Monday, February 1, 2016


It seems like I end up riding alone most of the time.  Probably not the wisest or safest choice, but if it comes down to that or sitting at home, I will take the risk.  Used to be we would make plans and then people would flake or show up hours late with lame excuses.  I really don't have time for that kind of bullshit any longer.  I spend five days out of every seven accommodating others wishes, I will be damned if I am going to do it during the precious few hours the modern work week has seen fit to allow me.  It's my time, not to be wasted by others.  If that makes me a grumpy, unlikeable old sod, I'm ok with that.

The thing is, after spending countless hours off-road solo, you get to like it, even need it.  There can be actual disappointment when someone else shows up.  I almost dread the texts "hey, we're going riding!".  And the sound of a barely muffled 4-stroke just off my back tire can send me into an apoplectic rage.  Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete misanthrope.  I don't mind group riding, and there have been some really good rides with good guys, but in the end, the best time is spent alone.

It lacks the pressure of the group ride, where often bad habits and shitty technique are the order of the day as everybody tries to "go fast".  I am not getting roosted with dirt and rocks by some moron whose idea of "traction control" is to dig a deeper trench. You don't have to stop every five minutes for cigarette breaks, piss breaks, text honey breaks, check the damn score of some game breaks!  I come out here to disconnect, my phone serves only two roles on my rides: one as an emergency contact device and two to take crappy pictures to go along with these lengthy diatribes.

 There is no breaking your neck trying to keep up with a leader determined to smoke the rest of the group and no waiting up for slower riders.  If I want to run the same loop twenty times, there is no one to bitch about it, if I get bored with the trail I can make my own, set my pace and my direction according to whatever whim or fancy moves me that day.

The solitary life has its drawbacks, the biggest of which I mentioned previously, safety.  I don't need to go into detail, but it's always nice to have somebody there if you bounce yourself off a tree.  And if you are ok it's reassuring to have some grinning moron looking down at you asking if you can do it again because he didn't get it on the GoPro.  Yesterday I got stuck in an icy, water-filled ditch and spent about twenty minutes trying to get free, a second pair of hands would have been welcome.  And of course when you pull off a slick maneuver or make a heroic save, you want at least one other person to have seen your amazingness.

Despite these caveats, I continue to ride alone.  Quite often, what you lose by trying to stay safe is greater than what you risk by not.  Someone once asked me if riding motorcycles was everything.  I answered no, obviously it's not everything, but it is enough.

Should I want to share this with anyone else?

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