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Old 01-02-2013, 09:34 AM   #31
hanksmybuddy
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SOLO AS IN ONE! Big group rides suck in my humble opinion. To each his own though.

Solo in the Valley of Death: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=688728
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:05 AM   #32
Ceri JC
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Road Riding - When I used to actively participate in my advanced riding group, group rides were probably amongst the most enjoyable large group road rides I have been on. There were times I would have gone a bit quicker (only 5-10mph faster), but by and large the pace was good and the safety and courtesy to other riders was through the roof compared to most groups.

When I was in my twenties, group rides with experienced Ghost Rider-like psychopaths was fun in small doses. I eventually stopped as I found I would sometimes get caught up in the group mindset and push beyond my acceptable "limit of prosecution"*. It's odd how you start to feel doing 130 down a narrow 60 is acceptable, when your mate flies by the fast side of 160. I had enough self control that I didn't speed to a point where it became dangerous, but nonetheless, loss of licence was a big enough incentive not to do it that I don't really go in for this sort of riding anymore. It's part of the reason I prefer adventure bikes to sportsbikes. Superbikes are simply no fun on the road (to me at least) unless you're doing licence-losing speeds. If I had the money, sure I'd have one predominantly for track use, but I don't do enough to warrant one at the moment unless it was being used on the road a lot too.

Road Riding with a bunch of n00bs, or worse still, a group of highly "mixed ability" is a nightmare. Simple things like moving in after an overtake (so if another rider takes the overtake too, there is a greater margin for error, at no cost to the leading rider) that you should be able to take for granted don't happen. The challenges/arguments/disagreements at rest stops can be a source of amusement, provided you're not involved as either party. Classics include:
  • Someone telling me off for him nearly rear ending me when I was braking around a corner, in reaction to an obstruction ahead in our lane because, "you can't brake on bends without crashing". He claimed his (lack of) following distance was irrelevant and had no bearing on the near-miss.
  • One rider passing so close to another rider (for absolutely no reason) that his wing mirror clipped the other riders elbow, startled him and causing the clipped rider to veer into a hedge. The rider doing the clipping tried to make out this was the fault of the other rider for not leaving enough space to overtake.
  • Me pulling a rider over, gesturing for him to kill his engine, then shouting at him for not sticking to the drop off system as agreed, only to slowly realise as he removed his lid that his blue naked middleweight Honda was a CB500 not a hornet and despite wearing the exact same blue Arai lid and a similar blue jacket, he was a total stranger and not the (lost) mate on a blue hornet I mistook him for. The poor bastard was bricking it as there were about 20 of us who pulled in around him, hemming him in, in the layby he had pulled over into.


Trail riding, we tend to keep our groups small. I belong to the TRF and we have a self-imposed (but not rigidly enforced) limit of six riders in a group. A number of reasons for this, predominantly to decrease how annoyed other trail users (horses, hikers etc.) are by our presence. The way trails are restricted in the UK, you pretty much have to partake in group rides to discover them and to ensure you are riding a legal trail. It's a necessary evil, but by and large, the people make it pleasurable. I enjoy it most with one particular friend though. I am slightly quicker in the dirt and he is slightly quicker on the road (at least, with the tyres we respectively run). Our skills and bikes are closely enough matched that we hardly ever slow each other down.Fingers crossed, we've never had a bike stuck that two of us couldn't rescue (although we've have plenty of times where one was stuck and couldn't get it out without the other). Although we've had a few "moments" where we've thought we were doomed and the bike was going to have to stay there. You wait, now I've said that, one of us will lose our bike next time just the two of us go out.

Dirt (either overseas or private land is hilarious in large groups when dust is thrown up and people are roosting/being roosted or crashing left right and centre. For some reason the atmosphere is just different, it's like a party. I lost my balance once and fell on the only guy in our group larger than me, who was strong enough to push me and my bike back upright, without coming off himself. Any of the dozen riders other than him and we would both have been on the floor. When I pointed out I was lucky it was him and not Mike (a small guy) we were both creased up laughing. On the road, I'd have been really embarrassed and he'd have been really pissed off. Unlike road riding, riding with complete n00bs is funny too, particularly if you have your camera turned on.


Travelling with others in general, never mind on motorbikes, is a bloody nightmare. By "travelling" I mean actively trying to get from A->B in as short a time, with as little hassle, for as little cost, as possible. Dicking around on bikes on a jaunt for pleasure is one thing, but if you're really "travelling", then small group size and comparability with your riding buddies is vital.

It's amazing how much people tend to underestimate how much being part of a large group slows you down. We often catch up with/overtake larger groups of (better) riders on faster bikes, much to their amazement. Conversely, when riding with competent riders on proper dirt bikes, I'm acutely aware that as one of the slower riders, further compounded by my lardy GS I'm holding them up and that makes me feel bad, even if they're cool about it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:29 AM   #33
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I have never done a group ride on the street and doubt I ever will. But I have done a lot of group or organized dual sport and offroad rides. In my experience the size of the group offroad doesn't matter much except at the start. But once you are riding it gets sorted out into groups of three or four by ability to cover ground and/or aggressiveness anyway. So, to me, it seems like about four riders in a group seems to be the natural way it shakes out.
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:34 AM   #34
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I went on a group ride maybe 1 1/2 years ago, with 42 riders or so, and it was very, very enjoyable. Nearly all sport bikes, but the fastest guy in the bunch was a Goldwing/Aspencade/GL1500 of one sort or another. I saw air under both wheels more than once, and lots of fiberglass/plastic dust coming off the bottom of that bike. One person got a ticket, and nobody crashed, and it was a 500 mile day. Real good time.

