Do you ride solo or in groups?

gnyce

Site Supporter
I've been riding on my own the past several years (as I got back into motorcycling). I don't have any (existing) friends that ride, which is why I'm usually solo. And typically I'm fine with that, I use it to explore new roads and new areas of the countryside. But sometimes I'd like to ride with others... and so I tried using Meetup to ride in some local groups. Some of them go for much longer rides than I can justify (I have other responsibilities), but there have been a few that were shorter (2+ hours) and a very good mix of bikes (e.g. not all HD or not all sport-bikes). The other day, it was just me and another guy - who usually does track days on his '17 Gixxer (!). Needless to say, our riding styles differed, but it was still fun (and I did express not being comfortable with passing on a dbl-yellow).

So my question to the general audience - do you typically ride solo? or have a small group of friends? or a re-occurring thing with a larger group? What do you like and why?
 

Gary in NJ

Junior Member
Site Supporter
I use to ride with a group of like minded and skilled riders. But over the years some stopped riding, some moved from the area, and a few are now riding in moto heaven. As a result I have been riding mostly alone for the last 7 or more years. I think riding alone (all of the time) sucks. There’s no one to talk shit with (or about) at the end of the ride. Since I was 10 years old, riding for me has always been a social activity.

There are some great roads in Bucks County between you and me. We should meet up in the spring. Maybe we can get a few of the others in the area to join us.
 

Cloggy

Euro Mod
Elite Member
In the lockdown I've found a group of about 4 people (maximum number of riders allowed in the lockdown)who ride about the same pace as myself and who are like minded in their idea what makes for a nice ride. The cafes have been shut for a while now so we stop for coffee at gas stations and try to stop at a nice location in the countryside to eat our packed lunches.
 

meadeam

Site Supporter
I ride alone. I have very few friends IRL and haven't seen them since this crap began. None of them ride.

I used to be very much into bicycle racing; road, mountain, cyclocross. All of it. That is very demanding sport (physically, mentally, financially) if you pursue it as I did. I was riding motorcycles at the same time, but my focus was bicycles. At some point I sold my motorcycle for road bicycle parts for the racing season, and didn't replace it. Before I bought another bike, I met my eventual wife who was very much opposed to motorcycles. When we married, we had a tacit agreement that I would not ride motorcycles. I was ok with it at the time, and thought some day I would ease back into it. When she filed for divorce, I bought another bike. At that point I hadn't ridden for nearly 10 years. That was going on 2 years ago.

I like riding alone, but it would be nice to have options. I've been on some more local forums and have always wanted to do some track days. We'll see what this year brings. I'm pretty picky about my company.
 

Cloggy

Euro Mod
Elite Member
@meadeam have a look on facebook see if there are any riding groups in your area, there might be others wanting to go on a lockdown ride out. I realise nows probably not the best time of year as most are in hibernation but it might give you some time to browse the local groups, I'm a member of several over here and have met several riding friends that way :cool:.
Normally I go on a couple of larger rides every year and even organise a few but it's not allowed during the corona virus here.
 

trepetti

It's all good!
Elite Member
Site Supporter
I ride alone. I have very few friends IRL and haven't seen them since this crap began. None of them ride.

I used to be very much into bicycle racing; road, mountain, cyclocross. All of it. That is very demanding sport (physically, mentally, financially) if you pursue it as I did. I was riding motorcycles at the same time, but my focus was bicycles. At some point I sold my motorcycle for road bicycle parts for the racing season, and didn't replace it. Before I bought another bike, I met my eventual wife who was very much opposed to motorcycles. When we married, we had a tacit agreement that I would not ride motorcycles. I was ok with it at the time, and thought some day I would ease back into it. When she filed for divorce, I bought another bike. At that point I hadn't ridden for nearly 10 years. That was going on 2 years ago.

