Motorcycle Riding Your Way: Part of the Pack or Lone Wolf
You can explore new places and have fun whether you’re riding your motorcycle with a group or going solo. Before you decide what riding style is best for you, it’s helpful to understand what to expect with both group and solo rides.
Riding in a Group
Riding with a group can be a great experience — helping you to build a sense of community with other riders and visiting places you may not have gone otherwise.
MotorcyclistOnline.com notes that traveling with a group may help to make you more noticeable to other motorists. Also, there is already help on hand if you have a mechanical issue or need other assistance.
If you have a group of friends who also ride, you can set up an informal ride to a particular destination. Even with a casual ride, you’ll need to be organized, says RideApart.com. Everyone should know the route, planned stops and hand signals. It’s also a good idea to have a ride leader and a “sweep rider” — who makes sure that no one gets separated from the group, says Motorbike Writer.
Riding Clubs and Organized Rides
A riding club or organized event can be a great way for riders to connect. Search online for a group near you or ask about motorcycle clubs at your local motorcycle dealer, says MotoSport.com. Meet with any group you’re interested in to be sure their riding style and skill match your own, says RideApart.com.
Tips for Group Rides
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers following tips for a successful group ride:
- Be prepared. Riders should arrive on time and ready to go. Have at least one first aid kit and toolkit with the group. Everyone should have a cellphone for emergencies or in case the group gets separated.
- Limit the group size. A group of 5 to 7 riders can be easy to manage. For larger groups, break into subgroups and keep the groups at least a few seconds apart.
- Use riding formations. Stagger riders on straight roads in good driving conditions. Ride single file on curvy roads, if visibility is low, when the road conditions are not good or when entering or exiting a highway.
A solo rider is sometimes known as a “lone wolf,” says TotalMotorcycle.com. There is a lot of freedom in riding solo. You choose the destination and the stops you’ll make along the way. You can switch things up without having to consider other riders’ needs or abilities.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind, however. A solo rider will be less visible to other motorists than a larger group, so you’ll need to take extra care on the road. You’ll also be spending nights and making rest stops on your own, so you may want to consider how long you truly want to be without a friend or family member for company.
Tips for Solo Rides
RoadRUNNER Motorcyle Touring and Travel offers the following tips for motorcyclists who are traveling on their own:
- Keep in touch. Let a friend or family member know your travel plans, and contact them at least once a day.
- Have ID, cash and credit cards on hand. Carry your driver’s license and emergency information with you. Always have some cash and a credit card with you, even if you aren’t planning to stop, just in case.
- Have a cellphone and locator device. Have a charged cellphone with you during the trip. You may also want to have a GPS tracking device so that you can be located in an emergency.
- Eat and stay hydrated. One of the easiest ways to take care of yourself on the road is to eat properly and get plenty of water. Even on a cool day, Motorbike Writer notes that being in the wind can make you vulnerable to dehydration. Have snacks and water with you, particularly in areas where rest stops may be sporadic.
- Use common sense. Keep a first aid kit with you. Avoid unsafe areas and try not to ride at night. And listen to your instincts telling you a situation isn’t safe.
Knowing the dynamics of group versus solo riding may help you decide how you like to ride. Whether you love the social aspect of a group ride or prefer the freedom of going it alone, get out there and enjoy the ride.
Originally published on May 24, 2012.