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My brother hooked me up with a group of social riders.
They typically do a day trip of about 300km.
The group's website advises of upcoming rides, usually monthly.
Our first ride was up into the Sunshine Coast and hinterland.
Beginning at Mt Gravatt, we headed to north Brisbane, then onto Dayborough and Mt Mee.
It's a great set of blacktop; a mix of suburban traffic and not-too twisty country roads.
In hindsight, it was risky to go on the ride because I'd only had the bike a short while and still getting used to it.
It was nerve wracking and my pillion could feel it. She was nervous too.
But over-confidence is a fault, so I blended my faultiness with the group.
Credit to the group organisers. They put a lot of thought into the ride.
Meticulous planning and easy-to-follow rules made the ride go relatively smoothly.
It started out well enough. The group was 25 people. Every age group and every level of rider experience was represented.
In the mix was a middle-aged woman just off her L's and a paraplegic on a Can-Am Spyder. He hoisted his wheelchair onto a custom frame on top.
The leader wore an orange hi-viz vest and tail-end Charlie wore yellow.
For the first half hour or so, everyone rode in an orderly line. I wobbled my way through corners and over bumps and my pillion stay attached.
At 35deg, the day was hot and sticky, the sky blue and bright. The road rose up to meet us and we settled in. We began to relax.
After an organised hour, we stopped for a cool break at Mt Mee. Being a little higher and in the bush, it was a relief from the heat.
Was it something in the water, lack of oxygen at altitude or patience exhausted?
After Mt Mee, the group disintegrated into a tete de la course, stragglers and slow pokes.
It spread out over a kilometre.
The fast riders headed off and a race began.
The big Beemer turned into a race horse and tried to keep up. And I tried to hang on.
I followed the guy on the Can-Am for a while but backed off. He was too fast.
My brother is a good rider, well-coordinated and experienced. I tailed his rear tyre and pillion around the tight, twisty stuff and watched him disappear.
My pillion reminded my ribs that we didn't need to die or crash. Not on this ride anyway.
She was right and I backed off, waiting for the mid-field to catch up.
I followed the leader for a few K. At a major turn, he signalled with his arm, that I should stay at the intersection so the rest of the group would know where to turn.
We sat there for quite a long time. It was then I realised how far separated we'd become.
The new rider was travelling very cautiously, with tail-end Charlie hugging close.
After the ride, I learned this.
1. Take with you a large dose of patience.
2. Ride within your limits. There will always be a better or faster rider than me.
3. Include the learner in the ride. Respect that we all start somewhere.
4. Ride in smaller groups.
After all that's said, it was great to be with like-minded brothers and sisters.
It was a chance to make new friends.
And a chance to practice the language of motorbikese.
Would I do another group ride?
It was a lot of fun being with other people with the same passion for riding.
The circuit was a great ride and the countryside interesting and beautiful.
Since that ride, we've completed an advanced riding course.
It highlighted my riding shortcomings.
I'm looking forward to the next outing.
We'll see you on the road sometime.