Which is Best? Riding in the Pack or Riding Solo? Part II

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November 5, 2010 | By: J&P Cycles

Editor’s Note: Yesterday we heard from veteran rider Patrick Garvin about the advantages of leaving the pack behind and traveling solo. Today, we’ll get a second opinion —this one from Jake Herring — on the benefits of riding with friends. And as we’ve said in the past, J&P has no stake in this argument. It’s presented purely for entertainment value and to maybe stir up some dust. When you’ve finished reading Jake’s post — and if you’re so inclined — leave a comment on your take on this issue.

Which is Best? When It Comes to Riding, the More the Merrier

By Jake Herring

First off, I want to make it clear that I love riding my motorcycle whether it’s all by my lonesome or in a pack of friends. I do feel a bit safer when in a pack of bros — especially when it comes to civilians on the road. See that old cager texting his wife to find out what’s for dinner? Isn’t it more likely he’s going to spot a pack of bikes coming up on him than just a single rider? Of course it is.

That being said, I do agree with Patrick on the concept of riding with a group of strangers. Definitely not the smartest idea, but if you are with a group of strangers it usually involves a charity of some sort or a parade. And if that’s the case, then you’re probably going so slow that if you can’t avoid an accident, you shouldn’t be on a bike to start with!

I ride on a regular basis with a half dozen other guys, and 99 percent of the time I can tell you what they are going to do before they do. Why’s that? Because we’ve ridden together for years. We know each other’s habits and riding styles as well as we know our own. If Bud or Brian point to the ground I know to watch out for the pothole or road ’gator up ahead. Or if they tap the top of their head, I know there’s a member of the local police department lurking in the distance.

Another good reason to ride in a group is if you like to ride fast. You’re far less likely to be pulled over by Johnny Law when there are six or eight of you. Not so if you’re out there by yourself. Super cop will not hesitate to jack you up in an instant for going five miles over the speed limit.

Here’s another benefit of the group plan. Let’s say you take off on your own one morning and get 100 miles from home way back on some country road where there’s no cell phone reception. Suddenly you break down. All you need is a piece of wire, a zip tie or a simple nut or bolt. Of course you have none of these things. But with a friend or six, somebody’s bound to have something that can fix your bike. And if they don’t, one of them can run up the road 20 miles for a part.

Or let’s say you don’t have a gas light and you’re enjoying the ride so much you overlook your petroleum situation in the last town you ripped through. When you run out of gas, you’ll be glad your buddy is with you to drain some out of his tank or run back up the road to get you a soda bottle full so you can limp up to the next filling station.

Maybe riding in a group isn’t your thing, or maybe you don’t have any friends that ride. But it’s my opinion that it’s safer and definitely more fun to hit the asphalt with a group of buddies. You’ve heard the term, “There’s safety in numbers?”  That holds true for a group of bikers too — as long as the leader of the pack isn’t a novice or a fool.  So choose your path and I’ll see you on the road. Later!

Comments: 16 Comments | Categorized Under: Announcements

Comments (16)

I ride both. I have ridden some of my best rides solo,but I also enjoy group rides(depends on the group).I want to ride,not argue about where the next stop should be. It all depends on the company!

Yes, I love the feeling of riding in a pack, especially when you know who you are riding with, I’ve also met alot of good people starting out on run’s, and bt he final destination would go anywhere with them. Myself, I’ve been clean and sober for over 6 yrs now, but doesn’t mean the brother next to me has to, but I will no-longer ride next to some-one chit faced, but thats where I have the knowledge to watch what others are doing, and hoe they are acting on the road, hell, some-one has to look out for them, some-one was always looking out for me!! But definitly in a pack, because most of the time, everyone.except the new riders, (not to piss-anyone off, we were all new riders at one point or another) know what rider ediquite is, and how to act in a pressure situation, if you absolutely are going down, try and veer away from the pack, so you don’t take others down with you, or at least keep the numbers to a minimum. Hope no-one else ever has to do this, and I wish you ALL the safe passage, and love of the road as I have experienced, being in a pack, or riding alone, watch you azz, and keep an eye out for the cager’s, that after they hit you, they throw out the old, “I didn’t see him bullchit” then 99% of the timwe, dead or alive, they will try to blame us, and never test some 80yr old that shouldn’t be on the road anymore anyway’s. (this is only my opinion) Tkae Care, and by ALL MEANS, RIDE FREE!!!!!

