Sunday, January 18, 2009

Changing Someone's Riding Plan

My friend Mike is just getting started in homebrewing, and suggested to our riding club that we do a ride to the homebrewing store in San Diego.

Part of the lure for this ride is that the homebrewing store is connected to a brewery that offers tastings. Only a few of us could resist.

He had worked out a route that would take us there, and afterwards, lead us along some scenic canyon and mountain roads to a restaurant in Ramona that he had heard about on television. Then, some more twisty riding back home.

We got to the homebrewing store too early! They opened at 12:00pm, and we were there at 11:30am. My buddy Brian suggested we keep on riding, perhaps going out to the coast and seeing the ocean.

Since I did a lot of growing up in San Diego, I led everyone out to the national cemetery on Point Loma. There we could take in some fresh ocean air and gaze at the city skyline, and see the tombstones of soldiers who served in the Spanish American War. We probably wasted about an hour total.

So we finally got back to the homebrewing store around 12:30pm. Then we all got several rounds of beer samples, and talked to great lengths over the differences between centennial hops and columbia hops, how roasted malt gives a porter its burnt flavor, and how aerating your fermentation works better than just shaking it. Stuff I don't totally comprehend.

It was around 1:30pm by the time we got out of there.

And my friend Brian, who also happens to be a homebrewer, had been wanting to visit the Coronado Brewing Company, and I know they happen to serve up great food. And by this time we were all really hungry. The ride to Ramona for lunch was still another 90 minutes away. Just didn't want to wait that much longer for food.

So he and I convinced Mike to change his plans by having lunch at Coronado Brewing Company. He agreed. So off we went, up and over the Coronado Bay Bridge, where we got stellar views of the San Diego Bay, and then over to the Coronado Brewing Company where we drank more craft brews, and stuffed our bellies rotten.

By the time we got out of there, it was WAY too late for us to do the route back home that Mike had originally planned.

I remember a few years ago when we did something like this before, where one guy worked out what he thought was a great route through some great roads, only to have the rest of us decide to change his plans, just because it sounded good. And that got that guy pissed off. Just pissed him off that we would suggest doing something different from what he had planned.

So today, I chose to compliment Mike for suggesting that we visit the homebrewing store, because if it weren't for that we would not have visited a national cemetery, enjoyed the great views of the city skyline, breathed in some ocean air, rode over the Coronado Bay Bridge, and then finish it off with some great food and beer at the Coronado Brewing Company. And then I apologized for trashing his original ride plan.

Mike seemed to take it really well.

Not that Mike's original plan wasn't good. It sounds really good actually. It's just that sometimes things work out much differently in reality than when you plan it out in your mind.


  1. Sounds like a great ride, and as I sit here looking out at yet another 4 to 6 inches of fresh snow (we got 6 inches yesterday), I find myself having a strange craving for a 6 pack of micro-brew.

    You've presented yet another interesting subject. It sounds like your Riding Club is a bit less formal in comparison to how we conduct rides in my HOG Chapter. I don't mean to suggest we do it better, just differently. From one point of view, it looks like a guy getting all bullshit over his ride plan being changed is a bit childish. Then again, it depends on the circumstances. If I spent a lot of time planning a great ride, I might get a little ticked if everyone wanted to blow it off.

    When I lead the Chapter as Road Captain, I plan the ride beyond an idea. I consider the logistic realities of X number of bikes traveling X number of miles, who all need to pee, smoke, get coffee, eat lunch, and perhaps even gas-up at some point. I set the start time of the ride based on when the lunch stop will be open by, and how long it will take to get there. Careful plan = no grumbling from the riders.

    Being anal doesn't always work out though. One day, I showed up for a ride, and there ended up not being a Road Captain. It was a rare snafu where they never assigned an R.C. They said, "We'll figure it out the morning of the ride...someone will take it." Nobody did. Of course, I ended up being the only R.C. who showed up, so everyone's looking at me saying "Guess you're it."

    Ironically, it was a ride to a brewing company! The problem: I had no clue how to get to it. This was when we all had to talk it over to figure out what to do. One guy had a GPS on his Ultra Classic, so he said he could get us there. I said fine, I'll ride Wing and YOU lead. When we got there, it wasn't opening for another hour. The ride time was too early - a result of poor planning.

    Again, we did a pow-wow. The guy with the GPS knew how to get to a nice little eatery in CT that we ride to sometimes. I was all for it as the Chapter had actually done a ride there the prior month and I'd missed it. So the ride destination changed completely, and it all worked out fine in the end. All riders urged me to talk to the Activities Officer and Head Road Captain to strongly discourage allowing any more rides to be set up with no Road Captain.

    Since then, that hasn't happened again. One of the great things about being a Road Captain is that the others can't change my ride plans. I have the final word on all aspects of the ride, and I do think that's needed to prevent arguments. On the other hand, when odd circumstances pop up, sometimes you just have to change to suit them, and it's better to do that without getting upset.

    When you're riding with your friends if the plan HAS to change, it's more out of need, than out of spite. It's not a perfect world. Sorry this was a bit long.

  2. I on the otherhand prefer to travel without a plan. I like to ride to rallies and HOPE they have a room. (you can always find a place to sleep). I do planning at work so ride time is a chance for me to not plan. Just my style.

    Now if I was responsible for a big group that would be different. Probably why I ride with 3-4 folks max.

  3. Joker: Yes, it's quite informal of a riding club, with no road captain, no tailgunner, it's just whoever knows the way can lead. The fact that we're a small RC means we don't often face the factors that you get into. I probably didn't have anything to worry about by improvising over Mike's riding plan.

    But thanks for the description of how things work in your chapter. I've never been in HOG, and it certainly sounds like a contrast in philosophies.

  4. Isn't it all about the journey anyway, not the destination? Have fun wherever you ride.


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...)