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A fellow GW rider that I’d recently met invited me on a “benefit ride” scheduled for last Saturday. The reason for the ride was to raise money for a small boy in Vidor, Tx. Because the ride was for a good cause, and also because I wanted to meet some of the riders in my new area I decided to relax my rule against riding in large groups. I rarely ride in groups of more than 5 bikes, but I decided to make an exception this time.

We all met at a grocery store parking lot in Jasper, Tx, and gave our donation money to the guy in charge of the arrangements. The 10 or so Honda riders, a BMW rider, and a couple of Valk’s all somehow gravitated into one group. We were joined by one guy on a Harley Buell outfitted with fairing, saddlebags and a tourbox. He laughed and said he felt more at home with the tourers than the cruisers. The other 50 or 60 bikes were all V-twins ranging from custom choppers to rat bikes. I enjoyed kicking tires with some of the local riders.

The guy in charge said that they’d block the traffic to get us out of the parking lot, :wrong:but after that we’d be on our own at stop lights and intersections. Our group decided to bring up the rear to try to get away from some of the noise. So, kickstands up at 11:00 AM, and a few “road captains” blocked traffic for several minutes as we exited the grocery store parking lot in the middle of town amid 130 ear-splitting decibels from the open drag pipes. For some reason plans changed, and at every town intersection, stop light, etc. for the next 60 miles “road captains” blocked traffic, angering hundreds of motorists while we “bikers” imposed our will upon them. We also got caught up in the “yo-yo” effect, as we riders in the rear sometimes had to ride at speeds up 90 mph as the formation lengthened and contracted. Anyway, we finally made it to the boy’s home in Vidor, where a tearful Mother thanked people for their help, and we slowly broke off and went our own way.

In the future I will merely donate the ride fee for a good cause if I want to support it, but this was my last group ride. Large groups seem to ride as if they were all conjugal twins joined at the hip. I’ll not ride with those who choose to block traffic, and I also believe that large groups trying to stay together are a danger both to themselves and others. The people with whom I occasionally ride feel pretty much the same way. We have a 5 bike limit. If there are 5 bikes, we ride together, but if there are 6 bikes, we break in two groups. We try to stay loosely together, but we all know where we’re going, and we don’t become a rolling roadblock. Going through towns, the leaders will slow down or stop at the edge of town to wait for those who got caught up in traffic. I have a CB, so that makes it even easier if one of the other bikes also has a CB. For what it’s worth, our group sometimes includes another Goldwing, a couple of VTX’s, a Fat Boy, a Dyna, and a Harley Dresser (not sure of the model).

I guess I’d like to be part of the large group as long as I’m not forced to actually ride in formation with the large group. Maybe I’m as weird as my wife says. I would like to support a Patriot Guard group, but I don’t know how their ride missions function. I’ll have to look into that.


Glen
 

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I have done these type of benefits before and they are illegally blocking roads unless they have authorized police escorts. I too do not participate in these anymore. Flame suit on.
 

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Hmm
I actually Agree with Both of ya's
I much prefer 2 to 4 friends to ride with or I'll just ride alone.
Go My Own Pace and where I want.
I did the toy run ONCE in Austin.
Never again. Going down the road at 10 mph one minute and over a 100 the next.
Did A Parade once too. That mistake won't happen twice.
 

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Large groups are dangerous, while I am not as skilled as most, I know MY limits, the guy in back of me, who knows what the heck he knows.. I ride W A Y in back or not at all!!

Matt(BCNV) ;)
 

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Don't care for group rides, 3 or 4 bikes if I how they ride, if not you'll see me in the back, way back.
 

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Is this a Texas thing or what??
I totally agree, don't know if the guy in front of you has
ridden a week or 20 years'
I never worry about the experience of the guy in front of me. It's the guy behind me that I fear.:lol:
 

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I hear this a lot. And yep I have rode with groups that I would not ride with again.

Does not have to be. It can be very fun, safe and a great time.
We do not block traffic period.
All of us have CB, well most of us, those that do not go in the middle somewhere.

Leader leads, tail gunner controls the back, need to move the group to another lane, tail gunner moves over first, brings the group over.

Leader does not speed, and if separated at a light, simply slows down and or if we really get hung up he pulls over in a safe spot. Next man with CB in split takes over as leader, till we are matched up again.

No need to sweat blocking traffic, or lights, or 4 way stops. No need to run yellow lights, or speed, or pass to catch up with the pack.

It can be lots of fun, and very safe. We are all experienced old farts though, might be part of it. Wherever we are going will still be there when we get there, getting there safely is the goal.

Kit
 

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Very true. and well said. I led a ride that just had about 8 bikes but we have the same rules.
I have ridden in big groups ie 900plus bikes, while it was fun it was also nerve racking and it ticked alot of people off in the process. That is why I will ride with one group of my friends, I know how they ride and how they will react if a emergency arises.
Jordan:popcorn:


I hear this a lot. And yep I have rode with groups that I would not ride with again.

