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I snagged this from Sound Rider, a Pacific Northwest newsletter/web site.

Some of it doesn't apply (IMO) but a lot of it is good:

How To Be Popular by Dave Preston


1. Always show up on time – or early! If the group has set a leave time of 10am – arriving at 9:45am will give time to chat and say hello. Getting there at 10:15am, just as the group has finished their pre-ride hellos and route discussion, has donned helmets, and has fired up engines, will make you unlikely to win the Best Riding Buddy award.

2. Always show up with a full tank of fuel. Although almost everyone likes to spend time standing around talking about bikes, there are limits. The rider who needs to stop in the first 20 miles to fill a tank will not see the teeth being gnashed – unless small snowflakes of tooth enamel wafting down from helmets is noticed.

3. Always bring cash and plastic. Some of the eating establishments motorcyclists favor for lunch breaks – small, out of the way, casual, and interesting – may not take checks, or credit cards or both. Having to borrow money from friends you may have just met is always a tenuous idea.

Be prepared. This is the Northwest. You’ll always need a warmer layer if the ride goes into the evening. You’ll always need some sort of rain protection. You should always have a first aid kit with you. A spare pair of gloves would be a good idea. Easy to get carried away here, and for sure some modern sport bikes are luggage-capacity challenged, but ending a ride early because Billy is going to get the sniffles, or worse, is a drag.

4. Clean your bike. This may ruffle a feather or two, but when you ride by yourself, I don’t care what your bike looks like. When you ride as a member of a group, your bike is part of the representation of the entire group. Many people take a lot of pride in the appearance of their motorcycles – and rightfully so. In the very polite Northwest, it’s unlikely anyone will make a disparaging remark about your bike showing up for a ride caked with last week’s road grime and mud, but it will be noticed, and possibly (probably) resented to a degree.

5. Be willing to compromise. Everyone has a different choice of pace. Every motorcycle has a slightly different "sweet spot" for a given gear and speed. In addition, all OEM motorcycle speedometers are inaccurate (intentionally) on the high side. Put it all together and you will have differing "correct" speeds among members of the group. This is not the same as "riding over your head " (See #7). As long as the leader’s pace is somewhere within reason, just go with it and adjust. If the leader is riding at a pace that you feel is dangerously fast for the circumstances, then actions such as slowing down and dropping behind, prior to leaving the group at the next stop, may be required.

On the other hand, you may meet a passive-aggressive person who insists on riding at his or her pace, no matter what anyone else is doing. Such people are attempting to control the pace of others from the back, and such is not the way.

6. Always ride your own ride, and at your own pace. This may seem to contradict the above, but it does not really. There are two circumstances to be avoided.

Riding "over your head" in an attempt to keep up with someone who is braver, more experienced or more foolish than you are. This is a sure route to a disaster – and sooner rather than later. As a wiser rider once told me – "Let the puppies go, David." He was right.

7. Avoid riding about 5 feet behind the bike in front. I have done this, and it’s very enjoyable with a good friend you’ve been riding with for years and years. The coordinated ballet of the two bikes, and the knowledge of where your friend wants to be in a given corner or situation, is extremely enjoyable and satisfying… and still a bad idea. With people you do not know well it is incredibly dangerous, and irritating to the person in front.

8. At an intersection, do not leave until the person behind you can see you clearly. On country roads bikes can get quite spread out – and intentionally so if you combine sport bikes and the dictates of #7 above. It’s your duty to look out for the folk behind and make sure the group stays, if not together, at least on course.

9. Thou shalt not abandon a colleague when things go wrong. Sooner or later, someone will have a problem. Perhaps a mechanical problem or a flat tire. Perhaps a speeding ticket. Or, rarely one hopes, some sort of a crash. If you’re willing to abandon the day’s ride to assist, you’ll be a hero for life. You may only need to use a cell phone and wait for a tow truck. Perhaps you can assist with getting the bike operable again. One friend hit an errant raccoon (!) last year on Whidbey Island, and the day was saved by the guy who made a shift lever for a CBR 954 out of a rock, duct tape, and a radiator clamp. In the worst of situations, someone being carted off for medical attention will remember your sacrifice in staying behind to see to the bike. There are always more days for rides, but friends you can rely on are rare and precious.

10 Volunteer to lead once in awhile if you know the route. Being the "leader of the pack" is not all that glorious, and is arguably the least fun position in the group. The leader has to consider the needs of everyone in the group. A good leader will perhaps delay a pass until the group has all caught up. When making the pass, the leader should accelerate long enough to make room in front of the vehicle being passed to allow for others. As experienced riders know, it’s much easier to be a bit back in the group. You no longer have to worry about the directions, for one thing. For another, the brake lights of those in front give you additional information about the corner ahead. And best, because you will get left behind at intersections and in some passing circumstances, you actually get to ride faster. So, if you’ve been enjoying yourself all day, know the route, and think the leader would like a rest, volunteer to break wind! (so to speak…)
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