Watson On: Why I Go Solo

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Watson On: Why I Go Solo

Photo by Craig Howell

I have to be honest here and admit I’ve never quite understood the group ride motorcycle thing. I know a lot of people that enjoy it and look forward to getting together with like-minded folk to ride motorcycles in a conga line down the road.

Watson On: Why I Go Solo

Photo by Fort Carson

The problem for me and riding in big groups is, I know my abilities and what I am capable of doing, but I don’t have a clue about the guy on the tricked out chopper who wants to ride alongside me. He may have seemed pleasant enough in the parking lot but he might also be one of those guys that wants to ride three inches alongside you and will then try and have a conversation about his marital problems as you cruise down the road.

Watson On: Why I Go Solo

Photo by Craig Howell

Or he might be testing the new brake system that he installed last weekend all by himself and is now keenly aware that taking the entire brake off the chopper’s front wheel was not a good idea. Nothing personal buddy, but for me this just isn’t going to work.

I give full marks to people that like to ride in groups. Some of them organize terrific rides for charities and raise large sums of money for all sorts of good causes. Though I still prefer to hand over my dollars directly to the deserving charity rather than pay to sign up with a group of strangers who are going to ride with me into the desert for a day and who I know nothing about other than the fact we like motorcycles and support the same causes.

Watson On: Why I Go Solo

Photo by Craig Howell

I am sort of aware there is whole series of etiquette involved in riding in large motorcycle groups. As I understand it, there is a someone out in front, who is usually called something odd like Slayer; he may have a lot of badges on his leather jacket and will give all the orders about where this moving train of motorcycles can go, when they will stop and what position you’re assigned to ride in.

Watson On: Why I Go Solo

Photo by Tom Reynolds

Behind Mr. Slayer is a mixture of motorcyclists with varying degrees of ability on a wide range of bikes. Bringing up the rear are the new guys, who have just bought their first bike and have yet to experience riding with others. In the back you will also find those whose machines have bits falling off them and so they have to stop every few miles to pick up the pieces.

Continue Reading: Watson On: Why I Go Solo >>

  • eddi

    I have never been a joiner when it comes to groups, clubs etc. Not just concerning motorcycles but all my other interests down through the years. I prefer people in small doses. That has always colored my behavior. Riding as part of a group is something I might do given a reasonable motive. But it would be unusual and I suspect uncomfortable. Now meeting up with other riders at a show or race would be more my speed. I could set my own pace for meeting others.

    • Robotribe

      “I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I
      DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER.”
      - Groucho Marx

      Amen.

  • Archie

    I think this is a great point to encourage people to take the time to learn how to read rider body language. I don’t struggle on a group rides or even odd moments in traffic where another rider is keeping pace with me – whether they’re in front of me or behind me – because I’ve learned to interpret all the little things that riders do before they make a move. You can easily see things like head checks, mirror checks, gear changes and shifts in body weight; by learning to read these movements you can anticipate what another rider might be planning and adapt to suit what may come next when necessary.

    • Jonathan Berndt

      in a rare case that im riding with someone and i am following, i dont watch the rider, i look ahead of him and just keep him in my periphery.
      if he brakes i see it and can react if need to. by doing that i have less of a change of target fixating on him should he hammer the brakes, stand up, and go off road. i find it much easier to see what hes reacting to by looking as far ahead as i can and adjust accordingly, rather than react to how he is reacting.

    • Kirk Roy

      While there may be truth to what you’re saying I would rather just stay away from other bikes in traffic. As much as we complain about people operating mini-vans and volvos most on bikes are just as squirrely.

      • Davidabl2

        We should all probably start riding with a patch on our backs that says “unpredictable” -and maybe one of those images of Yosemite Sam with his two six-guns -that usually have the caption “back off”

        • eddi

          Now that’s a safety vest I’d wear. Better if the artist drew Sam wearing a vest too.

  • Alpha_Geek_Mk2

    I’ve done the club thing and I’ve done the solo thing. Fortunately they’re not mutually exclusive. You can join up with a club for when you want to be part of a pack, and take off the vest when you want to do your own thing. I like group rides to Bike Nights or other big events, it’s fun to ride up with 30 other guys who want to party. And I like taking four day weekends to go camping with my bike and no one else. Honestly, the rides I like best are small groups of friends that I know personally, where we leave as a group and arrive whenever we get there.