I like riding alone, but it would be nice to have options. I've been on some more local forums and have always wanted to do some track days. We'll see what this year brings. I'm pretty picky about my company.
So my philosophy is that when you have 10 people 'close together' and the visors go down, you are all alone together. You don't ride in a group, you stop in a group. That said, I enjoy riding with others when we stop for lunch, hydration, an perhaps a cigar break.
 

bigborer

Site Supporter
Mostly there are the following types of groups, sorted by incidence:


1- the wanna be street racers group

Many times there is a combination of at least 3 of the following:
-having something to prove
-poor riding skills
-unrealistic self assessments
-poor bike condition
-alcohol/drugs

The most frequent scenario is the accordion effect (excessive breaking before turns, full speed after the turns, everyone racing to catch the guy in front, then another turn comes and everyone compacts) combined with kamikaze style overtaking, all fueled by trying to prove who's got the biggest dick and fastest bike, plus the occasional "one or two beers don't hurt" during the mid-ride lunch.

pros: None, unless you still have the mind of a 14y old boy
cons: This type of group is the surest way to die or get permanent injuries while riding a motorcycle. They're also the reason many car drivers hate bikers.


2- the facebook meetup group

Most times this is a group led by a more senior guy, such as a local instructor.
Many riders are new at riding, however it's mostly safe. There are basic rules instructed such as keeping a position and separation. The speeds are slow, to accommodate any level of skill.
Many times there will be a party at the end of the day, or the destination it's self is some sort of festival or party.

This is mostly joined by: new riders afraid to ride alone, people looking for a hook up, people looking for drinking buddies

pros: safe, all the effort has already been made by someone else- you just need to show up, booze, possible hookups
cons: slow, boring, you will obey the schedule set by someone else, if you have/get to average (or better) skills you will need to give up the joys of riding just to be part of a random group


3- the group of friends

Not to be confused with group #1.
All riders have some experience, and similar or at least comparable levels of skill.
Riders are aware both of their own limits, and of the limits of the others.
Least chance of "surprises".

IMO if there are over 3 bikes, it will likely turn intro group #1. It's either that, or it gets too boring.

pros: safe, flexible
cons: rarely any new people


4- the "motorcycle club" group


Mostly this is group #1, but with choppers instead of sport bikes, and with guys carrying more body fat.



When I ride:
1- I want to get home in one piece
2- I ride as fast as possible without risking breaking #1
3- I do not like frequent stops: the duration of a full tank is about right. Sorry, but I honestly don't care about your nicotine addiction.
4- I like longer rides, 8-10h/day
5- I like some non-riding comfort: I don't need 5 stars anything, but I don't bust my ass working hard just so I'd pinch some pennies by eating at petrol stations/fast foods and sleeping in shit rooms with stained linings or sharing rooms.
6- On multi-day trips, I want to be fresh each day. I won't "party" the nights between rides.
7- I only go on a flexible schedule- I'm not a train going to the next train station so there's no need to micro manage time.

This significantly reduces the pool of possible riding buddies, and you can probably tell by now that I'm not the biggest fan of group riding.

Life is already hard as is, why would one choose to compromise even their leisure time? If the main purpose is being part of a group, why not find something else, be a part of that, and on the side just ride for the sake of riding? Where I'm from there's a saying: what results from mixing smells like shit.

About 60% of time I ride with one friend. I know that he won't try to pull any crazy stuff, and I don't need to ride with the constant fear of getting rear ended by him before each turn. Even when I'm 2up he can't keep up in the twisties, but I'll go slower on the straights for him to catch up, so overall it's no big deal.
 

Cloggy

Euro Mod
Elite Member
Mostly there are the following types of groups, sorted by incidence:
1- the wanna be street racers group............
2- the facebook meetup group...................
3- the group of friends.........
4- the "motorcycle club" group
...............
I agree there are several groups to avoid but you can quite easily see by the posts what sort of groups these are, in the worst case join a few and leave a few. My favourite rides are with a smaller group but by going on a couple of bigger rides per year you can easily come in contact with like minded people Of course I'm speaking about my own situation but here in NL there are enough serious groups, OK you have to take care on some of the larger rides as you don't know what level everyone's at and the tempo might be slower than what you are used to but if this is only a couple of times a year, IMHO it's worth the effort.
 

Andz

Phantom Rider
Elite Member
4- the "motorcycle club" group

Mostly this is group #1, but with choppers instead of sport bikes, and with guys carrying more body fat.
Stereotype much?

I ride with an MC, no choppers, all sport or touring bikes, some of us carrying a couple of extra pounds but does that make us lesser riders? I think not.
 

bigborer

Site Supporter
Regarding who is lesser or better rider- that is an entirely different topic, and one I don't care about. The main purpose I ride with is having fun, not making rider value evaluations.
But as it's not possible to ride with the eyes shut close, in time one does notice certain patterns.

