Group Motorcycle Riding – Benefit or Burden? (Video)

Motorcycle GroupOVER THE YEARS I’VE DEVELOPED MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT GROUP RIDING. Although most of my weekend excursions and long-distance tours have been on one bike (with and without a passenger), I’ve enjoyed a number of trips with a second bike/rider and sometimes a total of three (such as this weekend in Death Valley National Park – see video below).

And as much as I am aware of how other riders find enjoyment riding with larger groups I have found the social experience “after” the ride to be very enjoyable, but the group riding itself to be somewhat restrictive, since I have a tendency to randomly stop to take photos, or take off in different routes on a whim, and generally start, stop and get going again in a somewhat unpredictable fashion. Heck, I don’t even always plan where I’ll be spending the night until I get tired and start looking.

The point to emphasize is that I have enjoyed my limited experience with group riding (a dozen riders) but my preference has been to ride solo or only with a few friends.

Of course with each additional rider, further coordination is necessitated regarding food, lodging, rest stops and destinations.

However, this weekend I had so much fun riding with 2 other buddies for 3 days, in Death Valley National Park that I’m re-contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of group riding. (Although, in this case, 3 very flexible and friendly guys hardly serves as an example of “group” riding, as we managed to generally enjoy our travels in a similar fashion as I would on my own. In other words, it was mostly an extemperaneous riding adventure with like-minded riders.)

So, the reality is that I’m really pretty inexperienced riding in real groups (more than three).

I’m hoping to gain some insight from contributors here on additional benefits and disadvantages regarding solo riding, very small groups (couple of riders) and real group riding.

What is your experience and preferences?

MCg

MCg

"Wandering Around" is my motto: Up and down the California Coastal Ranges; the Rockies; the Appalachians; the beaches of both North American coasts; and everywhere in between. Any two wheels with a motor and a full gas tank will make me happy.
MCg

85 thoughts on “Group Motorcycle Riding – Benefit or Burden? (Video)

  • Earl,
    I ride in large groups during LE charity rides fairly frequently, and I enjoy doing that. My love, though, is riding two-up with my wife on LONG rides. We decide where we’re going to go, how long we’re going to ride that day, week, month, and when and where we’ll stop. We love it. Tomorrow morning we leave for a 7000 mile trip from Georgia. We will hit 19 states and 4 Canadian provinces. We will even be up in the PNW for part of the trip. We’ll wave as we go by your place. LOL

  • Having ridden motorcycles for decades, I quite enjoy my solo riding and my two-up rides with my wife. However, I’d nonetheless like to know another motorcyclist or two with whom to hook up on occasion for some buddy rides. This, however, seems next to impossible hereabouts (the PNW).

    For some four years now I’ve been pro-actively trying without success to find myself a riding buddy – through such means as placing postings on craigslist’s “Activity Partners” listings. I did on one occasion get a response from a guy who seemed a good candidate. We did a half-dozen or so enjoyable rides together (although it was always left up to me to initiate such rides), until one day he discovered some local motorcycle riding groups through Meetup.com. Since then he’s been riding almost exclusively in group rides, taking his staggered position within long line-ups of other riders, sometimes numbering in the several dozens.

    Out of curiousity (and also some fair measure of disappointment) I asked him about his newly-found preference toward group riding. He responded by explaining that by riding amongst such groups he didn’t have to make any decisions whatsoever with regard to deciding upon his destination or planning his routings, etc. He had merely to show up at the group’s meetup location if he felt like doing so, then follow along within the group.

    For me, riding in such an organized and pre-arranged and unpersonalized fashion seems…, well…, one helluva lot less desirable and enjoyable than my simply continuing to ride solo. But as others have stated here – to each their own.

  • McG,

    I was impressed by your little 3 guys video. What software and techniques did you use to put it together?

    I would sure like to be able to do something similar.

