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Group Rides; an opinion

By Batchy, Aug 18, 2016 | Updated: Aug 18, 2016 | | |
Riding in a group needs another set of skills
  1. 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.


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  1. Hotchips
    Group ride this Sat. Don't forget if your in sunny QLD. See Events for details.
  2. ozzyal
    At 53 I just recently did my first group ride. Through hills and corners like I rarely see living out in flat pastral land . The things it really highlighted was how my cornering skills had faded and how easily I allowed myself to ride quicker than I was really capable of on the day . I've always known I wasn't a great rider , but this day highlighted how badly my skills had dropped . Don't get me wrong, the only pressure to go fast was self imposed. Did I enjoy myself ? Absolutely, will I go again ?? You bet . But with a better attitude. Might be time to do a refresher course .
  3. grungysquash
    In group rides especially with riders you do not know there will be a significant spread of experience. I prefer not to go on these rides not because I lack experience but that I find riders will exceed their capabilities. Nothing worse than either following or being followed by a rider who is going faster than their ability. Easy to spot, sudden corner breaking, running wide on exits - usually followed up with excessive throttle on the straight sections. As a rider I tend to get more concerned about them, worry I'm maybe pushing them by going to fast - and up not having fun because I'm focusing on them. Nothing wrong with backing off and giving space, slowing down and enjoying the view.

    On the road, it's never a race - always ride to your ability, learn how to corner correctly and smoothly - watch the road for those gravel sections, shinny sections - and if someone takes off - who cares.

    Riding with a group of known friends however is fantastic, no ego's if u want to have a play - have a play, if you want to cruise - just sit back and cruise.
      Janek75 likes this.
  4. Hotchips
    Good read. I am about to embark on my first group ride Oct 1st - The T21 Charity ride (I posted a link in Events). I'm only 2 months into ownership of my upgraded cruiser so I look forward to it, but am nervous about not stuffing up any other riders and judging unknown twisties correctly (I have only commuted for 2 years, not really cruised out for hours on end).
    1. Batchy
      My advice would be to give yourself plenty of room in front; don't let the following riders pressure you.
      Go at your own pace.
      If the group won't make allowances for your style of riding, perhaps you're in the wrong group.
      As always, enjoy the ride.
      Thank you for your comment.
  5. b12mick
    "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."

    Quoted for truth. However, I'll add one more. Don't be afraid to leave the group and do your own thing. That goes for groups that are slower than you'd like as well as groups that are faster than you'd like.
      Gigi Bytes and Mouth like this.
    1. Batchy
      5. Don't be afraid to leave the group.

      Thanks B12MICK. Appreciate the comment.