Let’s imagine that you have had your motorbike license now for a few months, maybe even a couple of years. You might be someone who commutes to work every day of the week, or the type of person who likes to get out onto the open road over the weekend and knock out a few hundred kilometers.
But the thing is, if you aren’t doing any riding as part of a group, then you are missing out on experiencing one of the best things that motorcycle riding has to offer.
If you are the sort of person who has grown up with many friends who ride motorbikes then odds are that this doesn’t apply to you. However, if you are the only one of your circle who enjoys life on two wheels then it can often be tough to branch out and discover like minded individuals to spend some quality time with. We aren’t talking here about joining a one percenter club!
The Internet has really changed the way that people interact with each other, both in good and bad ways. When it comes to finding people with similar interests the Internet has made things extremely simple. All that you need to do is to jump onto Google or your favorite search provider and enter “motorcycle forums” or something along those lines. Maybe even throw in the name of the city or country that you live in to narrow down the field.
Forums provide a place for discussion on all types of motorcycles and riding styles, from those who want to do track days, to those who wants to ride across the country carrying a swag.
Because of the sheer number of forums it is important to find the one that it right for you. You will quickly discover that they are not all created equal.
Introduce yourself and have a read over the general discussions for several weeks, work out if these sound like the sort of people who have the same interests as you do. Most forums will have a specific area where they discuss meeting up for rides and other events. It is important to find a forum who have a similar riding style or interests to you.
Some forums are laid back where members get along freely, many are full of banter between members. Just remember that this is just a bunch of people who are sitting behind keyboards. Quite often people are very different in real life, so it may be a case of meeting up with some forum members to determine if they fit in with your style. Also keep in mind that there are generally no age restrictions on forum posters, so the person with the superbike talking about flying along the freeways at 150 miles an hour might be a 12 year old who is yet to progress past a bicycle.
The first time that you ride with a new forum, or the first time that you ride with any new group in general, it is important to determine the riding style of each person. The people whom you choose to ride with are also those who will contribute to your safety on a ride. It is recommended to start towards the back of the pack until you have determined the speeds that people are riding at, and any risks that they are taking. You will soon find your natural place in the pack.
One of the best parts about riding in a group, any group at all, is that when it is time to stop for lunch or to fill up the gas tanks you can sit down with a bunch of people and talk about the roads traveled. Never again will you be sitting at a table for one, except by choice.
Once you have established that you enjoy riding with a particular group you might also like to attend bigger events, such as weekend trips away or even longer. Many forums will organize multi-day adventures for members. Just remember that most of these are “unofficial” and won’t be covered by any sort of insurance. Riders go at their own risk, which won’t be a problem for 99% of people, but it is worth being aware of this.
Just remember that there can always be a flip side to riding with groups. There are several around who will ride like idiots, often trying to show off to one another. More often than not they don’t have the skills to back up the speeds that they are travelling at and will put other people at risk. This may not bother some people, but if you have a family who depend on you and care about your own safety then it is worth being mindful of these types.
As ages of forum participants do vary significantly you might find yourself riding in a group of people with ages ranging from late teens up to retirement age and beyond. These are sometimes the best groups to be in as people of different ages often have many different views of the world. It won’t be a case of parents telling kids what to do. Just remember that everyone is there for the same reason, which is to have an enjoyable time.
I recommend for everyone to give group riding a chance, and to be an active participant on motorcycle related internet forums. This will really expand your riding experience as well as the interactions will open up your circle of friends and give you a whole extra level of knowledge.
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