  • JT

    I do like riding in small groups. I know when spring comes I want to do a command (military unit) ride which is usually less then ten people. These are people I work with though and we already have a sense of camaraderie. I don’t know if I would like to be in a group over ten full of strangers. I may have to try it out someday, but I am also content riding solo.

  • Lourens Smak

    I rarely ride in a group, mainly because motorcycling is my “me” time and it’s for getting away from it all… screaming kids, work-related stress, etc. Nothing clears the head like attacking a few curves on the Honda.

    However, there is a great website here in NL that you can use to create (or join) group-rides and a few times a year I do join such a ride; I mostly like it for touring a region that is a bit further away, this means riding the whole day and it’s nice to have lunch with a (small) group then, and also, just as important, the ride is usually organized by someone local from that region, who knows the best roads… I do have mixed experiences with such rides though, sometimes speed is too slow, or too fast, and I’ve seen some dangerous things as well. I have to add that normally we don’t ride as a big train of motorcycles, but with quite some distance in between riders. The key is to keep an eye on the person behind you, and slow down if he disappears. It has become a popular site and lists all kinds of rides from summer-evening 1hr rides, to multiple-day trips to the Alps…

    The big tours I do with one friend; we currently live about 500km’s from each other so first and last day of these trips are riding solo as well. (This is actually the best… riding solo to rendez-vous point, and then having a meal and a beer with a good friend I haven’t seen for a while.)

  • dniq

    2-3 people along with me – OK. A dozen or more – bad. I like to ride at my own pace, making stops to enjoy the scenery etc. And definitely we all have to have the intercom so that we can talk and decide what we want to do together.

  • KeithB

    No group riding for me and my wife. We are very happy to ride our bikes together and stay well away from groups.
    Oh, and no intercom. That’s how we have stayed married for so long ;-)

  • Luke Maffey

    The biggest ride I’ve done was about six people that I worked with and it was fun, but I generally prefer riding with at most one other person

  • Aaron Baumann

    I tried a group ride once. It turned into me trying to keep up with a bunch of guys passing cars around blind corners and just generally going way too fast for me. If they were trying to prove that they were more skilled riders than me then they nailed it, but it pretty much turned me off of group rides for good. I also don’t really grasp the concept of people engaging in a naturally solitary activity in large groups.

    • Mark D

      Clearly you’ve never been in a circle jerk. Same concept.

      • Ben Mcghie

        surely it’s not that dangerous?! oh dear…

  • mirage2k6

    I rather ride solo than in a group. I like to get “in the zone” with the bike and the road, and I can’t do that with others riding at a different pace or wanting to stop often. I think the main drawback to not riding in groups is that I can miss out on some great roads that some of the veterans might know about.

    • A P

      Finding good roads can be easy, try checking out bicycle maps or bicycle club websites for twisty/scenic roads in your area. There are some “motorcycle roads” websites but many “veterans” don’t post their favorite roads because they then become infested with squids and cops.

  • devillock

    No groups for me. I prefer to ride with one or two buddies who are all at about equal skill. We know how eachother ride and trust eachother. We’re can usually predict each others moves and work together when riding. We like to ride fast but that macho egomaniac group mentality is never there. We don’t race eachother and never do any stupid moves. It’s all about respect and trust. If I can’t ride with them, then I go solo. But never do I ride in a large group.

  • ACynicIAm

    I tried the group ride thing. Awful. Oddly, I’m ATGATT. No one else was. That spelled doom for “inclusion” right there. Far too many “personalities” to contend with.
    Solo riding for me. It’s my time, my schedule. Bliss.

  • Motorcyclebuddy

    Riding solo is about freedom for me. There’s nothing like getting up early and getting on the road or randomly jumping on my bike and riding around with no set plan just to escape for awhile.
    Going solo means going where I want when I want how fast or slow including stopping whenever I feel like it. This represents true freedom on a ride.
    But there is also nothing like sharing the riding experience with my buddies in a group ride.
    Exploring new riding locations, stopping for a meal and chat.
    Both solo and group work for me but true freedom is experienced when I ride solo and each decision is my own.

  • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

    Tim, go on group rides with sportbike riders. We dont pull any of this bs. The world of sportbike riding is a tightly knit one. Youll know every rider in about a year. Youll know exactly who you do and dont want to ride with and youll be making your own group rides accordingly.

    • Dubknot

      I agree with you there. I meet a guy who turned me own to a sportbike rider group here in TX. They require that you wear your gear on all rides, and so far, have been a pretty good group to ride with. I’m not the best at meeting new people and making friends, but after riding with folks, the ice is broken, and it’s a lot easier to relax. I don’t like to ride in a group larger than about 6, and if a lot of people show up, they split the groups to about that size. Works for me. I do prefer to ride alone, but every now and then, it is nice to actually meet people with the same interests.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        Out here we do the same, and if you ever come to visit the bay area be sure to get in touch.

    • ‘Mike Smith

      Exactly how much more gear would you like the riders in the top photo to wear? Every single one of them are wearing full riding gear.

      • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

        You want to guess what asphalt does to denim, or do you want to experience it first hand?

        • WileyBone

          Yeah the “Leader” with his thumb in the air is wearing a cotton jersey.
          You spend money on detailing and graphics and you don’t have a proper jacket?
          Looks like quite the Clown Show.

    • james

      I agree, the same can be said down here in australia, in sydney most sports riders know each other by about 1 or two degrees of seperation at the most. Anyone decent knows who to ride with and when, laughs about the same idiots and meets at the same bars, halfway houses and cafes. Sure there are the big groups of sportbike riders who ride like fucking idiots and never get out in the country for a proper ride, they are not sports riders they dont treat it as the sport it is. I normally ride with groups of 3-10 depending on the weather and our group has never had an issue in 3 years, nobody going down, and only one person getting a speeding ticket. I avoid riding in groups i dont know, seeing a bloke on a harley with a pillion go way too hard into a downhill corner and nearly lose it off a cliff was enough evidence that its not worth it for me. I get out for the odd big random ride, mostly for protest against bullshit government crap.

  • 200 Fathoms

    Introversion/extroversion probably comes into it as well. I personally can’t understand how shared interest in a single activity (riding) merits spending time together as a group.

    Riding to me is the one opportunity I have to be truly alone. Not lonely—alone. No one else, no iPhones, no distractions. Riding in a group is the diametric opposite of what I want to do.

    Riding in big groups also just seems unnecessarily dangerous to me. If one car in a group blows a tire, no big deal. Blown tire, tankslapper, etc., in a large group of bikes? Disaster.

  • William McLaughlin

    I am picking up a Ninja 500r on wednesday. My friend is picking a Ninja 650 today. and a co-worker bought a Triumph Street Triple a few weeks ago. We plan on doing some rides together, but I agree with not being comfortable in a large group. I don’t like being in vehicle traffic, and I figure the same will apply to motorcycles.

  • markbvt

    I don’t do big group rides except once a year for a specific event, where the purpose of the event outweighs my dislike of large groups. But I also rarely ride significant distances alone. I prefer to ride with one or two friends with whom I’ve ridden a lot, and whose riding habits I therefore know well. Having a good friend or two along makes the ride way more fun when stopping for lunch or a break, and while riding you know you can concentrate on the ride and not have to think about what stupid thing the guy near you might do. Plus there’s the whole shared-experience-with-friends angle.

  • BillW

    I prefer to ride solo or in a small group (2 to 4 riders is ideal). Having some company is generally more fun than riding solo for me. The largest group I’ve ever ridden in was about 14 riders, all extremely skilled and most of whom I had previously ridden with. I have zero interest in large group rides, or slow group rides.

  • Davidabl2

    An exception to the rule above is Doc’s Wong’s Riding Clinics a free event that’s been taking place for 10 yrs. or so in Redwood City,Ca

    http://www.docwong.com/st-clinc/ I think the RideApart staff would have a blast at one of them, especially going incognito if that’s still possible.

