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Dust?: We don’t do dust

When you’re beyond the group ride mentality, come find us

At a recent motorcycle event, a rider came to me and said: “I live in the Gorge but I’ve never gone to your rally because I don’t want to ride behind others and eat their dust. I don’t like dust.”

Photo: Just another morning on the Sasquatch Tour, one rider goes by. It will be a few minutes before we see the next one. The way we like it.

He’d obviously not been to our rally. We stopped offering regular led rides (both paved and dual sport) during the rally 10 years ago. Our tours are not group ride specific either. We did this for several reasons.

  1. In the early years of the Rally in the Gorge, I noticed that in nearly every crash report I wrote, the majority occurred during a group ride.

  2. No one wants to eat dust.

  3. No one needs to focus on a large group when they could be enjoying the scenery and spread out in their small group.

  4. A number of riders want to stay clear of group rides.

By the third year, I’d worked around that and began offering route maps and GPS downloads encouraging riders to take rides at their leisure, with riders they were comfortable with and to keep their group size down.

All of the sudden I was writing less crash reports and some years I don’t have to write any. I like that; the AMA likes that.

First time rally goers are a bit bewildered thinking they’re going to join in on group rides. Once explained and once experienced, I’ve heard nothing but good things from them.

When we began running tours in 2006, I went the same route. In nine years of running tours, it finally happened. Someone who joined up at the last moment wondered why he couldn’t follow ‘the group.’ As is stated on the tour sites, there is no ‘group’ to follow, but when you don’t read the information, you get what you get.

In some people’s minds, spending the day memorizing your riding buddy's license plate is apparently the way to live life and be part of the camaraderie so many riders experience. Evolve beyond that and it becomes clear it’s not a safe way to ride, nor is it really that much fun. If you had the choice of riding in a pack of 12 riders, each with varying skills and pace, or riding with a few friends (new or old) who ride more your style, which would you choose?

Yet there are tour companies that haul large packs of riders over thousands of miles each year, while a GPS with the route and one or two other riders is so much more fun.

And at the heart of motorcycle riding lies the word ‘FUN.’

See you at dinner.

TM/November 15


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