The Parade Mentality

Here I am on my soapbox again…

I just got home from a great road trip in the Sierra’s…criss crossing the passes…Sonora, Ebbitts, Monitor, Carson…what fun. Great roads, scenery, camping, weather, you couldn’t ask for more.

But…here’s the soapbox stuff…Groups of riders that are parading instead of riding. We have all seen this phenomenon. There is a certain segment of the motorcycling population that like to go for group rides, compare chrome goodies on their motorcycles, see if they have enough fringe, is their ‘helmet’ small enough and do they have a black and orange t-shirt from a dealer in some other state (which you get by mail order, you don’t have to actually have ridden there). Oh, and the most important part..can you ride slow and loud enough so that everyone knows you’re there?

Disclaimer here…not everyone who rides this particular brand/style of motorcycle falls into this category. However, if you do, you know who you are.

Now, back to the reason for this Soapbox post. While enjoying a fun ride up and over the Sonora pass, my friends and I stopped for the obligatory pictures at the summit. During this break a group (about 20 or so) riders come over the hill. Friendly waves and smiles, down the hill they go. A bit later my riding friends and I head down as well. In a very minutes we catch up to a traffic jam. No kidding..we are now at a snails pace. We start picking off cars one at a time (about 20 of them) until we get to the cause of the slow down. The parade of loud, slow motorcycles and..get this..their chase vehicle??!! Passing cars that are going slow is one thing but weaving in and out of a group of motorcycles just doesn’t work. For one thing, it’s not safe, it’s not courteous and it’s just plain hard to do. So there we are, stuck going 15-20 miles an hour where a posted speed limit is at least 35-45. This lasted for miles. When this ‘parade’ finally pulled into a roadside stop, even the cars were honking their appreciation for them getting off the road.

Riding with friends is always fun. If you have a parade, someone should be looking in the mirrors to see if they are holding up traffic and if they are, pull over..there are turnouts and wide spaces in the road all the time. USE THEM! I know you like to be seen and heard, but, be courteous, pay attention and if you need a chase vehicle…well, I don’t know what to say.

An addendum to this…over on Carson Pass, we had stopped to take a picture or two and a couple went by on a nice ‘bagger’, again waves and smiles. We pulled away from the vista point and fell in behind the couple on the ‘bagger’. Thinking we would get by at the next opportunity we just kept their pace. Their pace was really good, I mean really good. There was no reason to try to pass, we were all having fun. When they turned off, waves were waved and we had a an admiration of this guys skills.

Moral of the story… it’s not the bike you ride, it’s the way you ride it.

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