Bikers nodding to each other and group riding
I started riding a bike to commute, I am not sure when I realised there was anything else. I heard the words “ride out” whilst I was training but actually wasn’t even clear what that meant or why you’d do it – seemed kind of pointless to me at the time!
Nodding to each other – What’s that about!
I also noticed that some bikers nodded in passing – what was that about?
I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to nod back or not. This seems to be a subject for debate and following a little research it seems that for some the following are true or perceived to be true:
- Motorbikes don’t nod to scooters
- GS riders don’t return nods
- Harley riders don’t nod
- No nodding on the commute
There are no rules
But, there are no rules! You can nod if you want to, to anyone – I do! They’re on two wheels as well, so say “Hi”. I obviously don’t nod to every bike I meet going the other way, as it depends on the situation and what else is going on. But I don’t have any rules and I’ll nod first as often as respond to a nod.
The biker community also seems to contribute a significant amount of time and money to charity. This can be anything from fundraising events to rides in support of or in memory of someone.
Bikers are huge supporters of the air ambulance charities across the country; maybe this isn’t a surprise as their lives could depend on this service.
My first group ride
My first ride out was with the riders club attached to the training school who trained me from CBT onwards (owned by Motorcycle Rider Hub founder). As such, this was a well-managed ride with safety being a priority ‘Keep it on the Black Stuff’.
My first ride was only 6 days after passing my test but I felt comfortable and fairly confident; this was the first long ride I had done on my new bike.
Looking back almost 6 years ago it is hard to remember much of the ride itself. I do have strong memories of the excitement when we first set off and of riding the first leg from Redditch to Craven Arms. I can still recall the amazing feeling of freedom.
I also remember parking up at Craven Arms where I left my key in the bike! I think the route was Redditch, Craven Arms, Newtown, Devils Bridge, Rhayader then back along the A44.
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Hungry for more
Hungry for more, I just couldn’t get enough of riding and spent almost every weekend that first summer riding, often with the riders club. Although I’d passed my test I knew I wasn’t that good and that there was so much more to learn.
The more I rode the more I became aware of how much more there was to learn. I clocked up my first 1000 miles in 17 days and couldn’t wait to take further training.
This first ride out was also my first experience as a rider of group riding. I was fortunate that the group included instructors from the riding school so the pre-ride talk included instruction on group riding.
This was something new to me and another skill to develop. It’s actually pretty cool riding closely with others – as long as you can trust them! I am wary when riding with others for the first time, regardless of how long they have been riding or how good they think they are.
Just bloody nice people
Bikers seem to be a charitable bunch of people. Over the summer months, there seems to be a charity event on most weekends and then there are the Christmas ‘toy runs’ and ‘Santa runs’.
It was something I had no idea about so I was surprised that I didn’t know. I’d have thought I’d have noticed. Maybe it just isn’t well publicized outside of the bikers world and maybe bikers don’t blow their own trumpets but just get on with it.
As with all groups of people, there are ‘cliques’ that form. And as with any cross-section of society, there will be a range of behaviours. Most people will experience some of this, and it is important as a learner and new to the biking world that you don’t let this bring you down.
There are plenty of different groups of riders out there, some focusing on different aspects of biking.
So find the groups that suit you and that you get on with; the biking world is huge, it’s just that when you are a new rider you can feel like you are on your own. But nearly every biker you meet seems to be a bloody nice person.
Written by Moira Day (female rider)