Wow. I’m glad that’s over. there is, indeed such a thing as “too much of a good thing”.
Due to the threatening weather, we skipped the sailing and the boat parties and spent most of the weekend riding the Harleys. Starved Rock state park on Saturday, Western suburbs on Sunday and The Broken Oar up north on Monday. About 400 miles altogether, which isn’t much as far as I’m concerned, but… to many of the guys that were with us, that was a LOT. When I travel, I do that much by lunchtime on the average day… and this was an entire weekend.
To be honest, most of them down here in Chicago just bar-hop. They never actuallly go anywhere. They have no clue how to fix or tune their bikes. To them, a “dream come true” motorcycle trip would be to put their bikes on a trailer, ship them out to Sturgis, and ride up and down the block for a weekend. That’s not how we do it where I come from. We actually ride out there… and more often than not, we leave the bikes sit all weekend, as the streets are PACKED with trailer monkeys riding up and down the block pretending to be bikers. To each his own, I suppose, but it sure does cause problems when we try to ride together.
Our Starved Rock trip was a little over 100 miles each way. Riding in a group is pretty simple(on paper, anyway). You go with the flow of traffic and stay together. The problem this weekend was, half the people seemed to want to go 5 miles under the speed limit, and the other half wanted to go 20 over. So… they’d get out ahead, realize there was nobody behind them, and pull over in the shoulder to wait. Everyone catches up and pulls over, and they all ask each other what’s wrong. The answer was blatantly obvious to me…. head up ass is what’s wrong.
A few tips:
-When you leave on a 200 mile(round) trip, you might want to consider starting out with more than 1/8 of a tank of fuel. Ideally, the tank should be filled before you reach your meeting spot, so 9 people don’t have to sit and wait for you at the gas station.
-Doing 10 under the flow of traffic is just as dangerous as ten over. Stick with the flow. Passing and being passed are where the accidents happen. Unless there is a reason(dump truck, family camper, idiot in a U-Haul, etc), Just keep your lane and cruise. It’s not worth risking everyone’s lives. When you do the math, you’ll realize that doing 10mph faster and passing 400 vehicles on your pathetic little trip will only get you there about 7 minutes faster. Worth dying for? Probably not.
– You might be able to fit one bike through a closing 10 foot gap between cars, but you can not fit 10 bikes. Also, keep in mind that when the day finally comes when your stupid acts get you greased on the highway, those cars slamming on their brakes in order to avoid running over your dumb ass will undoubtedly take out all your friends riding behind you in the process.
-Regardless of your current speed… when you get behind a dump truck spewing sand all over the highway, you should pass it.
-Funny thing about mirrors on cars and 18-wheelers. They look BACK. Not forward. Not to the side. If you want them to see you… stay in the line of sight. If you’re going to sneak up the outside edge of the lane, don’t expect anyone to see you… and don’t be surprised when they change lanes into you. You may THINK the whole world is enviously watching your bad ass ride that bike on the highway, but honestly… most of them couldn’t care less.
-When you’re in a one-lane construction zone or a two-lane county road, passing that minivan and risking everyone’s lives is probably not the best idea. I’ll guarantee you there will be another slow vehicle(read: doing the speed limit) a quarter mile in front of it.
– Rain doesn’t hurt any more at 60mph than it does at 30mph, and you’ll reach the other side in half the time. I promise.
-Last, but not least. Being the man out front doesn’t make you the leader. It just makes you the man out front. Don’t be surprised when nobody follows. Oh, and try not to look too shocked when you blow by the exit and look back to see everyone else waving to you and heading off in another direction. If you don’t know where you’re going, perhaps you should move back in the pack.
You’d think this shit was rocket science, the way they all were acting. Seriously… we’re not putting monkeys on the moon here, people. We’re just riding motorcycles. It’d be nice if everyone got there alive.