Saturday, August 16, 2008

Riding Means Different Things to Different People

Most riders I talk to will tell me that they like to ride a lot, and they often complain about others not wanting to ride more often.

But it's often just a difference of opinion on what "riding a lot" means to you.

On our riding club forum, we had this guy from another club introduce himself and offer an invitation to ride with them on an upcoming ride. They wanted to ride to The Hideout, and then to the Oasis, a couple of biker bars in north San Diego County. This ride looked to be about 80 miles round trip.

This guy talked about how he was so frustrated that so many people don't ride their bikes that often, and how he just loves to ride "a lot". Then he went on to describe some of the riding that he and his club guys do.

Since I've never ridden with them, I can't really know for sure how often they ride, or how far they ride, or if they do more freeways than twisties.

But the sense I got was that they love to ride to destinations, as opposed to riding for the sake of riding. The examples they gave were either riding to specific bars, or travelling to specific rallies. For all I know, they took the freeways there, and for all I know, they only ride 100 miles each time.

I met another guy awhile back, who hooked with me through my Meetup group. I had planned a ride along Big Pines Hwy, and then over to Boquet Canyon Rd, and then to Little Tujunga Canyon Rd. These are three very scenic, and very twisty roads, with a total mileage of about 300 miles. It also included a stop for lunch at the Rock Inn, a popular biker hangout.

Anyways, he showed up on his Big Dog factory custom, with this ridiculously long rake, and ridiculously fat rear tire. I knew for sure he wasn't going to handle the twisties. I reminded him there was going to be a ton of tight twisties on this road, but he said it was no problem because he rides the twisties all the time.

So off we went, and as soon as we hit the twisties, he kept drifting further behind. I slowed it down, but he was still drifting back.

After that ride, he hasn't returned to ride with me.

I thought that he would be riding with me some more, because he kept boasting about how he rides his Big Dog so much, and that he can't seem to find anyone who wants to ride often as he does. And since he said he rides the twisties "all the time", I figured we'd be riding together again.

Obviously, his idea of riding is way different than mine. I think his idea of twisties are roads where you can still ride 50mph and not drag your pegs, and I think his idea of riding is more like 100 miles round trip, with a few stops in between.

Differnt strokes for different folks.

So when I hear someone talking about how they love to ride a lot, I take it with a grain of salt, and wait to see exactly what they're talking about. There's riding just for the love of riding, and then there's riding for the destination.

Maybe it would be more correct for someone to say, "I love riding to the bar a lot".


  1. Heh, what's funny about this post is that usually the ones that complain about not having anyone to ride with don't really ride. So I completely understand what you are saying here. Who says you can't go out and ride alone? Do you really need to have someone to ride with?

    If I have someone to ride with great, but I'll be riding anyway, with or without another rider. If you can't ride without someone coming along, it says alot about why you ride somehow, which points to what you said about destinations, bar hopping and rallies. There is a huge difference between riders who love to ride and riders who are in love with the idea of riding.

    I don't care if I am going to work, going to the store, taking a sunday ride or raising hell out in the badlands for days at a time, it's almost always on the bike.

    Come to think of it, I have never heard a hardcore rider ever complain about not having someone to ride with? Just doesn't happen.

    See, you made me think again. Thanks for the post.

  2. Great post.

    Not only is it "I love riding to the bar," for guys with those raked out customs its also about sitting at the bar to see how many, "Hey Dude...nice bike!" comments you can rack up. I'm like most of us; I take pride in my bike and sure, it's nice to get complimented on it. But, what good is it, no matter how "nice" it is, if it's not practical to handle the road?

    I love riding to just about anywhere. A stop at a biker friendly place for food and bevs is almost always a part of the plan. Ending up at the bar happens a lot too. I love to ride to find roads I haven't been down before, like on yesterday's ride with my Chapter. We did a good 90 miles of back roads just to go for a 10 dollar hamburger at Red Robin, and I really enjoyed it. I don't have to be always dragging my pegs to enjoy a ride, but sure, some twisties are always fun.

    I admit I'm not a big solo rider. I do like to go off on my own sometimes, but I prefer riding with my friends. Like Dave said, even if it's to the bank or the store, or whatever, I enjoy riding. I enjoyed my longest ride so far last month when we rode to Maine. I'm looking forward to the 1,100+ miles each way back and forth to Milwaukee in a little over a week.

    While your buddy is polishing his Big Dog, I'm going to be getting some more road grit on my boots, and I'm fine with that. For me, that's what riding means.

  3. I went riding with a buddy this weekend, and took him on one of my regular routes up Angeles Forest Hwy, over to the Rock Inn, and back down Bouquet Canyon. About 1/3 of the way through we were stopped at a light in Palmdale and I asked if he wanted to stop because I thought his girlfriend might need to stretch her legs for a sec. He says "Sure" and pulls into a Starbucks, where we end up sitting and drinking Fraps for nearly an hour -- and this is after we started the ride with a Starbucks stop. Me, I want to ride. He apparently just wants to ride to Starbucks.

  4. My HOG chapter just wants to ride to get ice cream!!!! We might ride a few hundred miles away to get it, but somehow there is always ice cream involved! LOL

  5. I've sort of evolved my riding from just riding for the pure joy of it to more focused destination rides. In fact most of my riding now a-days is just to and from work. For a million riders there may be a million reasons to ride. It takes all kinds and I can relate to them all. Well, except owning a "Big Dog" and posing at the cantina.

  6. Posing at the cantina? Maybe that's where the term poser comes from? Now I finally know what a poser really is?

  7. A "poser" is a wannabe. Someone who's trying to be like someone else, or something else.

  8. I just found this site/post and think it is great. I ride like I golf, with a few close friends (BIL,ex-boss, and a smallish group on Sunday mornings for a breakfast run) that I know how they will behave. Riding from bar to bar seems to be the big group activity everyone talks about - no thanks.


    "My HOG chapter just wants to ride to get ice cream!!!! We might ride a few hundred miles away to get it, but somehow there is always ice cream involved! LOL

    By Anonymous mrs rc, at August 18, 2008 6:30 PM"

    Now that is riding I am interested in :):)


About Steve

A vagabond who hauls a motorcycle around the country in a toy hauler, earning a living as a website developer. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, craft beer, and/or public nudity. (Read more...)