    There are some other fun group rides in the SF bay area, although none have the ostensibly ‘educational” purpose that the good Doctor’s “riding Clinics’ have.

    The “Doc Wong loop” down in the S.F. Peninsula is famous in it’s own right.

    description of same in the text below;

    http://micapeak.com/mailman/listinfo/doc-ride

    • Jeff Smith

      Absolutely, I’ve known Doc Wong for years and other like minded motorcyclists that host rides very much the opposite of what this author is describing. Of course the groups I’ve ridden are sport or sport tour oriented, rarely more that 10 bikes out. What the author is describing is that drunken Harley rider stuff that’s not even a motor sport. What does this Tim Watson guy ride anyway?

  • dinoSnake

    I only started in group rides, for the most part, about 2 years ago. For me it was a matter of trust – all too often when riding in groups, the riders are more concerned with maintaining said group’s structure rather than riding safe. In one group ride the leader kept us in the right lane when a heavy merge occurred on the right; I got pushed by an oblivious merging car completely out of my lane, and out of the group, while the leader was himself completely oblivious to the evolving dangerous situation. Another group’s leader frequently loses trailing riders because his riding style (and opinion) is “It’s my ride and you ride with me” so he rides fast, never looking back to see where the rest of the riders are and will even pass over the double yellow with the expectation that anyone who wishes to stay in ‘his’ group will follow him.

    You can understand why I told that second group to ‘shove off’.

    Since moving to a big city I ride more frequently with one group due to the fact that they often arrange activities at the destinations; this makes the over 1 hour ride just to get out of the city and into decent riding conditions worthwhile. They ride safely, (usually) using their heads and even include the “Safety” rider at the rear of the group, so…I have learned to trust them. I am willing to ride with them and they are good people.

    Living in the city, though, as severely cramped my riding style; I’m used to going out, solo, and ride anywhere for absolutely no reason. The city’s 1-hour exit ride is so painful that I sometimes procrastinate on riding rather than dealing with the headache of “the ride before the ride”. I ride for an empty road ahead, a blue sky above and the sound of the road and really don’t care if anyone else is around me – I would rather there NOT be as they usually just get in the way. But, just sometimes (when they aren’t stopping every 45 minutes for a smoke and drink break!!) being in a group can be OK.

  • Disqusdmnj

    When I got my Honda PCX150 scooter last summer, I immediately joined a local meetup.com group for scooter riders, which had a good few members but no rides scheduled. Clicked over to the local motorcycle group and they had a ride ready in a few days that I could join. I emailed the organizer to make sure I could be part of the group without slowing anyone down (55, no problem… 60 if I duck down… 65 is stretching it), and he replied most rides are set up to be open to anyone. Even though I’m licensed for a cycle but only have the scooter (for now), my little bike got most of the attention of the other riders, who were all very welcoming and professional. I think it’s a great way for novices to learn how to improve their techniques, as anyone who was having issues shifting or making poor riding choices was helped out if we stopped at a light or pulled over. I completely get the solo ride, and I completely get the group ride… both can definitely live happily together in your riding.

  • Piglet2010

    I usually ride with just Mr. Happy along.

  • Armin Pelkmann

    Just you. The empty mountain road. The engine is your soundtrack. Each corner a new sensation. Time has no meaning. You forget you are on a bike and you just see the road in front of you. Functioning. Feeling those corner forces. Being fluid, without history of future. Just in the moment.


    That’s what it is about for me. That’s why I have to ride alone or with 1-2 friends that know what they do.

  • Maymar

    I’ve gone riding with my father-in-law a couple times, which isn’t bad. Both of us are happy with sedate cruising, and he lives in a fairly quiet town with some pleasant lakeside roads, so we don’t have to worry about much traffic. Helps reinforce myself as the prefered (and, well, only) son-in-law too. We also have a mutual friend I want to go riding with eventually, but I have little interest in getting involved with some big group ride, since it’s sort of anti-thetical to why I want to ride.

  • enzomedici

    I never ride in big groups. I thought motorcycles were about freedom? Being stuck in a big group isn’t freedom. I don’t understand motorcycle clubs either. Grown men acting like boy scouts with vests and badges. Ridiculous.

