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.