Zen – Part 1

Ideas set forth in this series of articles are personal in nature and do not reflect the opinion of any particular club, any state law (unless specified) nor the opinion of that State Trooper who just wrote you a ticket for some seemingly unnecessary reason.

For a biker the only thing cooler than seeing a long procession of bikes on the road is being part of that procession. Riding as a group has innumerable advantages and disadvantages. Advantages range from development of an “Esprit-De-Corps”, group or club cohesion, personal protection, and a grand show of support for a particular event, cause or rally. The list could go on and on, but I think we would all agree, regardless of the premise, a group run is an awesome sight. The more bikes there are the better the show.

However, I believe disadvantages are more numerous than the advantages. Perhaps “disadvantage” is not the correct word here; let’s refer to them as “obstacles” or possible “hazards.” It can be said the more riders you have the more obstacles come into play. This is a true statement for no other reason than the accumulation of different riding styles and varied levels of experience. The people drawn to riding are a different breed; a little more independent, a bit more self-reliant, and slightly more capable of handling adversity than the average person. Perhaps not a hardened rule 100% of the time, but I choose to believe it is the case more often than not. Take all these self-reliant, independent people and put them together and the mix can be precarious at best. Some riders enjoy the leisurely ride down a winding road with the occasional stop at a scenic view while others enjoy pushing the limits of the envelope; going from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

While riding with a group, all personal riding preferences need to take a back seat for the benefit of the group. A maneuver you do every day and feel comfortable with could create confusion with other riders or create an unsafe environment. Some riders prefer the 2 second rule while others use a 4 second rule, still others live on the edge and use the 0.5 second rule. Some ride side by side, others prefer staggered. Some clubs have set rules and are unwavering with regard to these rules. Some understand defensive riding, but feel offensive riding is more fun.

If you ride because it is an economical mode of transportation then you may not understand the premise of these articles. If you ride because it is your passion, your way of life, your reason for existing then it is possible you will find these articles boring because all this information has rolled through your head already while riding that endless road. I would submit to my fellow riders that thinking while riding is all there is to do; that and look for State Troopers. I’ll not bore you with group hierarchy or hand signals; these are, for the most part, universal across this great nation of riders. What I will try to convey to you is a set of ideas that will not only give you a moment of pause (hopefully), but also try and set the stage for a needed sense of urgency for the safe and organized group ride.

More to follow….

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