Does not have to be. It can be very fun, safe and a great time.
We do not block traffic period.
All of us have CB, well most of us, those that do not go in the middle somewhere.

Leader leads, tail gunner controls the back, need to move the group to another lane, tail gunner moves over first, brings the group over.

Leader does not speed, and if separated at a light, simply slows down and or if we really get hung up he pulls over in a safe spot. Next man with CB in split takes over as leader, till we are matched up again.

No need to sweat blocking traffic, or lights, or 4 way stops. No need to run yellow lights, or speed, or pass to catch up with the pack.

It can be lots of fun, and very safe. We are all experienced old farts though, might be part of it. Wherever we are going will still be there when we get there, getting there safely is the goal.

Kit
 

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I did one Patriot ride. I liked the mission but hated the ride. I rode in the back and had a guy on a trike who was the tail gunner ride with his front wheel up my tail pipe most of the time trying to get me to ride about 5 ft. behind the guy in front of me. Most miserable 50 miles of riding in my life.:shock:
 

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I do this ride every year....it's called Rumble thru the Tunnel...it is for
our local military...thousands of bikes , admittedly it's not to bad , but you can't help but cringe at times and the stuff people do...sheesh !

Last rear 3-4 people went down...causing miles of backed up traffic.



Fortunatly we have police escort....



This is the kinda stuff you see... This looks real safe at 60-70 MPH

Notice the lack of gear...



I take my son every year...but I'm careful ,lot of idiots on these rides.
 

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This is the kinda stuff you see... This looks real safe at 60-70 MPH

Notice the lack of gear...

:shrug:
I'm lost with this statement?
lack of gear?
 

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Riding in large groups brings with it another level of risks. After riding the Make-A-Wish ride here in our community a couple of times (a couple thousand bikes) I swore off larger group rides. Like others that have mentioned, when I am exposed to a good cause with a financial need, I will donate. Sometimes I will even go to the kickoff event early, hang out and kick tires and talk to other riders. Once I've made my donation and everyone has left the staging area, I will then go take a nice ride with some friends. I have found a Toy Run in a mountain community that handles things very well. People ride in from all over in various size groups to a staging area and from there Santa leads a low speed parade through town where all of the town folks line the streets and wave their appreciation. The parade ends at the fair grounds where people donate their toys, food and funds and leave at their leisure. I have found this event to be very safe and look forward to participating every year. YMMV:lol:
 

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The only group I ride with is the PGR. Since I've been doing it so long I know a lot of the other riders, although there has been a time or two I got frustrated and nervous.
 

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Group Rides

There are a few group rides around here, they all raise money for good causes. Everyone meets and signs up about the same time, but groups leave out on their own scattered over 1-2 hrs and come back same way. I dont recall seeing any large groups or anyone blocking traffic.

Most all Patriot Guard escorts go from funeral home to cemetary. Usually less than 5 miles or so in our area. You spread out till you feel comfortable, no one pushing anyone to stay in formation. Once you get to the cemetery you will usually form a flag line and hold American Flags. Most all break up there and return on their own. I know some areas have longer escorts seeing troups off and these may go 50 or more miles. I have not been involved with one of those escorts.
 

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If you guys hate riding in large groups and blocking traffic, then don't ride the Trail of Tears. I did it last year and really enjoyed it. It is police escorted in every town along the entire route. Also supported by local EMT services. Very well organized in my opinion. But, I couldn't help wondering how long the folks at the blocked intersections had to wait. It must have been forever. I think it is well advertised and alternate routing provided around the route wherever possible to prevent people from getting stuck. What did amaze me was the hundreds of people who set up along side the route, had picnics, and made a fun day out of watching the seemingly unending line of bikes drive by. Of course, with such a large number of riders the speed ranged from dead stop to about 80 at different points.

I do the large majority of my riding alone, so when I do ride in groups I tend to enjoy the novelty of it and don't mind the hiccups associated. Ride slow/fast, stop/don't stop, eat/don't eat...I really don't care. I just enjoy the ride.
 

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"I don't do parades" and I've never and never will do the Rumble thru the Tunnel. No way Jose. More than half those people can't ride and shouldn't even own a motorcycle. JMHO:shrug:
 

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I ride every Sat with a group. Usually the same group. We know who likes to go fast(up front) and who likes to take their time(in back) we ride staggered formation . After about 7 bikes we like to split the group. Again I don't like to do the big mega group toy run rides. I will give $$$ AND DO MY OWN RIDE
 

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I don't understand how driving in bumper to bumper traffic could be fun. Whether the "traffic" is a thousand cages or a thousand bikes, it's all traffic to me.
 
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