    Eileen (Jet Girl) Kelleher
    BMW K1300S, FJR1300

  • Most of my riding these days are close to home only an hour or so from we’re I live or within the same area. Therefore, since there is not much I haven’t seen before in this area, I do prefer group riding to enhance the experience.
    I too also use to enjoy hoping on my ride getting behind the bars and riding where ever the wheels would take me. Stopped where I wanted went when I wanted, never planned and woke anywhere and every where but those times have come and gone. Things are not what they use to be. You take a risk when you stay in palace you don’t know and your body just doesn’t take to sleeping in the dirt anymore or at least in my case! Now most of all family comes first and I rather be with them than without.
    What I am saying is riding on your own is great if your riding to meet people or to experience the world but if your riding to burn some gas and to enjoy yourself riding with others makes the short rides that more enjoyable!

  • Being alone allows me to think , look , let the surrounding get to my inside ,and just basically let the wind push me where ever it wants to . For safety reason two or three is great , but the real freedom is beeing alone. My socialising part will be when i stop and talk to strangers if i feel like it .
    Guess that is why i’m a Lonewolf !
    Ride safe and enjoy life .

  • I prefer solo touring and put many thousands of miles on my Harley every year. Just about the only timeI do group rides is when participating in charity events. I know how to ride safely in group settings, but I have seen many other riders whose abilities (or more appropriately their lack of abilities) to control their bikes presents a danger to others in the group. Before “kickstands up” at any charity event, I closely watch the other participants as they arrive and get in line. Luckily, I have nearly always managed to position myself ahead of the riders who had to duckwalk their bikes into position. Because they cannot handle slow speed maneuvers, such drivers are menaces to those behind or beside them.

  • I have done the large Law Enforcement group rides here in Georgia accompanied by police officers who blocked off intersections to allow the riders to proceed unimpeded. Those rides have gone smoothly except when I got stuck behind riders that believe loud pipes save lives.

    The only time I ran into some trouble on a group ride was back in May 2011. I was riding with a couple of friends. We were on a nice leisurely ride to the city of Blueridge. We had just arrived downtown. As I was driving down the street looking for a place to park, the second rider, who was a novice riding a Suzuki M-109, ran into me at a high rate of speed. We both went flying through the air and landed on the pavement. The third rider told me that the rider who hit me had lost control of his bike after making the left turn too wide and running his bike up on the curb. He was trying to simultaneously hang on to his bike and regain control. We both were wearing full face helments, padded jackets, motorcycle footwear, and gloves. I also had on a pair of kevlar lined jeans. I was saved from any severe road rash; however, my right ankle was broken and my left rotatercuff was damaged. I was off work for about three and 1/2 months and I had used up all 50 visits of physical therapy provided by my Health Care plan.

    What did I learn from my experience? Only ride with experienced riders or ride way behind less experienced riders; make sure you always have all of your motorcycle gear on.

    One good thing came out of the accident, my friend who witnessed the accident purchased a fullface helment, a protective jacket and kevlar lined jeans after GT saw how motorcycle gear protected me. On the day of that ill-fated ride, which shall henceforth be known as “Bad day in Blueridge”, my friend, who witnessed the accident was wearing two t shirts and a beaniee helment on his Harley-Davidson.

    The video was excellent. I really enjoyed it. That is a great way to document an epic ride like that.

  • I enjoy all aspects of riding….. I love solo rides just out, turning where/when I want… with no goal, or plan. I like to ride with my wife, or with a friend, who enjoys the the “let’s just see where we end up” rides. And I enjoy the group rides where we meet at a location, follow good roads, stop for a meal at a given location/time, the ride as a group back home.

    Each has it’s good points, and it’s less than good….. I won’t say “bad” because I won’t ride with “bad” for more than a mile.

    When you ride with a group…. having an experienced “ride leader” and “tail gunner” is important, but each member must agree, that the leader will keep the pace at the least experienced rider’s skill level…. and get everyone from piont A, to point B, and home again, safely.

    Riders who argue about having their “fun ruined” by riding too slow, should just head off by themself.

