When I first began riding a motorcycle, I discovered the Southern Cruisers Riding Club (aka SCRC). SCRC is actually an international organization with chapters throughout the US, Canada and the rest of the world. I began getting involved in the local chapter in Kitchener- Waterloo – SCRC 270.
Amongst the many activities of the club are the group rides. I had the pleasure of being involved in one today, called the Jelly Bean Ride. This ride is also a fund raiser involving colours, prizes and jelly beans.
During the ride, there is a lot of time to think and reflect and I spent a lot of time thinking about why I enjoyed riding with a group. This is what I concluded:
- There are many times during the ride that you really have no idea where you are. However, that really does not matter. The group is led by a “road captain” assisted by his “wing man” (or woman) and “tail gunner”. As a member of the group, you do not have to know where you are going. All you have to do is to enjoy the ride and follow the person in front of you.
- Even though you are often by yourself on your bike, you are not alone. Many riders in the group communicate with each other using a CB radio. There is often a lot of good natured chatter along the way.
- The group ride is a unique experience. As a member of the group, you are a part of much larger entity. The entire group is not unlike a living being. Each part looking out for the other parts ensuring that everyone is safe and having fun. Hand signals are a large part of this experience. As the group rides along, each member communicates with the rest through hand signals which, for example: warn of upcoming road hazards, inform of approaching slowdowns, and help each member know when the group is stopping or turning. Each person is assigned a spot in the staggered formation and together the group rides along like a snake down the road. My most impressive experience of this phenomena was in June as a member of the Motorcycle Ride For Dad which paraded through Kitchener and Waterloo. Over 800 bikes were involved in the first portion of that ride – an experience I will never forget
I do not know if this is true of all riding clubs but one of the things that impresses me most about my involvement in the SCRC is the openness they share. It does not matter what type of motorcycle you are riding – whether a scooter, sports bike, Harley or japanese cruiser – everyone is welcome and treated with the same respect. What unites us is our love of riding.
And as I get older, there is nothing I am enjoying more than feeling the wind on my face as I ride …