Riding with Friends

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Dear Lynda,

I want to ride with my friends but I’m afraid of slowing them down. Should I wait until I get better? ~Jen

Dear Jen,

When to ride with others, and which others to ride with, is a question that often arises, particularly with newer motorcyclists. The best answer? It depends.

First look at your own skills, comfort with the bike, and level of confidence with others in general. Feeling competent in handling your bike in the types of situations you expect to encounter can influence your decision, as can knowing the people you will be riding with. Is this a ride that is within your skill set or will you be pushing yourself into taking risks you aren’t prepared for? Are you the type of person who can let others know your needs, such as wanting to slow down in order to feel safe even if they are able to go faster? Would you be willing, and able, to find your own way home if it turns out to be a bad fit?

If it’s only your fear of being a ‘drag’ on the group, then perhaps having an honest conversation with them about their expectations, how they approach riders of differing levels, and what protocol they follow if it just isn’t working for you. Some groups break into smaller clusters to accommodate various skills, while others take a more ‘every rider for themselves’ attitude.

But what if, after exploring all the variables, it turns out to be a welcoming, accommodating, and encouraging group, and you realize it’s just the chatter in your own head that’s holding you back from having a great ride? If that’s the case, are you willing to push out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and go out and have a great time riding with friends?

-Lynda

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