Well just last night I wrote in Wolfie's group ride thread that I would probably forego group rides myself for the time being, as I was not sure my skills were up to the task. So this morning about 9 AM my friend Jack calls and invites me to join their group for a ride to the Nanton Air Museum. It is about a 80-90 mile ride. They are meeting at noon and leaving at 12:15 to be there before 2 PM when the museum is firing up two engines on the Lancster bomber which they are restoring.
So 10 of us are at the parking lot and the guy who I assume is the ride leader because he is verbally outlining the route we are taking, asks if I want to lead the ride. I wouldn't have any trouble finding my way as I know all the highways very well, but I inform everyone that it is my first group ride and I would rather let someone else lead this time. (I ride in second position, right behind the leader.) Everybody is fine with that and we ride 3 miles to Jack's place and pick up 4 or 5 more bikes, most with couples aboard, for a total of 14-15 motors and 18 or 19 people.
There were several Harleys including one water cooled V-rod, some Hondas (Magna 65, Shadow 1100 and 750s, a VTX1300, probably some others too), a BMW RT1200S, a Yamaha Venture, and I think a couple of big twin Suzukis. I didn't notice any other Vulcans but mine, and it was the smallest engine in the group. We only had two female riders, one a 65 yo woman on a 2008 Soft Tail 105th anniversary edition. The second was a 20 something gal on a new Suzuki S50 (50 cubic inch/800cc) the second smallest bike in the group.
We all rode up together in one big group, but split up into smaller groups, some taking an extended ride up west to the Chain Lakes before coming back south to Lundbreck. I rode back in a foursome with Mark on a Shadow 1100, his daughter Paige on the S50, and his son-in-law Dusty on the VTX1300 (married to different daughter), and me in sweep at the tail end. I got about half a mile behind on the 4 lane when we left the service station and opened her up to WOT and topped out at an indicated 150 km/hr (minus 10% speedo error = 135km/hr or ~ 84 mph) before I had to back off.
I wished I had my windshield on when travelling over 70 mph. Time to put it back on for cool morning rides to work now anyway. At 70-75 mph going up I made 160 km/100 miles on 10 liters (2.64 US gallons). That's about 38 mpg. Not bad for an old fat guy carrying an extra 5 liters of gas and 10 lbs of tools and gear.
So I lost my group riding virginity today
lol. It was fun and not as scary or challenging to my riding skills as I imagined it might be. I learned some things that I would do differently if/when I lead a group. ie. I would have changed lanes earlier a few times than the leader did on the way up. I was watching for the tailgunner to secure the lane before a lane change (as I had read about in a couple of places previously), but apparently this group doesn't do that. I didn't see the leader, tailgunner or anyone else with CBs or other communication devices so that may be the reason we just followed the leader after he signalled the lane change/turn.
I will be open to future invitations to group rides.