Be Careful With New Groups

So had planned a beautiful day a long time ago with a group of riders I haven’t spent plenty of time riding with.

Before the ride that the Admin and owner of the Facebook group that I had become a part of wanted to go to the seaside and had picked Hunstanton as the destination, I was asked if I could plan a path and direct the ride, I can only assume that they thought myself to be a capable rider that would safely get everybody to the destination, as well as the group had 1 possibly two people riding 125’s and L plates, not a problem to plan a path avoiding any motorways I can do this.

Sounds like a fantastic idea and that was that.

Late on the evening before I got a message saying somebody else was going to direct the ride and plan the road, fine not a problem I could enjoy myself, sit back examine the scene, did I mention my wife was coming along as pillion too? We can have a great chat on the intercom about the typical married stuff (all of the married guys. You understand what I am talking about, all of the only guys you’ll find out).

We arrive at the assembly point somewhat early and lots of bikers are found, I am then informed that the individual leading can not locate his satnav but has looked at the road, OK I said I will sit in the back anyway and can pick up any stragglers.

So finally everyone is here and we set off, having already programmed my Satnav with the path we turn right instead of left and head away, no problem I recall saying to the wife as we’ll end up at precisely the exact same point only the long way around.

After about 20 minutes riding we’re on a dual carriageway all riding in single file all being great (we did have two 125’s with us so speeding was not going to be a concern).

We begin gaining on a Waitrose HGV, no worries I want to pull out to let the other specifically the 125’s a opportunity to overtake, but rather we slow down to a creeping 52mph, OK maybe not the end of the world we’re travelling at just above 50mph on a 70mph road, but remember I’m sitting in the back! , now cars don’t see motorbikes in the best of times but when travelling around 70mph they aren’t hoping to profit on a set of 6 bikers at a fantastic rate, after a few close calls and a slip road a car had determined to force his way on between the group of cycles that I decided enough was enough, we might have two 125’s with us but that is now getting dangerous and the smaller bikes can overtake a lorry in 52mph, so that I move out disturbs gesture and everyone into the lead rider that it could be a great idea to accompany me (I was polite, honest).

So everybody follows me around and I gesture everybody ago me and take up position at the back again and now we’re doing a comfy 65-70mph, happy times.

Following a quick ripping from the crash helmet and a great deal of arm flapping we had been back on our way, this individual was on a 1000cc bike like me so catching up the group was not likely to pose a problem and we sent off.

Yup unbelievable I understand. We slowed down and happily the group caught us again and I waved them all past and took up position in the back.

So we finally stop at a McDonald’s and have an ice cream and a urine etc and also the leader of this ride is busy looking at his phone and telling everybody we’re nearly there and it’s the A47 for the most of the way so that it should not take us long. Most of us make mistakes so we’ll just continue and enjoy ourselves.

A bit further into the ride we are all moving along well staying together and the intercom chatter is the typical things about look at the car etc, you understand wife talk!

After a few roundabout and a few winding streets we approach a large roundabout and according to the signpost it’s 5 exits, I look see what depart we want (it’s the 2nd) and all of us begin piling onto this very large roundabout with extended slide roads, and we stop on the roundabout, yup on the roundabout to the left just before departure 1, now believing someone has just had an issue as I’m at the back I adhere the hazard lights on and attempt to discover what’s happening ahead, the lead rider gets off his bike and walks back towards a few of the riders behind him and… he’s his mobile phone in his hand… assessing the map! I understand right, just what you’re thinking, not a place by or quiet residential street to pull on, a roundabout, nothing could possibly go wrong right? We thankfully nothing did go wrong, all of us got going again and nobody died or was hurt, thankfully.

After we reached out destination and everybody had dismounted de-kitted and normally relaxed I’d ask the question of what was you thinking about when you decided to stick to a lorry across the dual carriageway, stop in the side of same said street, not to mention the parking around the roundabout?

After a hearty meal and a great deal of coffee we return towards the bikes and some of the other riders are hanging around as apparently they’re all heading back soon.

I gave my explanations and let them know we’re going back on our own today and to say thank you to everybody.

After we had returned home thinking about the ride and the things that had happened I decided to have a little rant about it among the group that I belong to, this group has some very experienced riders and a few recognized ones, but we all over everything else watch out for each other when we’re out together, we could as you envision spend a good deal of hours riding together and a certain degree of confidence has built up among us, well they felt exactly the same as myself, these events shouldn’t occur and there are no explanations for this. End of conversation really NO EXCUSES for failing to maintain yourself and others with you safe and not knowingly put anyone at risk.

Well apparently there are explanations for these incidents and a number of them never really happened or wasn’t as bad as I think they where, after all everybody made it home did not they, well everyone did but not together because once I left them they seemingly lost two of their other riders at some point, but this is OK, they just carried on.

During the fall from my remarks in a personal group, this is the fun bit, I have been kicked from the Facebook group that organised this ride and O dear unfriended by a few of the members who made it home alive on this day, well am I gutted? upset? Feel like I had been treated unfairly? , no not really in the event you can’t take any criticism and insist on lying about what really happened so that you don’t feel bad, continue, all I was offering was guidance about the best way best to keep yourself safer on the streets, not interested? Fine carry on and hopefully you won’t ever have an accident or get hurt at all, I seriously hope that’s true because I don’t want people to get hurt and it makes me mad when you would rather lie than admit you made a mistake.

Incidentally I have been out on a few other rides lately and even lead some of them myself and everybody had fun and nobody has been put in any danger so that it can be done.

Ride safe everyone and if you don’t ride a bike, just keep and eye out for us, we love it.

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