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 First Group Ride

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Silver Wing Expert
Silver Wing Expert

Number of posts : 897
Age : 73
Location : Harveyville, KS
Points : 4468
Registration date : 2008-12-23

PostSubject: First Group Ride   Sat May 16, 2009 6:11 pm

Hi All,
Since I'm one of the relative newbies around here, I got a chance to take my first organized group ride today. I recently transferred my American Legion Post membership from our little rural town to a large Post in Topeka about 30 miles away.

That Post (#400), like many others, has a chapter of "American Legion Riders" which I also chose to join since I decided I needed to get out with some seasoned riders and get some hands-on experience. They classify themselves as a 'Riders Club' as opposed to a 'motorcycle club' for what reason I really don't know (I suspect a different set rules to follow). In addition, most of them are Patriot Guard riders which is another group I'll soon be joining, much like some of the other site members.

Anyway, long-story-longer, I had a 165 mile round trip involving going to the Post, forming up (seven of us with me, the newbie, tucked in behind the ride commander) and then heading northeast out of Topeka thru some very scenic pastoral countryside to one of the major lakes in our area (Lake Perry). Of all the years I'd been around this area, had never visited this lake before and it was quite a site.

After a pleasant, winding ride through the woods on the lake perimeter road, over the dam and through the marinas and a requisite pit stop, it was on to the back highways for a trip thru some more countryside, quaint little towns, isolated crossroads and our final stop in Holton, Kansas, at the "Bodacious BBQ" restaurant where we enjoyed our noon time meal. From there it was a straight shot back south (4-lane/70mph) to Topeka and, for me, another 30 miles back thru my own little countryside route.

All in all, it was a very good ride for my first time out. It was a bit chillier than I had planned on; about 55 degrees and a rough north wind. So from now on if the temp is anywhere below 70, I'm gonna dress much warmer. Also, had to chuckle when we were fixing to leave Holton; the ride commander seriously asked me if my SWing was good for 70 mph. I just grinned and said "Oh Yeah". :ROTF: Some folks just need more education.

Pictures?? No. I thought I'd just better concentrate on the process at hand. I definitely enjoyed the day though. Our group had my SWing, one big Kawasaki, and the other five were decked out Harleys.
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PostSubject: Re: First Group Ride   Sat May 16, 2009 9:12 pm

Glad you enjoyed your ride. I've done a fair amount of group riding with our local chapter of Southern Cruisers. Your position behind the leader was exactly where you should have been. The leader could keep an eye on you and the more experienced (we hope) riders behind you could easily adjust for changes in speed, direction, that sort of thing. It's customary for a group leader to go over route, hand signals, and to have an assistant leader riding as the last of the group, a-k-a the "tailgunner".
I've also ridden in group rides (with other owners of a specific motorcycle brand, not this one) where there were no rules, no structure, and where almost everyone seemed to have little regard for their fellow riders. Pretty scarey. When I sold that bike I had the dubious distinction of being the only one of the group who had not had a major accident and/or lost or broken any parts on my bike. I only rode with them once, as it was abundantly clear that there was a large difference in riding style.
I tend to avoid big group rides anymore, but once in a while they're fun. We usually make at least one toy run every year--usually the one in Asheville where the toys go to the local Salvation Army for distribution to kids in the county who might otherwise not have Christmas. It's the first weekend in December, and it's been everything from 50 degrees to snow flurries. Lots of layers of clothing are important not to mention electric gear if you have it. Fun, though, and a good cause. That event usually gets over 1500 bikes participating in it.
I have also had the pleasure of participating in the Trail of Tears Run (commemorates the removal of the Cherokee from Western North Carolina to Oklahoma) which starts in Chattanooga, TN, takes an overnight stop in Alabama, and for those hardy souls, can continue on from Alabama to Tallequah, OK the following day. That's an escorted ride, meaning that the local authorities monitor the ride, close down the side roads so there's no oncoming traffic, and provide assistance if needed. I don't even know how many thousand bikes are in that one. That's an amazing experience.
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PostSubject: Re: First Group Ride   Sat May 16, 2009 9:22 pm

Glad you first ride with the group was enjoyable. I just love my group in Richmond, IN. There are about 25 of us (I'm the only women) but when we ride we only get about 6-12 at a time which works out well. They do a good job sort of reviewing the safety rules, going over the route and we stop on a regular basis. Plus like your group we always find a place for lunch...and well you know then ice cream on the way home cheers I was the new one four summers before and had never ridden in a group. I remember the first ride...I dropped out. It was just too fast for me at that stage. I had ridden a lot of years but had just wandered on back roads by myself at 30-45mph. Suddenly they were up on state highways at 55-60 affraid Now of course I am used to that and just love the group ride, although probably 85% of my time I am solo.
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Silver Wing Guru
Silver Wing Guru

Number of posts : 1997
Age : 71
Location : Huntsville, AL
Points : 5545
Registration date : 2008-12-24

PostSubject: Re: First Group Ride   Mon May 18, 2009 7:47 am


Congratulations on a good first group ride. It is always fun to ride with a group. Our first big (over 800 bikes) group ride was with the cruiser crowd. We'd ridden several smaller rides (less than 80 - 100 bikes), but the big group was amazing. The big ride was mostly cruisers - nice thing about riding with them is it generally is a very short ride - less than 175 miles. Makes for an easy day.

You got a plum spot riding right behind the leader. Less accordian action there, and the very best spot for a new group rider. Glad you had a good time.
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