    Before joining a group… get to know that group… the riders, and the leaders. Ask them questions. What to do when things happen.

    ride safe…. ride often
    Frank

  • Group rides can be enjoyable BUT must be controlled. How do you exercise control? (1) Experienced ride captain, (2) Experienced sweep rider. (3) Small groups-not more then 5 bikes.(4)Pre-ride meeting laying down the ground rules for the ride and including destination, stops along the way and what do do if you have a problem. (5) Loud pipes last in the group. (6) Invite those to leave if they will not respect other riders (7) Do not hesitate to ask riders to leave the group, mid-ride, if their action pose a hazzard.

    I also enjoy solo rides where I go where I wish when I wish and return if I wish. I also frequently ride with another person. Their interests, riding styles, demeaner and personality are similiar to mine so we get along well. There are very few surprises during the ride. We may start out with a destination in mind but never get there. We are spontaneouus and easily distrated by something of interest along the way. This style will never work with groups or riders of differing personalities.

    I have other rider friends who are much more regimented and destination oriented. I rarely ride with them and vice-versa but I do enjoy their company. We may arrive at the same destination but ride separately. To paraphrase Louis L’amour The ride is the thing, not the end of the ride, ride to fast and you miss all you are riding for.

  • My two cents: I’ve only ridden for 2 years and I’ve found out I prefer to ride alone. That way I can stop when I want to without having to hold up the group. The last time I rode with 6 riders and got a speck in my contact. Normally I’d have stopped and taken care of it…but instead I rode on with tears streaming down my face, blinking furiously for a good 5 miles. I couldn’t imagine stopping the entire group!

    And whenever I rode with just one person, they’d signal left but turn right, make a sudden U-turn, suddenly go here or there, put on their turning signals at the last moment, etc. My then boyfriend would be pointing at this or that, making all kinds of hand signals and just basically ruining the ride for me. Or he’d suddenly slow down for no apparent reason and then speed up, leaving me in the dust!

    My now deceased Dad said it was never considered safe to follow someone in a car so I figure the same must be true of bikes. At least, that’s been my experience. I enjoy riding solo. Each to their own!

  • I’m not a big group rider everything is too orchestrated and that is just the opposite of what I consider a a fun and relaxing ride. I do on occasion like to ride with small like minded groups say five or under, and even then I am unconformable. I like to have a large safety zone around me on the road, one that I can adjust at will and riding with others somewhat hinders that. I also like the freedom of stopping when I want to for photos of just to take a look-see or changing my route on a whim taking that road off the beaten path. I know others really enjoy riding with large groups its just not for me.

    Ride safe ride fun
    Rabbi

  • I agree with the majority on this, large groups are or can be dangerous. Having said that, I occasionally ride on very special occasions with a large group. I am a ride captain for the Patriot Guard and we have had 500 bikes at times for an honor mission, but usually LEO led and that presents another whole set of problems. Usually 20-25 is the norm.

    However, when riding just for fun, I prefer 4-8 bikes and with guys whose skill levels I understand and who understand my skill level and limitations. We often do a short 200 mile ride after our Tuesday breakfast gatherings, a big circle to nowhere and back, with appropriate gas/potty/butt breaks. These are fun as one can relax a bit in the saddle. We ride Florida backroads year-around at slow speeds so as to promote rubbernecking. That to me is perfect “group” riding.

    The ride leader is the key to the safety and subsequent enjoyment of each ride. He must know and use all the proper signals, keeping the group speed safe, not allowing the riders to separate so a cage can join in, and always looking in his mirrors to insure his brood of chickens is in a tight formation. Unfortunately, some guys consider themselves ride leader just because they get started first and usually end up far ahead before the last guy has his gear on and machine ready. Those guys are better off just riding solo.

    But for the most part, small groups are fun and a good way for a noobie to learn the skills required. If you don’t know all your riders, ASK if they have ridden in a group before. No embarrassment intended, just safety for all.