to me it don’t mather in small group of 4 to 8 rider or all by my self i trust my bike knowing it as ben well maintain keeping tolls wiht me and small item like wire spare sparks plug tie raps you lern wiht the years what broake the most ofen i like living wiht the wife on saterday morning or organising a ride wiht the friend a couple day or week beffor to know the trail we are going to take we stop when we feel like it and every body is hapy about it most of the time it will be to look at somthing or just to smoke a cigarette i don’t like to ride wiht drunk or dope adict and if there a new rider wiht no experience we prefer to have im at the end of the pack so if he or she made a mistake it doesnt create a major accident and we make shure that every one is ready to go befor to live any place so we don;t ferget any one and he or she don’t have a panick attack and get in to trouble i lern by the year that riding in a big gang there is alway’s or most of the time accident small or big and the most dangerous one of all ar car and big rig that are impatient and try to pass the group and cut off in the pack or big rigs in the hot season that are loosing tire parts that is the most dangerous thing do not fowllow big rig to close pass them or let them thake distance betwin you and them on that it is just to say ride free be safe

Sometimes riding the group is more trouble than it’s worth. In one group I ride with, there’s a rider with aweful situational awareness, has aweful sense of direction, is careless in maintaining his motorcycle, nearly runs out of fuel despite our frequent stops to fill up, the list goes on.

Unless you find a group that’s a perfectly well-oiled machine, better to go it alone.

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A question about the several references in regards to fearing breakdowns, do you feel that way when you are in a cage? The secret to any long trip is preparation, preparing your bike, preparing yourself (getting to know your bike, it’s weaknesses, and how to repair simple things), and putting together a bike first aid kit (small commonly used tool bag, spare parts (simple ones most prone to failure/loss), tire repair/inflation kit, misc.(wire, tape, zip ties) and the most important items…..cell phone and credit/debit card.
Then you can decide to travel in a group or solo because you enjoy it and not out of fear for safety

I once was with a group and did not have a good time. One needed gas, another one the toilet, one did not like the restaurant or the motel. So I prefer riding alone, eventhough I go to Virginia (I live in Quebec). I leave when i’m ready, ride for as long as I want, eat where I want, etc. Next spring, I intend to ride the Blue Ridge Mountains…alone.

I enjoy riding with a large group but find there are various skill levels amongst the riders which make it a challenge at times. The best scenario for me is riding with less than 6 guys so the decisions about where to eat, sleep, stop, etc are easier to make.

Either way just as long as your knees are in the breese.

This being my first year of riding in about 18 years, I have never been out with more than a few other riders. So, I can’t really weigh in on riding in a group.

This story does bring up some good points though.

Up in Canada the cops won’t generally bother you for going a little over the limit, as long as it’s not rediculous. On our major highway (in my parts) the 401, everyone usually does about 20 over and never gets bothered. Just don’t be stupid and weave in and out of traffic, or ride the white line. That’s what they look for here! If you follow the other rules (signal lights etc.) you will most likely be okay.

But, the thought of breaking down is always in the back of my mind, and it is good to have a little back up. When I go any distance, I usually ride with a friend, but if I stay close to home, or populated areas, I would just as soon ride alone.

I think I’m going to try a couple of those “charity” runs next season though. Who knows… I might like it.

USA I want go there…to work anything i do, but im just poor man. how to go there i dont know

I like the freedom of riding alone but I loved riding on charity runs with a mile of bros with ya and its always nice after a nice ride or seing a nice site to be sharing it with someone else.

Many good points were expressed, after thirty years of riding with many miles alone and many charitiy rides .I find small groups of friends are safer than large rides. I do enjoy the time alone with my wife on the back most of all..

It matters not as long as I ride… after 6 surgeries in 2009 and not even having the strength to get up a flight of steps without resting for 10 minutes I ride as much as I can. If my bros wanna hook up, great, if not, still I ride. My solace, tranquility, mind release …. my vice! See ya on the road.

I like to ride both ways….. You bring up alot of good points for both. The one I enjoy most is riding with just me and the wife on the back!

I like riding in a small group of 2-12 bikes. To me if the group get’s any bigger, it’s more difficult to stay together! Also it’s very hard to follow eachother when there’s too many bikes.

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