In the dirt, I used to ride with a bunch of Professional, and Amatuer Expert flattrackers. Talk about a wild bunch. I learned more on those rides than at any other time. I was the one they would usually have to wait for. But it was a fast, fun time. Anywhere from 5-15 guys usually.

I don't usually mind helping out newer riders on group rides. After all, we weren't all born with the knowledge/skills necessary. I know a few guys that get all irritated when they have to wait, but I guess they've got all the knowledge about riding through inheritance or something, or maybe people treated them that way when they were coming up.

A year or two ago, I went on a group ride that had one real short time rider on a R6. For some reason, he seemed to feel he needed to stay within 2 feet of my rear wheel. I stopped once, told him to back it up about 40 feet, at least, yet for some reason, he kept right on my back tire, until I wicked it up and took off. I wouldn't let him get near me after that.

It depends, I suppose. If they are all good riders, and it doesn't turn into a race (it usually does), it can be a good time (sometimes even if it does turn into a race). Or if you ride with guys that crash a lot, it can suck, too.

Depends on the group I guess. Another big group ride coming up in a couple of months (this is in central CA). Im looking forward to it.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:21 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corndog67 View Post
....In the dirt, I used to ride with a bunch of Professional, and Amatuer Expert flattrackers. Talk about a wild bunch. I learned more on those rides than at any other time. I was the one they would usually have to wait for. But it was a fast, fun time. Anywhere from 5-15 guys usually.....
I think a lot of people saying they hate group rides don't get this aspect of it. The way you get faster is to stick with riders that are faster than your normal best pace. When you stick to somebody that shows you the fast line or technique it makes you a better rider. Sometimes a bruised rider but still better.

The two guys I did several dual sport events with were about my speed offroad. But they were both amateur road racers and crazy fast (to me) on the pavement sections. I probably learned more about what my bike would do on the street on knobbies in those few rides than all my previous years of riding combined.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:25 PM   #36
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Road riding, I prefer to ride solo. At most, with one other friend who has a similar riding style. I prefer to ride my own pace, choose my own destinations, stop when I want to stop, ride fast or ride slow when I want to, eat whenever I get hungry, change plans/routes often, etc.

Off-road, three minimum. That way, if someone goes down and gets badly hurt, one stays with him and one rides for help.

That's just me, though. Just my $0.02... YMMV.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:41 PM   #37
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And it helps to have more riders when pulling someone else's bike up a cliff.
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Old 01-02-2013, 12:55 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by corndog67 View Post
And it helps to have more riders when pulling someone else's bike up a cliff.
Indeed it does. This one took about ten riders to get the two bikes back on the trail.


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Old 01-02-2013, 01:08 PM   #39
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And it helps to have more riders when pulling someone else's bike up a cliff.
+1

Although I've only heard of this phenomenon, as I never fall off my bike. Never. Really!
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:46 PM   #40
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Indeed it does. This one took about ten riders to get the two bikes back on the trail.


Been there more than once. Even my own bike.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:17 PM   #41
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Always solo, I'm a nice guy, just not real social.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:10 AM   #42
Mr_Gone
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Always solo, I'm a nice guy, just not real social.
I gotta say I'm the same way. Always nice, I'll always talk to you if we meet at a gas station, I'll always wave if we meet on the road... but I've found that I just don't need constant human contact to live a happy life.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:08 AM   #43
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I don't really get the black or white answers to this. I prefer traveling alone and I enjoy riding alone. But I have also had a tremendous amount of fun on organized dual sport rides. Plus some of the absolute best times of my life came from riding with friends. In other words I like riding solo, I like riding with friends and I like organized rides. Maybe I just like riding.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:15 PM   #44
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Wink Friends

I like riding solo, I like riding with a group of 5-10 friends on road or off.
But I absolutely positively HATE group test rides.
The thought of riding a unfamiliar bike, in a group of strangers of mixed skill all on unfamiliar bikes, gives me the willies.
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Old 01-04-2013, 06:44 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Gone View Post
Road riding, I prefer to ride solo. At most, with one other friend who has a similar riding style. I prefer to ride my own pace, choose my own destinations, stop when I want to stop, ride fast or ride slow when I want to, eat whenever I get hungry, change plans/routes often, etc.

Off-road, three minimum. That way, if someone goes down and gets badly hurt, one stays with him and one rides for help.

That's just me, though. Just my $0.02... YMMV.
+1. I at first thought 2 was the perfect number, one to go in to the store, the other to watch the bikes. But my wise travel companion pointed out that if one crashes it would be best to have someone stay to aid while the other goes for help. I guess one of those fancy GPS/Satellite could replace the third person in a pinch. After reading up I'd steer away from the Spot and go with the more costly up front devices as the subscription and quality of service Spot offers just doesn't stack up.

The joke we had on our trip was that me being the "medical expert" would be the one to crash and get hurt. So I agree for the remote backwoods rides three would be best. Nothing wrong with more people on short rides but on longer the day to day herding of cats get old and will lead to fights as someone's expectations will rub up against the others.
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