    However, I do lead a lot of rides and believe me, the best group contains just one rider – ME!

  • The most recent group ride I took part in was a fantastic KM 2,700 journey last July in which we covered Germany, Austria and Italy through the Stelvio Pass of course. We were 6 riders, 4 of which with passengers.

    I have to admit that the key success factor of this trip was in the homogeneity of the riders. All good buddies, experienced riders with flexible tempers, and most importantly a craving for winding roads.

    I often take part in the weekly organized rides of my local chapter, however given the increasing number of new riders and the increased number of riding accidents, I opted to avoid such rides whenever possible.

    This said it’s always a good idea to carefully select your riding companions, not that there’s anything wrong in riding solo except that having experienced riders on long journey will definitely make a difference.

    Ride safe!!

  • I ride with a great group AND I occasionally ride alone, best of both worlds. NICE movie you made of your trip motorcycleintelligence!!

  • The best part of riding “solo” is the navigating part that one can do himself / herself without the scholarly guidance of a group lead in a group ride which often reduces the ride to just following the group rider infront, who anyway stays around the corner. For the simple pleasure of stopping to watch a rainbow, take a snap, feel overly anxious in torrential rain on a mountain without anyone for company, leaving the planned route to explore a thick jungle track, slowing down as one likes & turning it on as one desires, in short just for the FREEDOM of RIDING, I can give pass to any sense of camaradiere that accompanies the group ride.
    Motorcyclists belong to two schools of thought. One, the people who feel proud about themselves & their capabilities (but not necessary showy) and their actions possess a certain level of the dominant heart & mind. The other lot just likes living on two wheels & GETTIN’ LOST. I’m from the latter school of thought. SOLO.

  • Great reading so much to read better then reading a thriller story…
    I have been riding my Harley for about 6 months and just cruise .
    Can not seem to find anything on riding with a passenger and a safe way to ride, what happens into corners, what’sers the passenger do to help with the balance , I have not tried any passengers as yet as I am little nervious because of the extra weight high up.
    I have asked around but just get … do it you will learn, but I do not want to put any passenger in any danger. Maybe should just go to a car park but I still do not have any pointers.

  • I often ride with a motorcycle club that varies from 5 to 30 riders. It is always a planned route with rest stops and a final destination decided. While I enjoy the social aspect of it, and in most cases am quite comfortable with the knowledge that the riders are quite competent, I find I spend the riding period, keeping track of my distance between riders, watching for pot holes when I am on the right side of the road and not really enjoying the scenery flashing by. In most cases, I have no idea where we are and just follow the group to where ever we end up.
    I do a lot of charity rides and just did an exceptional ride of almost 4000 motorcycles, all of whom seemed to know not only how to ride, but how to ride well as a group. It was quite an experience, a real change from many rides where other bikers are zipping up into your space or getting too close for comfort. Even police escorted rides can be frustrating as you must keep an eye out for the LEO coming up on your left and pull over to allow them space to pass so they can block the next intersection for you.
    Yes, there is safety in numbers, should you end up in an accident or have a mechanical breakdown. I find cagers often avoid large motorcycle groups and will on occasion, pull off the road to let the group pass.
    Doing long distance or overnight rides is a different story. Battles over when to start/end the day, the speed at which to travel, the number of stops etc. can make for difficult times when snapping egos get in the way, demanding their own preferences be followed.
    The Zen feeling of riding solo when you can enjoy the ride at your pace, stop when you want and go any direction you so desire is, for me, the real essence of riding. Taking the longer way home through scenic side roads and pulling over when a photo opportunity catches your eye has some real advantages. Much, of course, depends on your personality. If you are more social and love to share that moment with others, you may feel a disappointment that no one else saw the eagle’s nest or caught the moose breaking through the brush. That is when a compromise of chosen friends who ride at your skill level can make for a pleasant and safe riding experience. Especially if the ground rules are set at the beginning of the ride as to who will lead, what speed you will be travelling at and when to stop. Having a means of communication, whether it be a CB radio or Scala Rider is a great way to share the adventure with your riding buds as well. It also provides a safety factor as a rider needing to stop does not have to make the dangerous ride up beside the leader to signal their intentions.

