I tend to avoid group rides. When I ride with others, typically I prefer to keep the groups small and know the others and their abilities. I’ll ride to hell and back (have, actually) with my good friends, but larger groups are another matter.
One of the reasons I prefer not to ride in groups is that riders that would otherwise be perfectly safe, will do stupid things to stay with the group. They’ll run lights, buzz through stop signs, ride out of their comfort zone or ability and so forth.
One way to mitigate this is to have a pre-ride meeting…where ALL participants get a map to where they’re headed so they know they can get there, group or no. Proper organization of a group will result in each person watching the rider behind them…if that rider gets caught at a light/etc, you continue on with the group until they turn…then the last bike stops and waits at the turn for the rest of the bikes to catch up. The new “rear” bike should do the same at the next corner etc…
So much for groups.
Individual riders sometimes do stupid things when they encounter another bike as well.
Yesterday as I was headed to work I got to see this in action. I hit the highway, zoomed up the ramp, and merged with traffic. Several cars behind me was another bike, running in the inside right lane in what looked like a safe manner.
I changed lanes, accelerated, and changed lanes again until I was running with the fast traffic in the left lane.
I commute here daily. I have a very powerful and stable machine to do so on. I know the traffic and patterns and ride them to the edge of my ability…every single day. I’ve been doing this for years. It results in some skills.
In my mirrors I see this rider doing his best to keep up. He’s doing stupid things.
Why? He’d been riding his own ride when I got on the highway, why change just because there was another bike? His machine wasn’t ideal for this. It was obvious his skills weren’t either. He was not riding with me. He doesn’t even know me. He’s got nothing to prove to me…or even if he thinks he does, I’ve not been impressed by stupid bike tricks since I was … oh I don’t know…three years old or something. Why try to keep up?
I tweaked the throttle and rapidly outdistanced him, hoping he’d slow back down to his own ride.
Ride your own ride. We’re out here because we’re independent, yes?
Ride your own ride. We’ll all be safer that way.