Until I joined the H.O.G. 3 or so years ago, I had never done much group riding. I had plenty of riding time under my belt but a lot of it was solo or with one or two friends. These long parades of riders moving down the highway at speed were a new experience to me. I can now say, after having thoroughly experienced this style of riding, that I am certainly not a big fan. Big group riding, is in my humble opinion, tedious at best and dangerous at it’s worst. By big group riding, I mean any group over ten. bikes.
Now don’t get me wrong. I had some great times on some of my rides with the H.O.G., but all-in-all, the rides with a few friends have been the best. And those big “rides” with 50 or more bikes aren’t really rides at all; they’re parades.
The problem with groups bigger that 10 or so riders is that you have to ride to the lowest kill level present. Thus, riders who want travel faster are forced to ride beneath their abilities. Boring. Time at rest stops and fuel stops stretches on. When a small group of like minded riders is together, routes and time frames can be more flexible, less structured. In my experience the fun quotient rises as the numbers decrease, to a point. Solo isn’t as much fun as riding with a few friends. but it is more fun than the big group rides. The larger the ride, the more structure you need. Structure= rules and there are too many folks out there who love rules, particularly if they get to enforce them. Like I said before, tedious.
Every year in Pocatello there is an early May ride called the Motorcycle Awareness ride. Usually hundreds of bikers ride the 50 miles to Idaho Falls and back, and although ostensibly a ride about safety, it is easily the most dangerous ride of the year. Riding side-by side down at 75 down the interstate with someone you may not know and who may or may not be sober, while so-called ‘road captains” blast by you at 95 miles per hour, is not my idea of the way to emphasize motorcycle awareness and safety. In addition, the “road captains” who block off roads while the parade roars by, do a good job of pissing off the common citizens who are simply trying to get to the store or to work, but have to wait while the bikers pass by. How that does the cause or motorcyclists any good I’m not sure.
So what does all this mean? Well, for one thing, I’ll continue to go on those H.O.G. rides that appear to offer the highest fun-factor and avoid those that are larger. Increasingly, I have been calling together small groups of like minded riders and we have had some amazing rides. I’ll continue to do that.
I’ll probably write more on the subject later. I don’t pretend to have all the answers. You ride your ride and I’ll ride mine and we’ll
Keep On Keepin’ On