    • Paolo

      I bet you wouldn’t say that to their faces.

      • Davidabl2

        It depends on the particular vests and badges. They could be a group of Shriners who might laugh at or with you..Or the Mongols. Who probably wouldn’t.

        • zedro

          Don’t shriners drive little micro convertables to lead the circus animals? Whole different type of group ride.

          • Davidabl2

            Maybe they do now, but in the past they did precision motorcycle drills on Cushman scooters, Harleys etc.
            Wearing their gold fez hats, of course.

      • HoldenL

        So what?

  • Martin

    I bought a motorcycle specifically so I could get away from people.

  • appliance5000

    I got back into riding due to a friend of mine. He’s a better rider than me – very smooth so I learn a lot from him and if I’m holding him back I just say meet me in the next town. Maybe it’s a bromance – and we do squabble over where to eat lunch like a couple of old ladies, but I enjoy riding with him. I also like riding alone.

    One guy I was talking to – he heard a group of riders every saturday night go past his place to to do a fast highway run – one day he joined them. He’s never actually met any of them – just rides and goes home. Whatever works.

    • Davidabl2

      I’d have my doubts about any group that regularly rides together at night. For a number of different reasons.

  • Davidabl2

    Riding alone is one experience, riding with a few other people you know and trust ( at least more or less) is another..Both are good in different ways.
    Riding with a pack of strangers(SOBER strangers!) can go any way at all. From quite good to quite scary. Or both.
    I’ve ridden with sports bike guys, vintage guys, and chopperazzi. But the only ‘single marque” group I’ve ridden with was a Norton club, never with late-model Harley
    ‘bros” like those Mr. Watson seems to be describing.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      Chopperazzi is my favorite word from today. Thank you.

  • timdnml

    While I surely support your right to your choices, I would like to suggest that the arguments you present make you sound more like a sociopath than a slightly misunderstood Lone Wolf Pack of One.

  • timdnml

    On second reading, the whole “riding in a pack of unpredictable stabby strangers” sounds like my daily rush-hour commute.

  • ThinkingInImages

    I’ve done (thankfully only) a few group rides over the decades and they’re the dullest and most distracting thing I’ve ever done. I don’t understand it. It’s basically a two wheeled parade without a theme or traffic composed of similar vehicles. I’m OK with one other rider – sometimes – if we have a level of trust about each other’s riding skills. It takes a lot of trust to be surrounded by riders you may not know all that well.

    • Piglet2010

      I did one of those rides once, and unfortunately ended up by a teenage kid on a Gixxer who did not understand the meaning of “staggered formation” and kept pulling up beside me – I got fed up and dropped back and waved a couple of other riders (all three had the same club patches) through.

      • zedro

        I find it’s the older riders I know who’ve had less formal training (I.e. probably none) that don’t get the staggered pattern and group approaches to stops ( the accordian). One of my buddies in his 40′s who grew up riding in northern France can’t even be convinced of being on the left when in lead, he’s always centered or near the shoulder!

  • Flying Couch

    Riding in small groups with friends is dandy. We know each other and know what to do and what not to do. Riding in a large group doesn’t seem as appealing, largely due to not knowing the others so well.

  • HoldenL

    I’ve been riding for four-and-a-half years and have never ridden with another rider — not even once — much less a group. I don’t know anyone who rides. Everyone I work with, everyone I know, thinks motorcycles are donorcycles. Except my wife, who supports my riding habit but doesn’t yet ride herself.

    I’ve gone to about three get-togethers (a bike shop, a gas station, a restaurant on the other side of Florida), and I found a bunch of guys (hardly any women) who are just as socially awkward as I am. I didn’t think this was possible; I’m really shy and introverted and find it hard to do small talk. Same with most of these guys. At none of these gatherings did dudes want to, you know, get on their bikes and ride. I was sorta disappointed and sorta not.

    The reason I was not disappointed is because of my experience doing group rides on bicycles, something I did numerous times, but not in the last seven or eight years. Group bicycle rides have the same dynamic as Tim describes — a dictatorial yet often inattentive leader, and a mix of OK and terrible fellow riders. I deeply care about developing my two-wheel skill, whether I’m on a bicycle or a motorcycle, and few bicyclists share that attitude — they just don’t care to become better riders.

