Group riding

I don’t do group rides.

For those who have read or follow my blog over the years know that most of the rides I do are long distance or with a few friends.  However I stumbled across a local group of riders – Fat Bastards Riding Club – who intrigued me and when they advertised a day ride I thought … why not.

So as I pulled into the meeting location I was surprised to see over 20 bikes.  That’s considerably more than I’ve ridden with before.

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With that many riders I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the ride.  I had no idea how the group ride – do they ride as a group or does the group fracture with riders going at their own pace?  Are there unwritten rules that I don’t know about in regards to your location within the group?  Are there boy racers in the group that can put others at risk because of their actions? Is there extensive mucking around at stops?

So initially I decided to just sit back and observe the group and its dynamics and then find my groove.  It didn’t take long for the group to sort itself out and before long I was running with my crowd.

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The downside of group riding – time – in a group this size time just disappears! Pulling into the service station for fuel, stopping for coffee, or for lunch just takes an extensive amount of time as there are so many bikes to fill or people to serve.  Between 9:45 and 15:30 we only covered 300km – that’s not something that I’m used to.

The positives – what a great group, an eclectic mix of bikes, experience, and people with a common theme … a love of riding.  And while we didn’t do many miles for the day it actually didn’t matter it was just great to get out, share the road with other like minded riders, and hang out.

I may need to rethink my opening statement.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still a long distance rider, but I think I may need to reevaluate what my definition of ‘ride’ is. Sometimes it is about setting off before the sun is up, riding until the sun disappears over the horizon, and then continuing into the solitude of darkness.  And other times it may be just hanging out with other riders and doing a few miles together.

Thanks guys it was great sharing the road today.

21 thoughts on “Group riding

  1. Group rides can be fun, but I definitely need to be in the right frame of mind for one. I look at it as more of a social outing that includes riding than the other way around. You are bang on about the dynamics – it’s good to find a group who shares your riding style and ethics. And you are too right about the time expansion effect when you get in a group!

    • thanks. I agree – social outing that includes riding. I think that’s where I’ve come undone previously as I was expecting riding not standing around waiting.

  2. Nice write up, that low fairing shot is great too. It says they do a couple of multi-day rides each year on their site – maybe you could put a few suggestions forward – road of bones anyone?

    • Thanks. I like the low shot as you can capture a sense of speed with the blurred tar in the fore ground. Doing it around corners can freak the guy behind you as you are going around the corner one handed will holding the camera down low.

      That’d be a challenge on the 14.

  3. I had a similar experience this year, having decided to ride with a local group for the first time. I too was apprehensive, and stayed at the back to “feel them out.” As it turned out, a great bunch of folks, respectful of each other, the bikes they rode, and experience levels. Also ended up going places i hadn’t been before! I too, will be sharing the road with them again, as another extension of my personal riding experience.

  4. I’m not a fan of group rides but enjoy meeting new people. I like to stop at random stuff and in a group feel pressure to keep going lest others stop and come back for me but then regret not taking a photo of something later.

    • I agree, especially about taking photos. I think group riding (especially large groups) will only be a small part of my overall riding.

      Thanks for the comment.

  5. Interesting post. I’m much like you and usually ride in small groups of less than 6 but then once a year we have our Snowys ride where there can be up to 18. Those rides are completely different, much fun to be had but much less riding and lots of waiting for others to get their shit together.

    • I’ve not done the snowy ride even though I’m in canberra due to the number of riders. I’d much rather be in the snowies on a quieter weekend.

      • We don’t do the official snowy ride either as there are far too many riders on the roads on that weekend. We prefer a quieter weekend for riding in the snowies.

  6. i joined a group ride two times. and it is funny because you’ve described exactly what happened: “time expansion” and “short distance” ridden: ~250 km and ~360 km, and a bit more than 9h and ~12h respectively. they were fine.
    attending such occasions is ok once in a while, but a ride that stops too much becomes sorta boring – (for the sake of comparison: last month i rode ~1000 km in 12-13 hours…)

    • Yes if I’m doing 1,000km plus days it’s usually just me or with a couple of my friends who have the same riding style and appreciation of miles as I do.

  7. Agreed. I ride to ride, not be social. I am kinda anti-social. Not in a crazy sense, I just don’t like groups of people. I don’t go out where there are crowds even when off the bikes. And riding with others? Either they are too slow, too squidly fast, or they are too controlling and structured. “Sorry, been riding for a long time, no one is going to tell me what place in line I should be in. I’ll see you guys later.” And the varying levels of skill kind of freaks me out. It is like being out with the second level on track days and trying to avoid chaos with the newbies just coming in and the oldies trying to get OUT of the second group. I like riding with my honey and that is all. Maybe one other really good friend that rides like we do, haha. I know what my honey is going to do, he knows what I am going to do, no surprises…we have been riding together for 10 years, dirt, street and track–we KNOW each other. But get another person even near me and I wonder what they are going to do. They have different hand signals, different ways of doing things. Wow, I am anti social 😉

    • I hear you and agree.

      Most of my group riding is just morning or day rides and is more about the hanging out and socialising. If I want to ‘ride’ then it’s by myself of with a friends who I’ve ridden so many miles with that I just know what they are thinking.

  8. I rode in a group only once: eight bikes and a back-up vehicle through the gnarly Baviaanskloof wilderness area in South Africa. I was on a borrowed BMW F650 — with my girl on back. Most of the other guys were on big trail pigs – 1200 GSs, KTMs, Yams etc. There was a lot of testosterone and peacocking. All sorts of offers to have my girl ride pillion with them because how would we cope two-up on the F with such a rubbish pilot?
    So I was pleased, then, to thump past on one of the steep sections of rubble — two up — to find five bikes and their puce-faced riders toppled over in a deep rut.
    Nah, group rides are not for me. I don’t ride fast enough and I don’t like the thought of riding in any kind of formation.

    • yes I have certainly ridden in those sorts of groups. I don’t mind some group riding but I have to put myself in the right headspace for a group ride and just go with the flow.

      But saying that … it has to be the right group.

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