I’ve been thinking lately about the benefits of clubs, associations, and riding buddies.  For the purpose of this discussion, I’ll will not discriminate in any way between kinds of clubs or the public perception therein.  I have no intention of developing a discussion here for or against any club for anything they do outside the realm of riding motorcycles, so don’t even start to go there.  I think you’ll see why and get my point.

To make my point, I’m going to make a parallel to fitness and exercise.

I’ve always thought of myself as a relatively healthy guy.  I’ve also always thought of myself as a pretty avid rider.  The fact is, however, that my actions support neither of these. In the last ten years I’ve logged so few miles on my bike it’s embarrassing. More than the embarrassment, however, is the ache for the throttle, saddle time, straightening out some turns, the simple loss of miles.  Similarly, I’ve managed to have my health gradually decline, both through inactivity and mediocre nutrition.

In some ways these are both a result of hard work and a young family. I work pretty hard at my day job, I do this crazy comic strip, and still work on giving my family the time they deserve. In the process, self care gets put on the back burner, along with good times on the bike. The priorities aren’t wrong, they’re just different than they used to be.

About six months ago, a co-worker invited me to start working out in the morning. I was sold immediately. We’ve been hitting the gym five days a week ever since. For sure there are days when I’d rather stay in bed instead of waking up at five, but my gym pard is expecting me at a quarter to six.  Hard to say if I’d be there so consistently if he weren’t there. It’s become habit, much stronger as a result of teamwork. The friendship gained strength, too.

Conversely, on the bike I’ve always been sort of a lone rider. You’re not waiting for anyone, and they’re not waiting for you. But at this point in my life, it also means I’m getting on the road a lot less–even if the bike wasn’t parked and awaiting repair for several years (I’ve had this bike for over twenty). I have no plans to go out and join a club, an association, a pack, or any kind of organization, but the whole gym experience helped me to see the value of riding compadres.

If I’m expected to be at a pull spot at a certain time for a ride, or if someone will be stopping at my house to get out and do some miles, I’m going to be ready. I’ll make sure my bike is good to go, safe running and fueled up, that I’ll be on time. All these things bring up my sharps as a rider, and are good for the soul as much as time in the gym is good for my body. Having some good riding buds is a way of making sure I get out there and do some miles, that I make time for this thing that too often gets put on the back burner while I tend to the task pile that never seems to shrink.

So the long and short of it is, let your pals drag you riding, or get out and drag them along. In the course of writing this I realized I need to get on the bike out there with one of my good friends, so the conversation was had and the bike is getting inspected and remedied where needed.

Who are your riding buds? Are you a solitary type?