This is my 5th season as a user on BCSB. I've participated on many organized rides, and ogranized far more of my own. I was already a very experienced motorcyclist before I set foot on this site.
I have seen, and heard of numerous crashes on these rides. What I find is the
alarming number of crashes on what I would call "backroad rides". I have personally
had three people noobarb on rides I organized on such routes. Two were in corners
that I don't find particularly challenging, and one on a very well known dangerous
corner in Washington. That rider was nothing more than exhausted after a day
of riding far longer than he ever had in the past... and failed to realize that 15mph,
meant 15mph. Too far behind the group for us to slow him down.
So often it's, "lets not talk about it, keep it quiet"... and I can understand why. But I think we are doing ourselves a disservice to not discuss more openly what is happening, why it happens.. and find some solutions to reduce the instances.
Why should the organizers give a shit? Well frankly, I give a shit because I don't want to see these folks trash a $10,000 bike with no collision coverage, or have them go home... and never return to riding.
As an organizer, there is a very simple joy that comes from introducing a new
rider, experienced or not, to some new routes they have no idea exists. They
can pay that forward by showing others in time. Showing 20 people a good time
is completely negated when someone wads up their bike and calls it quits.
Personally speaking, I think I am done with organizing these sorts of rides. There are simply too many people watching this site that decide to show up. You have no idea who they are, what level of experience they have in relation to what is planned for the day etc.
Organizing a group of 20 riders through Manning Park is not such a big deal. On
rural roads, passing farm tractors, cars etc... quite frankly, I've seen enough.
I say this with conviction. That on any day one of these backroad rhubarbers,
noobarbers... whatever you want to call them... had gone for a ride on their own,
they would have probably avoided the entire disaster. They would have chose
to ride in a comfort zone, on roads they were familiar with.
How do you show folks new routes? Well... I'm not sure of what the threshold
is... but I can say without any shadow of a doubt, a group of 20 folks that has
a few strangers - is not one of them.
I've organized rides on backraods in Washington with small groups. Small
groups of a few familiar folks, and unknown quantities. I run the group ride,
far slower than I would personally... based on my past experience, which is...
I want everyone to get there without a crash. I've had people say, "Can
we go faster?"... No... You can go faster... have at it. If you don't know the
route, you go my pace. It's a group ride pace with unknown people.
If I ride with friends of known skill level, things are different. Sure someone
can crash, but we are all aware that we are at a pretty high level of skill
for street riding. We don't need warnings about corners... and always we
are riding routes that are not new. Most of us are life long riders, that will
be there a week later, or whenever, to hit it again.
I think there is enough evidence, enough trashed bikes, enough expense and
enough riding seasons cut short... or completely ended. I'm kinda fed up with
it, even though it's not my personal problem... but I think it's a problem.
Wonder why there is dick all quality rides posted lately? Why you need a
secret invite to tag along? There is a fucking good reason for it.
I don't know what else to say... but for fucks sake, let's stop the rides of
a train of folks riding around on backroads... where the head of the snake
can't see the tail... and when some guy crashes, fucks his bike up and take
a towtruck home, nobody even knows the fucking guys name.
If you want to show some new people some routes, post up you are going
to take 4 of the first new riders that haven't ridden with you before for a ride.
That way you can actually meet them, learn a bit about them... and guide
the thing with some sense of control over the group.
Furthermore, the shit I witnessed on Monday on some roads leading into
Chilliwack was beyond stupid. A bunch of sportbikers on some straight
road, passing all sorts of cars, 1 or 2 at a time, to get 30 seconds ahead
and then pile in at a stopsighn waiting to see if everyone is still in tow,
holding up traffic... then proceeding to make left turns infront of cars
that had the right of way when the left turn arrow was gone, just to
stay with the group. Freaking ridiculous.
No thanks. I'll take 3 riding buddies that know what they are doing anyday.