  • I’ve done the group ride thing with an owners group I belonged to, 20 + bikes on average touring town & countryside, 1st up organising the run is a headache, route , rest stops food and lodgings etc, 2nd getting riders to drop off and direct at junctions doesn’t always work, 3rd being lead and backdoor riders means you don’t get to enjoy the ride .
    3 is my maximum in future 1 is ok by me

  • new riders club cafe racer types in orlando fl when it was 4-5 meet up time and where was no big thing lots of fun rideing now 5 months later. 10 or more show up no one can agree where to go and the time must be fixed where to ride, no ones happy . so i say 3-5 tops more then that its worry about the slow guy getting lost, when to stop. show ups low on gas ,just to much pain to many .

  • I’ve all ways ridden on my own with or without partner. We have thought about joining The local branch of the Ulysses Club but their ride calenders all ways seem to be from a meeting point to a pub or other drinking venue. Not really the sort of thing you want to do whilst riding.
    It also makes it hard to fit in if you a non drinker or like me and only have a drink or two during the year.
    But, I have come across some groups of riders at times and I have noticed that they aren’t really up to knowing how and where to ride in a group.
    Better on your own, you stop when you want to and where you want to and travel as fast or slow as you want to.

  • On this subject Bob Harris hits the nail on the head!!!!
    This style of riding should be tough like any other skill you want to acquire.
    No one would atemp to fly a plane without getting the proper training ,

  • Loved the video. Makes me want to ride the Death Valley Trail.

    I’ve ridden alone, with two other guys and with a large group. All three are enjoyable because it’s the ride, not the destination. My only complaint with the large group is that they may not stop for a couple of hundred miles. I’ll get “fanny fatigue” or need to take a leak well before the next stop.

    When I ride with my two buddies, we use the Chatterbox to keep each other aware of what’s coming up behind or what’s up ahead or when to make a stop.

  • Solo riding has the most flexibility and can be the most challenging and rewarding type of riding. Covering vast distances are easier. With a group, it requires seasoned riders because in a sense you are all riding alone but hopefully within sight of each other. Some decent communication is all that is required. If riding abilities, stamina, and equipment are not up to snuff for even one rider, the group suffers. I’ll take riding with a group with a completely different mindset than on a solo ride. Also, you have to anticipate the worst, do you continue if someone breaks down or do you stay and possibly end your trip short of your goal?

  • As a “road captain” and “master tour rider” as designated by GWRRA, I can say that without common sense, pre ride meeting, rules and communication, riding in a group is asking for disaster. That said, when our rides are arranged we try to keep the “groups” down to 5 bikes with the lead and tail gunner having the ability to communicate over the 2-way. Members of the ride without radio are disbursed among the others and given instruction before the ride on destination and proposed stops. We have classses regularly for group riding, road captain, first aid, cpr, co-rider as well as practice sessions. We take the responsibility of group riding seriously. All of us like to go on our own and none want to be in charge or herding cats. Because of the dymanimcs of group riding we do stop more often than if one rode alone but we mitigate that with the directive that if one stops for gas all no mater what the tank level is gets gas, does the bathroom thing and does a quick walk around of the bike. The advantages of group rides with the right people makes it possible to share photos, watch out for each other and if necessary help with a roadside rescue whether mechanical or medical.

    Continuous motorcycle endorsement since 1965 and touring since 1968

  • I recently rode a motorbike to Argentina and was at times solo, with one friend up to 4 different people.

    Riding in the group of five was fun for the short day trips we did, however in general it is very limiting, depending on how well your riding style match. In the end it comes down to exactly how compatible you are with the other person in terms of speed and the ability not to lose patience with each other when your lost in traffic in a hot unknown city.

