
My father, brother and I all have been lifelong sufferers of this problem, and like so many issues you have very few options: live with it, OR take drugs.
Google Timothy Hain MD. Call his office and they will refer you to a knowledgable "dizzy doc" to do a thorough eval. If it's BPPV ( the rocks in the head thing)it is treatable and often curable doing a maneuver similar to the "Epley." there are many conditions that cause the kind of sensations you are experiencing. Dr Hain's office make referalls all the time. In my opinion he is one of the best in the country. Don't worry these are often minor and curable conditions.
I found out back in the early 90's that I had this condition. I learned the maneuvers and was instructed to practice at home. Basically, you make yourself dizzy during the movements but it allows you to train your brain to shut off the sensations. I can't say it never happens now but at least when it does happen I can take a second and concentrate on turning off the dizzy feeling. So far it's working for me.
You also learn to avoid positions that set it off.
"The roadway appears to vanish in as little as 50 yards ahead. Riders find themselves simply riding to remain parallel with the centerline of the road or to remain between it and a shoulder line. It is this condition I was curious to know whether others experienced?"
I hate when that happens! When the road dips and I can't see what is up ahead it's as if I'm going to take off into the air and fly.
Last edited by sudani; 03-28-2010 at 04:43 PM.
Thanks all for the advice. I'll look into the 'rocks in the ears' thing as it may relate to a condition I experienced years ago while riding in Europe where the symptom was akin to the sudden jumping eye thing. Regrettably, that condition led to the loss of my pilot's license and persuaded me not to ride motorcycles for many years. When the condition did not persist or reoccur for years I felt it safe to get back on two wheels.
With all due respect, I don't think the 'rocks' issue is what causes the occasional wooziness, dizziness or vertigo I described. I'm reasonably sure that it is a phenomenon related to vision and the brains ability, or inability, to distinguish what is "up" in the absence of a horizon. Several of my regular riding mates have complained of the same phenomenon, in the same conditions, at the same time.
In the national forests of Virginia and West Virginia where I frequently ride one often finds themselves in a situation where everything in a 210 degree vision field appears the same -- a wall of green. The roadway appears to vanish in as little as 50 yards ahead. Riders find themselves simply riding to remain parallel with the centerline of the road or to remain between it and a shoulder line. It is this condition I was curious to know whether others experienced?
Sailors and seafarers may know of a similar phenomenon that results in sea-sickness when one is below with no horizon in sight but no sea-sickness when on deck with a horizon in view.
In Army flight school they called it "flicker vertigo". Some people got it from watching a light source through a turning helicopter rotor.
I never had it in an aircraft, but it explained the sensation I got years earlier when driving and viewing the setting sun through evenly spaced trees.