When to ride or not to ride

We all know that feeling when things are not quite right, i.e. we all have good and bad days at work. There are lots of reasons why that might be the case on or at any particular time. Sometimes the mood takes you and you just go out for a quiet walk in the country or local park and another day it may be to go down the pub and share a pint with some friends. So it is also true of taking the motorcycle out for a spin, whether that be on your own or again with friends to a particular place or just chewing up tarmac.

Maynard Hershon’s most recent contribution in Motorcycle Sport and Leisure was of his own feelings and performance on a ride out with a group of 10. Group riding is not to everyone’s taste anyway but that’s not the point. After reading his article I wondered just how many of us recognised those same feelings and experience in ourselves. His main point was that in that in a mixed group of motorcycles his machine was probably the sportiest and most suited to the twisty mountain roads they were on, but he felt uncomfortable with the ride. He found he was having to ride harder, accelerating out of bends on loose surfaces as the pace was “pretty brisk” and felt all was not well; so at an appropriate point he advised the leader that he was leaving the run and set off home.

During the return journey he felt more comfortable and when he got home he thought the matter through. Was he being just clumsy on the bike, were the others straining at the leash after a long lay-off and pushing it a bit? We might all feel that way when we can finally return to some form of post covid normality. Did his maturing years mean his riding capability was declining? After some considerable thought he came to the conclusion that what mattered most was that he had taken the decision to leave the ride. It didn’t really matter why, he had courteously advised the leader and parted on good terms rather than perhaps continuing to “invite the health care system into his life”.

Now be honest with yourself at least; how many of you have experienced the same situation at some time? I’d suggest that you are more likely to experience that feeling in a group than riding on your own, but not exclusively so. There are so many factors that can affect your enjoyment and performance, solo or two up for example. You may well be “in the groove” and up with the best of them, but what about the pillion or are you just ignoring the thigh clinch? I’ll bet my last £1 coin that you could ride the same route with the same group, but solo instead of two up and have a completely different experience. Some people don’t like the rain, others are completely oblivious to it and their performance alters very little. Good days, bad days, lousy week at work and that numpty boss, last night’s date let you down. You don’t have to push hard just because others are. The pressure to be one of the boys is the biggest one to over-ride. Enjoying the ride is the main objective, but not at any price. Food for thought, let’s hear what you think!

Ian Dobie


Author: Biggles