Recently this question came up in a group of riding friends and I thought I’d share it with you all. My main goal here has been information sharing and I think this certainly fits. We talked about questions you would ask before signing up on a motorcycle tour or joining a new riding group.
We all bring our past experiences to any group situation and with that comes our assumptions and expectations. Assumptions about how a group will ride (or not ride) and interact. But everyone brings their own assumptions and expectations to the situation. What are the chances they all mesh? Highly unlikely I’d guess!
Ask about riding order – is there one? Does it change? Is there a designated sweep? Is that always the same person? What about safety – do people ride side by side or staggered or something else? Is it acceptable to pass another rider? If so, under what circumstances? Does each rider keep the one behind them in view? What about if there is a mechanical breakdown or an accident? Does the whole group stay together until it’s resolved or is the affected rider on their own to sort it out? Or something else, such as the group will wait an hour, or until help arrives? If it turns out that this group isn’t for you, are you comfortable riding the rest of the trip (or day) on your own? Also, what is the protocol if you do decide to ride with a certain group and then choose to head off on your own? Is there a group leader to notify? If not, I would think seriously about this group because how will they know if you left or if you got into trouble!
Asking these questions ahead of time and listening carefully to the answers should give you a good understanding of the group you’re considering. If you hear something that makes you uncomfortable, ask more questions or think carefully about proceeding. Each group has it’s own way of being together and not all will be a fit for every rider! I believe strongly in ride your own ride, but I also like to know what I can (or cannot) expect from the rest of the group for before I head out with them.
Most of all, be safe & keep the shiny side up!