    The worst thing, though, is that your typical bicycle rider puts his bike on a car rack or inside his SUV, and drives to the starting point, and locks the vehicle and gets on the bicycle, and suddenly motorists are the enemy. A long line of cyclists blocks traffic and prevents motorists from passing on a two-lane road? Well, tough luck! Drivers get angry when a bunch of cyclists blow a stop sign and hold up cross traffic? Too bad! And I worry that a group of motorcyclists would have a similar attitude. No thanks, I don’t want to be around that.

    Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to ride motorcycles with one or two other people. I figure we would just annoy each other. At least, that’s what I tell myself so I won’t feel so bad about not having many friends.

    • Piglet2010

      I find many cagers to be the enemy, even when driving a cage.

      This country needs a “stand your ground” law authorizing the use of deadly force on people who tailgate.

  • Randy S

    I’m too socially awkward to have had many group ride experiences. So I can’t say much about them in general. However, I have had a great group ride experience in which the riders (all sport tourers) agreed on 2 easy-to-follow rules.

    1 – Everyone rides their own ride.
    2 – When you get to a turn wait for the rider behind you before turning.

    Like I said, these were easy rules and they allowed everyone to be slow or fast as they pleased while still staying together in a loose group. Worked well in my experience and was a lot of fun.

  • Sam Spade

    Not found of large group rides. I ride alone or in small groups with 1-4 friends and/or friends friend so I know a little about the ppl I ride with.

  • http://www.eastwestbrothersgarage.com/ East-West Brothers Garage

    I have tried the group ride thing and it is not for me. People are all nice enough, but I ride as much to clear my head as much as all other reasons combined, so I rather enjoy my solitude. Even when my wife rides with me on the back of the bike, we do not spend the entire time chatting and instead focus on enjoying the scenery.

    Plus, when you really want to push yourself on a ride, group rides are never conducive to that. I would never be able to enjoy roads like GMR as much in a group.

    http://www.eastwestbrothersgarage.com/2011/03/200-miles-in-southern-california-with.html

  • http://www.theincslingers.com/blog Simon Salt

    I do both. I ride with the Patriot Guard Riders for fallen service personnel at funerals and I enjoy getting out on my own or in a small group. I rode with a friend and a friend if his 2400 miles round trip from Dallas to Daytona Beach – it’s a great way to find out how much you like a buddy. Turned out we rode in a very similar style, so it was a great trip.

  • zedro

    Riding a small bore d/s bike pretty much limits who I could comfortably ride with anyways (certainly won’t be invited to any pirate-fests!). In the next province there’s an off-road club that hosts jamborees (some d/s specific, others pure off road) which I’m curious to try but a bit intimidated since I have no bearing on my skill level on the dirt vs the average rider. But being foreign trails quite far away, it might be the safest way to learn the trail network as they seem to have organized support volunteers in however they manage the packs.

  • John

    If I wanted to go on a group ride with people that have nothing otherwise in common, I’d ride public transit.

  • Charles Quinn

    I ride alone for the same reason I go to my psychologist alone. Group therapy might be great for some but not me. Having said that I’ve ridden in a group of three and that was pretty cool, although I did object to the regular stops for lengthy consultation of one guy’s GPS when I knew the roads like the back of my hand, but I’ve no interest whatsoever in regular riding in a big group. I might do a one off for a worthy cause though.

    And if I needed any more discouragement, Google ‘VLAD law QLD” to find out why group riding is getting even less attractive in Queensland …

    • zedro

      Problem with countries with weak constitutions. The right to assembly is a hallmark of true democratic societies (sarcasm only @ 50% power here).

  • William Connor

    My group rides are a bit different. We ride in small groups of maybe 3 people. We know where we are going, ride in some kind of order (which means we all mostly stay together), and just have fun. The group ride you described is not my cup of tea either. Couple friends and roll out. I do however prefer the intercom as I have nice conversations with the spouse.

