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Old 11-09-2012, 10:34 AM   #1
ChemEng OP
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My Last Patriot Guard Ride

[soapbox.on]

I have been a long time supporter of the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR). I come from a family with a long military lineage, and the PGR was something that combined my love of motorcycles with my support of the military.

There was a mission to welcome home a Marine that had been injured in Afghanistan. There was 5 bikes (including mine) that did the escort from the airport to the Marine's house. The house was at the end of a pretty large cul-de-sac with diameter close to three car lanes wide. None of the 3 bikes in front of me could perform a U-turn in that amount of space without duckwalking. One bike managed to fall over while duckwalking. Then, as the bikes were lining up, the lead bike heads right into a patch of leaves. He fell off as well. Earlier, he was very vocal about being a road capitan and of the different motorcycle classes he's taken.

If you are counting: that's 3 bikes out of 5 that couldn't do a U-turn in a 36 foot radius. And 2 bikes that managed to go down performing what should be routine driving skills.

So while I support the PGR and its mission, I won't be doing anymore missions because I can not accept the amount of risk evidently a large portion of their riders represent to my safety.

[soapbox.off]
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:56 AM   #2
Dave in Wi
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Wow.

The size of residential cul-de-sacs are usually based on the turning radius of the city's fire engines. You shoudl be able to turn around a motorcycle in one.

Just another thought, I think the original purpose of the patriot guard was to help shield military families at funerals where that whacko church was protesting. I'd ride with them in a heartbeat to do that, regardless of how bad the other riders are.
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Dave in Wi screwed with this post 11-09-2012 at 11:01 AM
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:20 AM   #3
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I can understand your frustration...

I participate in as many funerals as I can... and always the only Wee in the group.

NFE
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:32 AM   #4
ChemEng OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No False Enthusiasm View Post
I can understand your frustration...

I participate in as many funerals as I can... and always the only Wee in the group.

NFE
The irony of it was the these guys all questioned the safety of my bike at the start of the day. I just figured the were ribbing the only non-HD bike in the group. They backed down after I said that the bike does exactly what you tell it to do. In hindsight, I think those words hit the nail on the head in more than one way...
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemEng View Post
the only non-HD bike in the group.
And there is your peer group problem. Sad... true.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:09 PM   #6
dwoodward
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemEng View Post
The irony of it was the these guys all questioned the safety of my bike at the start of the day. I just figured the were ribbing the only non-HD bike in the group. They backed down after I said that the bike does exactly what you tell it to do. In hindsight, I think those words hit the nail on the head in more than one way...
Get in touch with the larger group and file an AAR noting the concerns with [lack of] safety, skill, and operational ability. The worst they can do is round file it, but maybe you can push a button for some ongoing skill training. I know I'd be more impressed- and feel more honored- if (heaven forbid) my step-son were escorted by a group of PGR that rode and acted the part than tryouts for the Keystone Kops. Sure as hell I wouldn't want our family grief disrupted by an ambulance call for someone else.

Hm. Wonder if I can push that button with the local chapter.
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Old 11-09-2012, 11:56 AM   #7
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I couldn't resist.

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Old 11-09-2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ChemEng View Post
I couldn't resist.

That cul de sac is a lot wider three car lanes. I'd guess fifty feet.
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Old 11-10-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dwoodward View Post
That cul de sac is a lot wider three car lanes. I'd guess fifty feet.
Uh, radius or diameter?
OP was saying radius of, what was it, 36 feet. That's 72 feet of pavement?
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DADODIRT View Post
Uh, radius or diameter?
OP was saying radius of, what was it, 36 feet. That's 72 feet of pavement?
Satellite image in post 6 shows the scene.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DADODIRT View Post
Uh, radius or diameter?
OP was saying radius of, what was it, 36 feet. That's 72 feet of pavement?
Looking at the aerial pic, I'd say that anyone who can't get around that circle without putting a foot down probably shouldn't be riding on the public roads. Given the average rider's competency level, I feel that it's dangerous to ride anywhere near strangers.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:05 PM   #12
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Any PGR rider's abilities are a totally seperate issue from the PGR group itself. The PGR do not road test members so I don't see how anyone can blame the group as a whole for a few bad apples. I guess that's the easy thing to do though. We can also lump this guy in with all HD riders or all white riders over 50 or whatever the case may be if it's easier than just saying "that guy can't ride".
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:44 PM   #13
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PGR experiences

My experience has been a mix of good and less than good but is on balance positive. I'm usually the only non-cruiser rider there (on my mighty Wee Strom ) but the PGR in this area have been nothing but welcoming. It's hard to be the new guy joining any established group, but if you say yes to going to breakfast a couple of time it goes a long way toward getting to know people. I never got the "HD nagging" (at least not seriously) that some people have mentioned, but it has mentioned that I don't dress like everybody else...

I'm not a fan of formation riding and will likely never be. I find it very stressful to be in such close quarters with a bunch of other bikes and the inevitable slinky effect from the front of the line to the back doesn't help my confidence any. We have a national cemetery in our area so there's usually quite a few missions during the season (mission = a funeral, event = other rides like Toys for Tots, fundraisers, events for the local VA, etc).

All in all I'm glad I participate. I've met some nice folks from all walks of life and the families of the departed seems to appreciate our presence.

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Old 11-11-2012, 06:51 PM   #14
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Another Wee ridin' member of PGR...

If only a KLR showed up and joined us...

NFE
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:56 PM   #15
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It is not about the patriot guard it is to ease the pain of the family and friends, and perhaps ease their own personal pains. . If the families loss is eased by having the guard there, then good for them.

I have attended one funeral with the PG there. It was obvious the family appreciated the show of comradeship. The VFW did a 21 gun salute. They gave the spent cartridges to the family. They will keep them. The patriot guard left with a lot of noise. Same thing. One of them said lets make some noise to let hell know they do not get this soul.

And 2 for motorcyclists. One was a co worker in a patched club. His widow and kids took comfort in all present. I did not not fit in, yet I was welcome and I felt better and they felt better. Same show of noise for their fallen brother.

The other was a group of guys that liked to ride and camp and party. No uniforms, no patches. But the exact same bond and group easing of pain. And same noise.

When people are under stress they act funny. You have no way to know what personal demons each of these riders carry with them. So if they act strange to you, well it is not about you.

if you get no benefit, then you probably should find what works for you.

I was honored to be a part of each. Even if a BMW makes no noise.

Rod
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