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Recently myself and three other bikers decided to ride from N/E Arkansas to Key West , Florida. We would join with a fifth rider in Pensacola. Ages of group members was 69, 69, 65, 58, and 55. Bikes included a new Harley Trike, a Harley Deluxe, a Kawasaki Vulcan, a BMW RT, and a Can-Am Spyder. Three were very experienced riders and the other two were newbies. At a pre-trip meeting we discussed safe riding techniques for groups, as well as other issues such as speeds and frequency of stops.

Well, as some might expect, it didn't take long for "group dynamics" to set in. Long before the roughly 3000 mile trip was finished, most of the group splintered off to ride alone! I don't mean to say the overall trip wasn't fun...because it was. Simply stated, there were some strong personalities, and group consensus was seldom achieved.

Some issues included: Wanting to stop too often; wanting to ride too long; the speed demon; the slow-poke, the back roads lover; the interstates lover, the chronic picture taker, the argument started, the leader that made unsafe and unpredictable manuveurs, etc. etc.

I learned alot and enjoyed riding about half of the trip alone. Key West and places enroute are very special. It would be wise to take a few shorter trips with group members before embarking on a lengthy ride. On the bright side, there were no accidents and no breakdowns and most of us are still friends.
 

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VA Fender Bender
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Good and useful post. Glad there were no serious issues
 

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Harley Rider
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Although I ride with my HOG group quite often, I find it much more enjoyable to ride without other bikes. I can go at my own pace, see the sights and just enjoy the ride without haveing to worry about the guy in front or behind me. A lot less distracted.
 

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Good points, thanks for posting. I agree with TmikeX, fun to ride in groups every once and a while, but much more relaxing on a solo ride. It seems to me on long rides in a group you have to go into it with the idea it will be a longer ride than normal and you have to expect extra stops.
 

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Agreed, when I first got my bike, I did as many group rides as i could sometimes 8-9 guys and found the same issues, slow pokes, speeders, u turns out of nowhere. I now ride with a select few or alone and enjoy it a lot more. Also slowed down escorted runs too,although escorted things happen rides get very tight....sometimes have no idea who's riding right next to you
 

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I think group riding is a cool thing to do and feel more safe on hwy at times for visibility but there is a definite draw back. Just like everything else, people have different level of skills and likes and dislikes when it comes to riding.

I usually let those who I just met for a trip and I don't really know, go in front of me for at least several hundred miles to observe their riding habits especially if they are newbies. If the pace is too fast,too slow, too close , too uncomfortable for my taste, I drop out in a hurry. I value my life and time to enjoy a lot more over making some people I don't even know happy.

Riding in a motor cycle club with its known members tends to adhere to rules and etiquette more than just meeting up with people planning for summer vacation together tho... There is always a designated leader with a planned out routes and call signs and tend to keep reasonable pace for everyone in the pack.
 

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Fat Guy on the Ultra
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someone LOVES interstates?
Musta been the can am guy......

Same can be said about group vacations. Went on a vacation, total of 4 couples and we rented a huge cabin in the smokies. By day 4 everyone just went their own way as couples and not much was said a few weeks after. Then the air cleared and everythong was fine.

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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The Angry One
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Great subject.

I've found I like riding solo more than anything. Exact points as stated above. I have found 3 people I can ride with so far, that can actually maintain a constant speed, that is my biggest complaint. The guy in front has a very large role. Maintain the damn pace. If you cannot, fall back and let someone who can.

I live on cruise control, 6-7 mph over posted speed limit. Like it, love it, or get out of the way. I like to lead for that reason, setting the pace and MAINTAINING it.
 

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thanks for sharing finman. rode with the same 4 or 5 guys for several years. riding with folks you dont presents a lot of challenges. will keep your experience in mind as there a couple of new guys inviting themselves to ride with us
 

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Asylum Inmate
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Tried it a couple times.

First I piss off the trikes and sidecars as they belong in the back. Don't care which way the three wheels are configured, if it is wide and I cannot see hazards through it then it goes in the back.

