I find that very, very few motorcyclists are exclusive solo riders. Motorcycle riding breeds camaraderie, which is one of the major factors that draws most people to the sport.
I know that every one of my very closest friends over the past four decades started out in one way or another as a “riding buddy.”
Riding buddies can be divided into two very different and distinct categories. The first and by far the most common of these are the “casual” riding buddies.
Casual Riding Buddies
These are people you might ride with most often in a localized setting. Usually you are members of the same club, live relatively near each other, and go on weekend rides or day trips together.
Rarely would you spend more than two days together at a stretch, and almost always within some kind of group environment. These kinds of riding buddies are not hard to find, and you are likely to spend many happy leisure hours together.
The other kind is a sort of “permanent” or “long-haul” riding buddy that is at least as difficult to find—if not even more so—than the perfect spouse. In my riding career, I have known and ridden with well over 10,000 riders. And yet out of that group, only four ever became my best and truest riding buddies.
And by that, I mean the kind of person I could ride with day after day, sometimes for weeks on end, over tens of thousands of miles through every kind of riding condition and situation, without me wanting to quietly smother them with a pillow when they were sleeping.
Two Peas In A Pod
This kind of permanent partnership requires near perfect compatibility. A true riding buddy needs to like to sleep approximately the same number of hours as you, to go to bed at the same time, and rise together.
Whether you like to eat breakfast first and then ride, or ride for a couple of hours and then eat, it needs to be mutually agreed upon.
And what about riding habits? Do you both like to ride at about the same rate of speed? Does one of you like highways and the other detest them? Any discrepancies can become a major recipe for disaster.
How do you pick a motel room? Do you go for the cheapest you can find, or do you want something a bit nicer?
Heck, what if one of you insists on using a certain brand of gasoline that the other doesn’t like? How many miles do you like to ride in a day? What kind of television shows do you like to watch in the motel room at night?
At the end of a long, hot day in the saddle, who gets to shower first? How often do you take time out to do laundry? Who snores the loudest, and how badly will it annoy the other?
You’re going to spend many, many long hours together—much of it in conversation. If you hold very strong and divergent views on politics, religion, or any other hot button topic, it will eventually rear its ugly head—count on it.
I find it absolutely necessary that your education and intelligence levels be fairly closely matched. This is not a case of “opposites attract,” but more correctly “opposites repel.”
A Rare Breed
In the 45 years I’ve been riding, I’m lucky to have found four people with whom I would gladly saddle up for a cross-country tour. Of those, one has passed away and another recently had to hang up his helmet due to health reasons.
That leaves me with only two, and neither lives within 3,000 miles of me. I rarely get to see them or ride with them these days, and I really miss the experience.
Good luck in finding your perfect riding buddy!