    On to another thing which I would address to your email but your contact form is down. I now have a fresh blog and am currently writing a lot of original content about my experience that I would love to provide exclusively to your site in exchange for a couple backlinks to a product review of mine. You could suggest a topic or any of the ones listed below…
    The difference between a motorycle lift and a jack
    What kind of intercom system is best ā€“ Wired /Wireless or Helmet?
    5 tips to communicate better with your riding buddies
    Are motorcycle headsets dangerous?
    How to spot a bad motorcycle intercom

    My site is http://www.theadventurelifestyle.com and it is young but I hope to develop it quite quickly and make it a great resource. Would love to get an email and talk further.

  • You really have to trust who you ride with. Communication is paramount to safety. Best to just agree to meet up down the road, and socialize there.

  • Found group riding to be a hassle and not real safe.Biggest group was over 30 and it was spooky.Do not ride with friends much because they are to slow and i only stop for fuel every 150 miles where they like 50.Just not a people person i guess.When on my roadstar it is ussaully just me and the wife and thats the way we like it.I get my kind of group riding at the moto track,lol.

  • Everything more than two riders riding together is to me a group ride. There are two kind of group riding, “Open Group Riding” and “Convoy Riding”. I’m privileged, living in Malaysia and be able to ride 365 days a year. I have tried all kind of riding. I’ve been a lone rider for many years, I’ve been doing the convoy riding with H.O.G. and the OGR with Ducati Owners Club (Singapore), DOC(S), as well as with 2 to 10 riding buddies.

    I would not say that one riding format is better than the other. I want to Ride and have Fun. If I don’t like to ride whit H.O.G. in a huge convoy in staggered formation, I don’t do it. I either ride my Harley alone orI call some few Harley buddies ad go riding with them. However, I have joined and also organized, H.O.G. Rallies with up to 350 bikes and ejoyed it.

    Sports bike riders are more into OGR than what the Harley boys are. I have tried to implement the convoy riding in the DOC(S). It simply doesn’t work. We do the group rides as OGR’s. We give the route and we have re-grouping points to see that all are hanging in there. We lelave as a group and we arrive as a group. When I’m on my Ducati I still follow my priciple, if I don’t like it I don’t join.

    The worst thing is to be on a group ride and have one or more whiners. That spoils the whole ride. In all kind of riding, dicipline and concideration are key elements. Both are factors in the equation called SAFE RIDING.
    There is a misconseption that group ridine is safe riding. It doesnt matter how small or how big the group is. If you happen to have ONE rider that has his/her own agenda then anything can happen.

    Ride for Fun in Rain and Sun.

  • I love riding with any number…..however the thing that drives me nuts is…….when you stop for lunch by yourself….it can take 20 minutes…..when you stop with a group, it could take an hour and half!! That’s less riding time!! Drives me nuts! I want to RIDE, gab later….after you stop for the night….not mid riding day!! I hate burning daylight!

  • It depends on the mood I’m in, but if I had to choose, I’d say I prefer riding by myself. It gives me the freedom to do what I want and go where I want, when I want. But at the same time, traveling in samll groups (4 or 5 bikes) can be a lot of fun. Especially if it’s people you’ve been riding with for a number of years and you know what to expect. Plus, if someone breaks down or runs out of gas (don’t ask!!!), there’s someone that can go for help. Riding in very large, organized rides (Trail of Tears, etc….) can also be a lot of fun, not to mention all the people you meet, but in general, it’s very stressful and a pain in the ass. (The “accordion affect” can ruin a good ride!!) And it can be a little scary too because there are riders of every experience level riding together and it doesn’t take long to tell who the beginners are.

    InThe Wind!!!!

