by Bruce Mike

Last month someone asked me if I would like to ride with them on the annual Flood Run. I less than politely declined. I offered my opinion of this particular ride, even though it wasn’t asked for. You see, I don’t like riding in big groups and my reason has always been — too many people who don’t know how to ride. The reality is — too many people who aren’t riding the way I want them to. When I ride in a group it is very rare that I will be leading. I just don’t do it well. I have a tendency to forget that I have a responsibility to the riders behind me and ultimately I end up riding alone, ahead of everyone else. The best place for me in a group is in the middle. I have the most patience in this position and I can follow pretty well.

Over the years I have participated in a lot of group rides, some big and some small. I try to avoid group rides that involve “Road Captains”. This translates to more than ten bikes which is out of my comfort zone. Whether big or small if there are bars involved in the route I tend to leave early and abandon the predetermined route. It has been my experience that alcohol and driving usually result in disaster. When riding in a group I prefer to ride staggered, maintaining a safe distance between me and the bike in front of me. I like having the entire lane to myself. It allows me to avoid pot holes and any other road hazard I may come across. Years ago, I had a couple of friends who crashed while riding side-by-side. A dog ran out in front of them and they took each other out. Thankfully they were only going about 30 mph, so they just ended up with short stays in the hospital. The only time I’ll ride side-by-side is in a parade or really slow-moving heavy traffic, and never with someone I haven’t ridden with before.

The group rides that I am eager to participate in don’t require riding in a group. These are rides that I can participate in alone or with one or two other people. These would include poker runs, check-point oriented rides and events like Ride to Work Day.

The 19th Annual International Motorcycle and Scooter Ride to Work Day is coming up. This year it is Monday June 21st. Ride to Work Day is a world-wide event that was inspired by “Work to Ride – Ride to Work” marketing materials created by Aero Design and Manufacturing Company of Duluth. I love this event because it takes very little effort for me to participate. I get up in the morning, get on my bike and go to work. I do wear a t-shirt and tell others about it. That’s about the extent of my involvement in this event. If you are an organizer type of person, you can really get involved by visiting the web site www.ridetowork.org — they will get you hooked-up with everything you need.

As the summer rolls on, opportunities for group riding will become quite plentiful. I’m planning on using these opportunities to become a more patient and less judgmental rider. If that’s not working, I’ll stick to riding with the six to eight bikes I normally ride with and keep my opinion to myself…unless someone asks for it. Ride smart and don’t bump your head.


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