| 6/30/2009 11:33:55 AM


“It is a significant act of trust to ride with someone else. You assume responsibility for each other’s safety.” 

The above quote is from Richard Stewart as published in Cycle Canada cc First Person, March 2007. 

Yes and yes again! I have not given this a lot of thought lately as I ride alone most of the time. There is a static comfort level achieved when riding alone, and then there is the complex pleasure of sharing the ride with others. I truly enjoy the whole motorcycle experience when shared; the rides, the roads, the bike chats, coffee stops, camping… but it doesn’t often happen for me – so I cheerfully head down the road and sing to myself! 

Finding a compatible riding partner is somewhat like successfully locating mate – and just about as difficult.  And yes, it does boil down to trust. But there is more! Awareness of your partner at all times and sympathetic riding style doesn’t begin to cover all of the pitfalls that can turn a good road into a bad ride with the wrong company.  There are the obvious factors: type of bike, style of riding, choice of routes, speed, bladder capacity… the list is long and complex. But over and above the physical parameters of the riders and styles, there is a need for sympathetic vibes between riders -- A synergy of sorts that eases the individual load and makes for a truly shared ride. It is magic when it happens but can be misery, and tending to unsafe, when it does not happen. 

If I am just out for a short Sunday ride with a known route or destination, there is no problem. Faster riders get there first, more leisurely ones later, and those with questionable on-road behaviour that frightens me completely – I simply avoid. But what of that long-planned trip?   Do you really know how safely your friend rides, or how compatible your riding styles are over the long haul? I’ve heard some horror stories of tension and angst and anger – all because the riders were doing their own thing along the way and riding compatibility suffered. 

7/2/2009 10:27:45 AM

Allison; You have captured completely the feeling of those of us who love the road, but have trouble with finding the right balance while riding with others. Short rides to test needed paramenters have proven most effective for me before venturing out for many days or even longer. What I have found is the chemistry myst be such that each lets the group or partner know hat their priorties are and where compromises can be effected. Once this is achieved, you have a great opportunity to really enjoy all the elements of the road. Keep riding and writing. Ride swiftly and safe. EJ