  • Until recently, I only ever really enjoyed riding alone. I’m like Mark. I like to take off early (right before sunrise) and watch the world awake. Then back home in two to three hours and the family is just waking up. It’s wonderful.
    However, after my relatively recent wreck, I’ve found that riding with a few other (no more than 4) makes me feel a little better about getting back on the road. Perhaps it’s because I feel I am more visible (my wreck was courtesy of someone who “didn’t see me.”) but I definitely was more comfortable with 3 friends than I was heading back home by myself. I hope to get over this feeling but right now, while riding solo, I am just a little paranoid that the car at the next intersection is going to miss the fact that I am there. Four of us just felt more visible.

  • I have ridden with 1 big organized group ride ,a few 5-8 rider friendly type situations but mostly solo.So almost all of my saddle time is solo. Obviously then I just do not have that much expierience that goes with group rides. What little I have in 9yrs. 36k miles has told me is keep the crews down in #s, to keep the fun moving. I’m not knocking toy runs etc..Just not really my kind of thing.
    CANT WAIT TILL SPRING has SPRUNG!!!! oh yeah Roger think sidehack fort the pooch! thats a whole new deal.

  • I find it hard to find other riders who ride at my speed and tempo. I can adapt to others, but then I’m not having as much fun as riding my own pace. Usually I ride with 1 or 2 other riders.

    The other thing that always bugs me is the riding in formation. If somebody should need to stop it is a very iffy proposition that everyone can do it in the same distance and maintain the same lane position throughout the stop. All you need is one bike to veer off a bit or stop a little shorter (or longer) than the others, and you could have a huge pile up.

    Keeping the group together on the highway is always a major logistical and safety challenge. Not worth it, IMHO. Never appealed to me.

  • I could not Agree more. I am the tail end charlie, mostly because I am the trip photographer, recorder. I get “lost a lot: the others are no where to be found, they turned right, I went left. I eventually catch up at end of day. Not a problem, I enjoy it that way. Ride what you brought. Enjoy.

  • I usually am a lone wolf but also enjoy the camaraderie of some old compadres from my old career in the military and law enforcement. It’s good for a short ride of a couple of hours to get breakfast or lunch, then back home. Otherwise, it’s by myself or maybe another pal. Make better time and it’s easier to take care of the safety aspects when you don’t need to do road captain duties. In the 137K I rode my PC800 99% was solo. By the way, my bride has NEVER ridden with me. She prefers to enjoy from afar!!!

  • I have ridden with probably one of the most safety conciense groups there is the GWRRA. Though some of the trips were very enjoyable I prefer riding with one or two friends at the most. Even the GWRRA grous are often to large, (they occassionally forget the rules regarding group size) Do to the varying ability of the riders in a group I prefer going bymyself or with one or two friends who’s abilities and riding style are much like my own.

  • Due to mind sets and personal opinions, well…many vary. Large group are dangerous, you will find the MSF recommends less than 7 bikes to a group.
    I really enjoy one other rider coming along with me, who keeps pace. We have an understanding, one of us will stop for a picture, the other will wait up the road about 15 minutes and then turn around to see what is going on. Of course this is during over 3 days to weeks of touring with fully packed bikes.
    Seems 3 people do ok for 3 or 4 days. Although it is easier for long distance tours which fill many days, with one other rider. This way you can share costs at camping, cooking food, motels, and campfire stories. Also if some sort of accident or flat, gas needs, or poor health, it is nice to have someone one to help out or hang out with you.

    Something to ponder, when riding in a group, you need to “ride a group ride”.
    If you do find yourself caught up in a group ride and events happen which are unsafe or your inner alarm bell rings, be accertive and drop out of the group. As it is said, “ride your own ride”.
    Be careful in group rides and continue to check front, rear, and both sides of your motorcycle while moving and when stopped.

  • I’m somewhat surprised at the responses, but I am pleased with them. Group riding is dangerous, or probably better said; more dangerous than riding alone. Group riding offers a false sense of safety and almost certainly lulls many novice and less skilled riders into situations that put them in harm’s way.

