Motorcycle group riding is an amazing part of motorcycling in general. Not only are you possibly riding with friends or family that you know – but you’re also going to be meeting a lot of new riders as you ride around and get more accustomed to the community as a whole.
For new riders, group riding can be intimidating and can be misunderstood at times. I wanted to write this post to highlight when to recognize your own limits and how to ride in a group effectively.
Learning To Ride Within Your Limits
For those of you that are newer to the motorcycling scene, you may have run into a group that you either cannot keep up with you maybe you’re not used to or simply aren’t interested in doing stunts or riding in more “fun” ways (By fun, I mainly mean reckless.)
Look, there are types of bikes made specifically to romp around on and it’s an absolute blast to pull of some dank high nooner wheelies and test the limits of the bike. Even for bikes that aren’t made for romping around heavily on – it sure is fun to test what your bike can do.
However, there is a time and a place for it and when it comes to group riding specifically – you need to take note of your limits and take care not to force yourself into different levels of riding that you might not be ready for.
What do you mean by this?
If you are a consistent rider then you are going to meet new riders. That is inevitable.
Even if you have some social anxiety going on or what have you – you’ll totally be meeting other riders. It’s part of the world of motorcycling! It’s fun to meet other riders.
There are going to be extremely opinionated riders and there are going to be riders that are heavily experienced (or, at times, heavily careless – honestly.)
So how does this correlate to learning how to ride within your limits?
If you find yourself getting into a group of riders that are constantly speeding and zipping around or they’re constantly pulling wheelies on and off the interstates/highways/city streets – and you aren’t used to that or plan on riding like that – then you need to recognize your limits and back off.
If it’s a group that has some respect, they’ll wait for you to catch back up. Or if you have a concern with the way they ride then you can definitely voice your concern or go on your own cruise and hit them up later on letting them know that you weren’t able to keep up.
Now if you get some backlash and get people that are playing the “comparison game” wanting to let you know how much better of a rider they are or if they’re calling you a “baby” for not wanting to zip around that fast or doing stunts… Then straight up – ignore em’!
It can be dangerous to not ride within your own limits, especially if you’re an inexperienced rider. You could try and compete or ride just like everyone else and end up on the pavement.
Self awareness is important when you’re in a group ride. If there are parts of you that are uncomfortable riding with a certain group then you need to trust your gut. Voice your concerns or find another group.
How To Meet New Riders
What if you don’t have some friends/family that also rides? How should you go about finding a group that you’ll genuinely enjoy riding with?
There are a bunch of riders out there and there are plenty of ways to reach out and meet them.
One way you can go about it is to scope out some of your local motorcycle shops! At least in my area, there is a shop that does a group ride every Tuesday.
If you can connect with some of the local motorcycle shops in your area and see if they do group rides then you’ll meet even more riders as you ride along!
You can also always use social media. Facebook is probably the easiest platform for finding a group that rides around in your area but you can also search through hashtags on Instagram for your local city and words that correlate with riding.
From there, it’s a simple private message or a post in a group to see what’s up!
If you struggle with meeting with people, I get it. I want to encourage you to get out there are meet some cool people because when you find your riding tribe… It’s almost always a great time to ride.
It’s YOUR Ride, Not Theirs
Whether it’s from meeting new riders or hearing out the opinions of those you’ve been riding with… You have to remember one thing.
It is in fact YOUR motorcycle, not theirs!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten “flack” while riding around on my Ninja 250.
Just because it’s not a superbike or a heavier, faster bike in general then I guess that means that I’m not a real rider to them…
NEWS FLASH – I enjoy, at an extremely high level, riding that thing. The blue color looks great, it’s exceedingly fun to ride and it’s perfect for the way I ride!
I’ve also rode on heavy hog bikes, faster sport bikes and dirt bikes so I understand the different levels of riding – and they’re all also great! But just because your bike isn’t ideal to someone doesn’t mean it’s not ideal for you.
I was inspired to write this post up because I’ve experienced riders treating each other in these ways both in person and through other people’s stories.
Those riders that might be poking fun at you and your ride simply have nothing better to do. They’d rather spew out garbage remarks rather than enjoy every bike for the piece of magnificent engineering that it is.
The take away from this – There are too many stories of riders making fun of or declaring that your bike isn’t worthy of being on the road. If you don’t experience that from others, speak out about it if you ever notice it.
If someone is making fun of your bike for whatever reason… Just remember that it’s your bike, not theirs.
We don’t ride to show off or be better than someone. We ride because we love to ride.
For when people comment on my 250cc bike I keep in mind that I’m having just as much fun for a fraction of the price of their 1000cc track bike… No shame here!
It’s YOUR ride, not THEIR ride.
Common Signals For Group Riding
Let’s say you have a group or you’ve found your ideal group and want to know what’s going on when they throw a fist in the air or some otherwise unknown signal.
You’ll definitely want to talk with your riding group about signals that they use specifically as some groups will default to their own signals or maybe you have a signal you like to use. Make sure the group knows what’s up with the common signals!
Don’t know riding signals? Shame on you, because that likely means you didn’t take the MSF riding course or didn’t pay attention…
BUT… here’s a cool gif anyway to show you some of the most common ones. 😉
Follow through with these, practice and preach them to the choir. You never know, it could sometime be the difference between a living or dead rider. They are seriously important to use!
Enjoy The Ride
Last and certainly not the least important point to group riding – enjoy yourself and enjoy the ride.
Group rides are 100% more enjoyable when you are riding within your limits, you have compatible riders that are riding with you and you are practicing being safe and looking after each other on the road.
There is a time and a place to have the fun you want to have on a motorcycle… The most important thing is to ensure that you’re staying safe out there and truly enjoying the ride.
So, do you have a consistent group that you ride with?
Have you been having any struggles towards finding your riding tribe?
Let us know in the comments below!
What’s up! I’m Colton, the main guy behind Moto Gear Knowledge. Gear has always been my #1 priority when it comes to riding.
I share my experiences regarding gear and anything else moto related with you here. 👍