Dodging the RoadkillClarksville, Tn — When I started this journey, I would only ride with a couple of guys, but for the most part, I’m a loner.  I prefer riding alone, because this is my “happy place.”  As you obviously know, if you’re a biker, the solitude of man and his machine, cutting through the countryside, is an experience that is almost spiritual.  I wrote about it here.

As I was making new friends, I started getting involved in my local H.O.G chapter.  It was a great way to meet new people who shared the same passion I did.  Each chapter hosts group rides on a regular basis, and it’s a way to create fellowship and ride, ride, ride. 

One of the first group rides I went on, I noticed these guys who were always in the front and back of the pack.  They would ride ahead to the intersections and insure that all the riders in the group made it safely through.   I thought that was pretty cool.

These are Road Captains, and they are VERY important to the group ride.

Group RideExperienced riders like a road captain lead the rides, works with blockers and sweepers, and gives the necessary hand signals for the rest of the group that are necessary for a safe ride.

I sort of look at them as our “big brother” who looks after us and picks up the slack should something go wrong.  The road captain can also speak to a rider who might be causing some confusion or possible disruption in the ride.

I love these guys!

Riding in a large group is not to be taken lightly.  Most group rides involve bikers who don’t know each other and certainly don’t know their riding habits.  I’ve ridden with bikers who couldn’t keep a straight line if their life depended on it.  I’ve ridden with bikers who are so busy looking around that they lose their focus on what’s ahead of them, and ride up on their fellow riders.

It happens.  I’ve done it.

Traveling in a large group can be safer than riding alone, but it can also be a “major malfunction” if everyone isn’t on the same sheet of music.  The road captains make sure we’re all singing the same song.

I’m grateful for these men and women and admire their skills.  Be safe and enjoy the ride!