    There are a very, very few people that I will ride with in a group. These are people with a great deal of skill, experience and training. Even with all of this, I’ll always glance over my shoulder to make sure my most trusted riding partners are where they are supposed to be and not about to hit me. FWIW..they do the same with me!

  • Really enjoyed your video
    I tried riding in a group once ended up having too many close calls while riding there so now I ride alone most of the time

  • I love riding alone. I have ridden on long trips with groups of 2-6 but I love the option of stopping where I want and as seldom as I want. My experience with other riders is that they like to stop too often, whereas i like to “drain the gas tank” before I stop. I am really a lone wolf, but do enjoy the fellowship of other riders at end of the riding day.

  • When I first started riding (about 35 years ago) I had friends with bikes but I hated riding with them. They were young, foolish and boy racers on sports bikes – I was already a steady ‘cruiser’ – just enjoying the journey, not in a hurry to finish it. Since then I have never ridden with others (except for some advanced training), I have only once (35 years ago) carried someone on pillion. I can maybe see the benefits of a small (3-4) group especially on a long trip – but still not keen enough to experience it. This year I will embark on my longest trip – 4000 miles in France (from England) over two months – alone – and on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. (I suppose Americans have to come to UK to experience that).

  • The only advantage I see to riding in a group would be visability, one lone bike may not be seen and consequently hit, but it is rare that there are accidents of that type when groups are involved

  • Good article and very topical.

    I love riding by myself in the desert, but I have been chastised by my fellow desert riders for so doing, for safety reasons. The problem is, I like to strike out at sunrise and ride hard through the desert for 60 miles in a little over an hour and a half then pack up my bike and go attend to my family duties. Every time I have gone out with a group it has taken me almost twice as long to go that distance and frankly, though I like to socialize, the stopping and messing about does test my patience a bit.

    So as I said, I have been chastised for my riding habits. I have had to walk out of the desert alone a couple of times and even had my bike stolen once as I had to leave it out there for several hours (got it back though) . Bottom line for me, If I want to get 2 hard long rides in the desert in on a weekend and stay married I probably just have to keep doing it alone.. Which suits me cos there really is no feeling like it.. šŸ™‚

  • Hi,

    My only reason for riding with someone else will be for safety. And this means one other person. I also prefer to only have a rendezvous with him every few hours to confirm that we are both still on the bike and OK. And if we go on a 2-week trip and do not exchange one word, it will be just perfect. Will never understand the group thing.

    Thanks for an excellent site, MCg!

    P

  • Liked the clip… thanks for sharing.
    Guess group riding is kind of like group living. Depends on yourself… and the people you go with. I love the solitude of just me and my music. The flexibility to go where I want and when I want. Selfish? Maybe. But there is something about an early morning ride all alone that just can’t be beat. I prefer solo. As a side benefit I also only have to ride for myself. No worrying about another rider crowding me… following too close for my comfort… blocking my escape route. Now if I could just take my dog along… šŸ™‚

  • I have had quite a lot of experience riding in large groups. As a member and an officer in a very large H.O.G. Chapter we often had seventy bikes or more on a weekend ride.
    On special occasions i.e.; Toy runs, we had hundreds of riders participating. In the initial phases of a riders experience these types of rides are often times perceived as being fun and exciting. As you gain riding experience, you realize how dangerous it really is. (bringing together a group of riders with considerably different riding abilities).
    Eventually you will find that large group rides are to dangerous and to much trouble and you as a rider evolve into a rider that prefers riding with others that are at your level as far as riding ability and with similar riding patterns. Some are’ iron butt riders’ that only stop for fuel and others like yoruself who take time to smell the roses. Ride Safe, Bob

  • Large groups with “Road Captains” are rolling road blocks and endanger tthemselves and others. They have idiots that block any attempts to pass.

    Break up the group into smaller groups of 6 bikes and allow others to pass safely or GET OFF THE DAMN ROAD!!!

  • “death valley three”
    Really enjoyed the tour/trip, as well as the music. Thanks for sharing.

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