If you’re an adventurous soul always going off on rides to new destinations, you may want to bring your riding buddies with you at some point – or organize an adventure ride together. But while it seems easy enough on paper – just put some routes together, book some hotels or research camping spots, and make sure there’ll be food along the way – there’s a lot more to an organized adventure ride than that. Here’s how to share responsibility, make sure everyone has fun, and not get burned out in the process:
Let’s say you’ve recently ridden somewhere spectacular, and now want to bring your friends along. You know the routes the scenic lookout points, and the best places to stay…that’s all good and well, but plan the trip together with your friends and involve them in the decision making. Agree on the purpose of the ride – is it about pure dirt miles or mountain twisties, or do you want to include some sightseeing or off-bike activities, too? Are you going to do high mileage daily, o would you prefer to stop and take in the views more often? Even when you’re the one organizing the ride, make sure to include your friends’ wishes and expectations – that way, everyone’s guaranteed to have fun.
Give Everyone a Job
A few years back, some friends flew down to visit me in Peru. I was excited – while they weren’t riders, I was looking forward to backpacking around the country with them for a bit and show them my favorite spots in Peru. However, because I already knew the country somewhat, because I spoke Spanish, and because I understood the culture and mentality to a degree, my friends soon fell into a rhythm where they looked to me for every single decision – getting bus tickets, booking places, talking to the locals, figuring out alternative routes, and the like was always up to me, and at some point, it got exhausting. To avoid the scenario where your buddies blindly follow you along like lost ducklings and look to you to solve every issue along the way, give everyone a job. Get someone to plan routes, someone else to look for accommodation, and someone different to maintain the bikes or find food; when everyone has a responsibility, the organized ride is much easier for you as the leader and your friends as active participants rather than just followers.
Lay Down Some Rules
Or rather, just agree in advance on how you’re going to tackle some of the most common challenges that will most likely arise. For example, what’s your policy on riding in the dark? If you don’t make the planned distance in daylight, will you carry on to your destination or stop somewhere else? When do you want to stop for food? Is everyone happy to wild camp? Sure, an organized adventure ride with your friends is a democracy, not an authoritarian regime, but nobody wants a mutiny on their hands when there’s a crucial decision to be made – if your daily mileage plan turns out to be a little too ambitious and you decide to stop earlier to avoid riding through the night, you don’t want to listen to five different arguments of why you need to carry on, you want to find a place to stay instead.
Split the Group
Are all riders in your group on a more or less the same riding level? If not, split them up and give them routes and waypoints and agree to meet for lunch or at your next destination. For slower riders, trying to keep up and ride faster than they’re comfortable with is stressful (not to mention dangerous, if they constantly try to ride above their skills level). And for more experienced riders, going slow will simply get boring. If there is a significant difference in riding skills, split the group in two. Alternatively, if it’s an off-road expedition, make it a training tour and help the less experienced riders hone their skills – it’ll be a fun experience for all involved.
Be Strategic About Distances
As a rule of thumb, most motorcycle tour operators tend to put the high-mileage days first, then shorten the distances as the tour progresses. This is because after two, three, or five days of riding, people get tired if not downright fatigued, so you want to start with more demanding days and make life easier towards the end of the trip. That way, everyone can enjoy the long miles or gnarlier off-road sections at the start of the trip when they’re still full of energy, and stick to more leisurely cruising towards the end when they’re tired. In addition, plan some rest days – even if you’re all in good shape and ready to ride, a rest day every three or four days is a massive energy and morale boost.
Do you organize rides for your friends? What’s your secret for a successful adventure ride in a group? Share in the comments below!