Nothing ever is 100%, but when a large percentage fits within a pattern, it's more than safe to stereotype. Now, it's either:

1- someone reads the description and fits the stereotype. It's just a brief description of what they choose to do, so why get offended over being reminded their own choices of doing certain stuff?
2- someone reads the description and does not fit the stereotype. This has nothing to do with them, so why get offended?
 

Gary in NJ

Junior Member
Site Supporter
I don't see a stereotype there at all. Older riders tend to ride cruisers and sport tourers; and the latest fashion statement is the adventure bike. Older guys tend to carry a few extra pounds. I agree with bigborer's assessment that there are skill and demographic differences among riding groups, but the number is greater than 4.

The first big distinction in my opinion is the "biker" vs. "motorcyclist". I hate when people refer to me as a biker because it stands against everything I am as a motorcyclist. In my universe of one person, here's the difference:

Biker - A rider that that feels the rules don't apply (both on and off the bike). A rider that will bar hop and ride "just a little buzzed". A rider that will only ride the accepted brand. A rider that must be seen and heard. A rider that doesn't give much thought to safety and riding dynamics. A rider that is a poser.

Motorcyclist - A rider that seeks a higher understanding of riding dynamics. A rider that places safety as a high priority. A rider that enjoys all (or can accept that there are other) forms of motorcycling.

I'm sure I could add to those two definitions, but you get the point. Getting back on-topic, I won't ride with bikers, in groups 1 through 4 or any other group category. And if you think I've stereotyped bikers as Harley riders, you'd be wrong. I'm happy to ride with guys on Harleys. In fact in the groups I use to ride with, there were two guys that owned monstrously large Harley's that were the epitome of the motorcyclist - one was a MSF range instructor.
 

Andz

Phantom Rider
Elite Member
Biker - A rider that that feels the rules don't apply (both on and off the bike). A rider that will bar hop and ride "just a little buzzed". A rider that will only ride the accepted brand. A rider that must be seen and heard. A rider that doesn't give much thought to safety and riding dynamics. A rider that is a poser.
I take back that earlier comment, we have a stereotype winner!

I am a BIKER, I never drink and ride, I ride a Yamaha (WTF is the accepted brand?), I ride safely and wear top brand safety gear or does that make me a poser?

BTW all bikers are motorcyclists by definition.
 

Gary in NJ

Junior Member
Site Supporter
I said it was MY definition, I'm not asking anyone to subscribe to it. That's how I see riders. By your own definition of YOU, I would consider you a motorcyclist. I don't care what you call you.

The "accepted brand" is the brand that a particular group rides and doesn't like outsiders. It could be ANY brand...pick one. They have a brand loyalty that is a stronger bond then the individual. Me, I don't give a crap what brand my friends ride. Most Harley riders wont wave at riders on other brands. I give everyone the wave.

You'll notice in my signature that I consider myself "a lifetime student of motorcycling". That is true and it means something to me. I choose to ride with people who feel the same way. If your thing is drinking and group wheeling down the road...we won't be riding together. I'm 58 and have been riding since the age of 10. I left the hooning and squid riding behind when I was in my teens...and luckily not on the road. That's all.

Andz, you seem to be getting offend easily on this subject. What gives?
 
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gnyce

Site Supporter
I got caught in the middle of a bunch of Harley riders one time.... was kinda' funny. Large group of them turning onto a main road that I was on, and b/c of traffic, I ended up with 1/2 in front of me, and 1/2 behind. I rode along until they turned a different route, they didn't really pay me any mind - that's fine. But likely I wasn't especially welcome, which is fine too. I'm guessing that is @Gary in NJ 's point re: the right brand. And it used to bug me that some don't wave, but not anymore - it's not a requirement nor is it a slur. Also agree with @trepetti that you are kind of riding alone in a group, until you stop for a break. The few (meetup) group rides I've been on, that's exactly it. The best part was not having to pay attention to where I was going or the turns. Refreshing, that was (sidenote: best vacation I've had was when my sister-in-law planned everything).

So while I probably prefer to ride alone (or with my older brother, ironically who rides an '05 HD Road King but is much more gregarious than myself) - I'm looking to expand that, and thus the genesis of the question. Stereotypes, labels, whatever man... just want to learn from the experience of the group, so thank you.