  • ThruTheDunes

    All those years riding in the desert, whether 3-wheelers or Jeeping, I never rode alone – just not smart in that environment. But, I rode with the people I went with, so it was friends, or their friends, etc. As a result, I am used to riding with others.
    I enjoy commuting because that is good solo time, especially on really nice days when I take the long way home. So I get a good dose of that during the week.
    There is a BMW dealer nearby that does a monthly dirt road ride, all makes welcome, so I gave it a try. Glad I did. Very welcoming bunch, and I got acquainted with some scenic little-used back roads in that area. And there was everything from a Honda 250 to a R1200GS, about a dozen or so folks each time I went. However, it is a world apart from the gathering for the Clovis Rodeo – that kind of event is more like a circus…

  • Sentinel

    I’m with you on this one Tim. While I enjoy riding with one other friend on a bike, more than that, and especially a large group is just bad news.

    • Blake Harrison

      Agreed, once more than say 4 guys are riding together I like to check out. Or I ride as the last guy no matter what. I don’t like large groups. A lot of new riders are in those types of outings and it make me nervous. I don’t want to have to worry about the guy next to me and traffic.

  • jgroszko

    I’ll ride with friends that I know, usually about 3-6 people. I like it because I enjoy my friend’s company, we already know each other from other places, and they’re all much more experienced than I am, so I get to pick up on their skills. Another one of my favorite things about riding with a small group (at least if you’re not the leader) is you can pay more attention to the scenery around you when you aren’t focused on navigation and you don’t have to pay as much attention to traffic.

  • MichaelEhrgott

    I ride in a group of 2-4 on dual sport trips. We go way the fuck out there beyond cell service and having a buddy with you is almost a necessary safety measure.

    As far as large group street rides….nope

  • Courtney

    OMG that’s funny. Great article! Not really of fan of group riding either. Just one other rider can be way too much of a hassle, too, lol.

  • Arno

    Wife and I will stick to riding by ourselves or with 2-3 close friends, 12+ people is a headache

  • Scott Vogt

    i love riding by myself.Its a great way to clear your thoughts and get away. I do see the value in a group though. Its nice to share the experience with other people.. Even though i dont like to hold back in the corners and i hate eating dust offroad. But saying that in my head when i think of what i love about motorcycles, i envision those memories of the first couple times i got to experience freedom on the perfect roads at my own pace

  • metric_G

    I usually ride alone or with a couple of friends, but occasionally with a group, and sometimes this group can be pretty big 20-30+ sportbikes, what we do is break it down to smaller groups, according to riding skill and leave about 15 minutes between groups, then we meet up at designated points. If you are new to our group we ask you to start in the slower groups first and if you feel confident (and not being a general asshole and ride sanely) you can switch up to the next group at the meeting points. Every smaller group has a designated lead and sweep rider. It takes a bit longer to organize in the morning, but it works out well.
    While riding alone is more fun for riding sake, sharing the experience with others can also be fun and satisfying. You might even learn something from the more experienced riders.

  • http://www.advpulse.com/ Rob Dabney

    Wow. Didn’t know there were so many introverts out there. I think whenever you enjoy something tremendously, you naturally want to discuss it and share your ideas with others who have a common interest. If you ride off-road or you ride street bikes in remote areas you are putting yourself in a lot of danger riding solo. If you have 2 or 3 riding buddies that ride at a similar speed and you enjoy their company, it will enhance your riding experience riding with them. Also, someone can notify emergency services if you fly off a cliff. Then if you do group rides, you can go with your small group and ride at your own speed and have some good company guaranteed while still having the opportunity to meet some new people. Getting those 2 or 3 riding buddies you can enjoy riding with can be hard. Sometimes you need to get out and meet strangers on big group rides to build your own crew.

  • cogs55

    I thought I was kind of strange preferring to ride alone, guess not on that front anyway…

  • FreeFrog

    Riding solo is the best way to enjoy, improve and focus on the freedom of two wheels. Sure the occasional ride with a few (as in 1-3) friends who want to scrape pegs through the canyons or ditch the pavement and go trail riding is fun enough, but large groups of conformity… no thanks. Nuff said.

  • terpsmandan

    That’s why I started riding, it was something that I could do alone.