Then I piss off the new riders and they go in front of the trikes and behind everyone with lots of miles.

Usually by then one of the "lets all get along" types starts trying to make either the trikes or the new riders feel better by trying to negotiate the positioning.

To which I always say NO as it is a safety thing.

Have not rode in a group in over a year now because of that type of stuff. I just don't have time for people that ride a trike and think it is just like a motorcycle, it has the same engine as a bike most times and that is where the similarities stop.

And I really have no patients for a person riding for a year and thinking they should be up front. Seen to much gear and blood from a newbie going down doing something stupid and taking the formation out.
 

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Village Idiot
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Sounds kind of like "Wild Hogs" minus the Del Fuegos...
 

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Village Idiot
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All kidding aside, I don't like riding in groups, unless I know the person and have ridden with them before and know that their riding style is close enough to mine for us to compliment each other on the ride. If it is a group ride with folks that I don't know (i.e. a charity event or some such thing), I'll just go to the back of the pack myself and keep my distance.
 

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Village Idiot
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Mississippi Cajun
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After riding in a few large groups and watching the position switching and other crazy stuff, I refuse to ride in groups like that much anymore unless I know and have ridden with everyone in that group. On my last month long joyride, I found myself leading 99% of it and set the cruize so that the GPS agreed with the speed limit (note: HD speedos seem to be off 3mph at 70). My group partners decided to lock on at 70mph on their speedos. One of them when leading tends to "yoyo" his speed and drives me nuts which is why I usually take the lead. At 3mph fater than the othes, it ain't long before they aren't in sight, but they seem to know when I pull off for a coffee break and we have only once been separated for any length of time.
 

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THE Yuppie Outlaw
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In my experience, although it shorter than a lot of you, Once you are on your bike and moving, you are solo anyway. You cannot converse with the others, you're not compromising on a radio station and you have complete control over your individual bike only.

I can tell you that if I had the chance to ride to Key West, I would not let my experience be compromised by another rider with a different outlook. For me, the trip to the Keys would be just as cool as being in the keys.

I think on a long trip like that, the most important thing is to have a specified ending point for the end of each day, and meet there.

All that said, I am the guy stopping every hour or two to take photos....:rofl:

Edit: I am assuming by your original post that you are not all close friends or relatives.....When I ride with family we are all very open to compromise and negotiation.
 

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The Angry One
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In my experience, although it shorter than a lot of you, Once you are on your bike and moving, you are solo anyway. You cannot converse with the others, you're not compromising on a radio station and you have complete control over your individual bike only.

I can tell you that if I had the chance to ride to Key West, I would not let my experience be compromised by another rider with a different outlook. For me, the trip to the Keys would be just as cool as being in the keys.

I think on a long trip like that, the most important thing is to have a specified ending point for the end of each day, and meet there.

All that said, I am the guy stopping every hour or two to take photos....:rofl:

Edit: I am assuming by your original post that you are not all close friends or relatives.....When I ride with family we are all very open to compromise and negotiation.
I only stop for photos when it's a "damn" moment....... meaning, when I see something that makes me say it, I stop for the photo opportunity. :laugh
 

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Mississippi Cajun
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JP, you hit it pretty much on the nose: before taking off, have pre-arranged place(s) to meet if you get separated. Don't depend on cell phones BTW. I tried that in Vegas a few years back and my riding partner got the voice mail 4 days later when we were on PCH.
 

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I did a charity ride last year for the first time in several years.. I remember why I stopped... way too much going on... on the gas and on the brake.. on the gas and on the brake... watch out for the guys coming around that stopped traffic at the intersection... now I pay my money and find my own to the destination...
 

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Padawan
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3K ride is a special ride. That "group" must be a very good one, not like the local rides we host, sometimes reaching 20+ bikes for a few hundred miles. A group that will ride 3K together should have that trust and fun bond in place; no amount of pre-flight briefings will help. Glad to hear that there were no sad outcomes to any of those :) All's well that ends well in my book :) Thanks for sharing.
 
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