And @Gary in NJ - sure, come Spring happy to do a ride! Have to go slow enough to glance at the countryside every so often ;) It's not about the roads I _know_..... it's about the ones I _haven't_ gone on yet.
 

ShoopCE

Elite Member
Site Supporter
Nice topic!

I ride solo most times I'm out. Whenever I can, I ride with a buddy who lives across the street. Sadly, I'm going to be losing him soon when he moves to VA. But I also ride with groups. One is Ohioriders.net, though that one is dissolving and its been a while since they held an organized ride. I set the date and route for one of the most recent, late 2019, and only about six people showed up.

But my favorite is a group called MSTA, Motorcycle Sport Touring Assoc. Check out RideMSTA.COM or look up MSTA on Facebook. My neighbor recruited me into this group shortly after I got back into riding. The best thing about this group is that all of the guys are there for the riding, and the talking afterwards. Rides are organized in small groups of 3 to maybe eight, and the leader is expected to set a pace appropriate for the group. There are really fast groups and others that are moderate and some that are for newer riders. ATGATT is expected, not a requirement, but there will be comments.

The group started out in 1982 as the Honda Sport Touring Assoc. with mostly V45 Sabres and Interceptors, but then around 2000, they morphed into a non-brand group. Nowadays the group is a mix of Yamaha FJRs, Kawi Concours, Beemer RT1200's, some aging ST1300's and then just about anything you might think of riding including some Harleys and Gold wings. But we also some more exotic brands like Ducati, Aprilia, Motoguzi, etc. The past few years more and more of our members have been bringing their adventure bikes like GS's, KTM's and Tenere's, VStroms, etc.

The group has state chapters that meet monthly. In some states they have more than one of these meetings. In Ohio where we have a lot of members, they have separate monthly meetings in the Columbus and Cincy areas (@meadeam!). We used to have meetings in western PA and central PA, but I think that has fallen apart as the leadership aged out.

We have a series of regional meets that are typically one weekend and are located in great riding areas. The group seems to be losing most of its members west of the Rockies, so most of the remaining meets are Texas and east.

We have a large annual meet that will be held at Canaan Valley Resort in WV this year. You're ALL invited! The riding and fellowship around the campfire will be great. The roads nearby are awesome and we have several local guys putting together routes for street and ADV that will be amazing. The area is not like one of the overly advertised spots like Deals Gap so there are only a few squids and the local police are fairly, reasonably friendly.

The annual meets typically draw 200 to 500 bikes/riders. The most recent one was in Bristol VA where we had 330 or so. The 2020 event was scheduled at Cape Girardeau MO, but we had to cancel it because of COVID. The Canaan Valley event is scheduled for June. We are allowing for a possible delay to August if COVID issues remain till June. When this event happens we are expecting a very large turnout. The 1996 event that was the last time we visited this spot was one of the most popular and talked about meets. We will probably fill the entire resort and a lot of the nearby camping.

Please also consider yourselves invited to the more "local" event that the OH chapter puts on in Marietta OH (with lots of help from the WV guys who are just across the river. Check out FlybyWeek.com. This is a week-long meeting at the end of August and is one of the largest events other than the national one. I think this is the 26th consecutive year.

Full disclosure - I am the state director for WV (all 12 of us). The national membership is a bit over 1,000. I've noticed that the states with the largest memberships tend to be flat. My theory is that guys who live in the mountainous areas are less likely to join this type of group, because the great roads are RIGHT there. Sorry for the LONG post. But I think this is a great group that would appeal to many of the guys that I've met on this forum.

Chris
 

Gary in NJ

Junior Member
Site Supporter
Excellent Schoop! It sounds like you’ve got a strong regional group to ride with. Thanks for the open invite. I’ve ridden off-road a few times in southern WV and I did note that the local roads looked great for riding as well. It’s a far trip for me, but you never know. Post events updates when available.
 

Ohendo

Site Supporter
We have a large annual meet that will be held at Canaan Valley Resort in WV this year. You're ALL invited...
Very cool! I am definitely interested! Thanks for sharing all of this info.

I know the area a bit, having just spent a few days in October riding with some buddies there... camped nearby in Blackwater Falls State Park.
I can vouch for the amazing WV roads!
 
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