Over the years, I have ridden with scores of people, easily, scores. In the group picture of my mind’s eye, some clearly stand out while others have blurred into the background. There are riders that likely come to the front of your own mind. Have you ever asked yourself, why?
As a MSTA* member I’ve ridden with a few different groups. The exact make up of these groups has changed over time as new participants get pushed into our ‘ad hoc’ riding groups and stick, while others have drifted away.
What makes these groups tend to ‘stick’ together?
In many cases it’s simply a comfort in riding with each other. It may be that we all like to stop every 60 minutes, take pictures, or walk across wood-planked bridges. Beyond the mutual enjoyment of such shared experiences, there is yet another aspect that tends to deepen our bonds even more.
As we ride with each other, we come to trust each other. We come to understand how each other will perform. In difficult, stressful, perhaps dangerous situations we learn how each will behave. In the calmer moments, like bio breaks, we come to learn we can time the stop by how long it takes a member to finish a cigarette.
With time, this turns into respect. It’s not a word used lightly, it’s a word used even less often to describe how we view fellow riders. Nonetheless, there it is.
Over the years I’ve been able to find a number of riders that are ‘safe’ to ride with. A minority (thankfully) that have concerned me. A smaller number yet whose skills I trust without reservation; and, yes, respect them. You likely know who each of you are.
I’m happy each of you still rides with me, however frequently our lives allow. As I reflect back over the past 25 years, there are precisely 7 of you in the picture’s ‘front row.’ Each of you is valued highly.
The MSTA makes finding good riders to share experiences with easier. Hopefully each of you has at least 7 in your front row. If not, take a moment, perhaps with coffee, and think about it awhile. They’re there. You’ll find them.
* MSTA is the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association (www.sporttouring.us). MSTA is an all-brands, national association open to all, with chapters in most states. If you would like more information, contact me directly.