Riding a motorcycle with a group can bring experiences which riding alone cannot. Doing so is a sure way to meet and make like-minded friends and maybe more. This is especially true for those who are only now joining the motorcycle riding community as new riders or those returning to the sport. Knowledge can be exchanged, skills learned, connections cemented, and an unknowable variety of unrelated ideas may be discussed within a group environment.
Locating a complementary group with which to ride your motorcycle is the only hindrance to entering this new world. Of primary concern is finding a riding group which shares your interests. Do you want to just cruise along and enjoy the scenery? Or do you want to carve up canyon roads? What about doing a real adventure ride? These are the questions you must ask before you begin your search.
Of course, at least some of those questions can be answered by simply looking at your motorcycle. If it is covered in aerodynamic plastic and uses clip-ons for handlebars, you probably will not want to tackle a trail ride. Using common sense will let you arrive at the type of group with which you are a good fit.
Once you know the type of group you want to ride with, the next step is to locate one which matches not only your motorcycle riding style, but also one which does the sort of rides you are interested in. Do you want only local rides? Maybe you want to go international. Consider these when you start locating groups so that you are not limited or pushed into things for which you are not ready.
Finally, when the choices are narrow, go out and meet with the riders involved with the group. You may do this at group-orchestrated events like organizational meetings or parties. If you feel comfortable around these great new people, this may be the group you wish to join. If not, do not feel deterred, get back out and try another one. The possibilities are nearly endless as people of all creeds and personalities ride motorcycles. You will soon find yourself 'belonging' with the group you select and that will demonstrate for you that finding the correct group of motorcycle riders was the hardest part.
Friends or Colleagues
The most immediate and usually effective way to find a good motorcycle riding group is to consult with your riding friends and work colleagues. Someone close to you who rides will have some knowledge of local clubs which can at least give you some direction. Be sure to ask about what it is the group does most often. If they only take a ride once in a while and spends most of the time in a local bar, this is probably not the group of riders you want to ride along with.
The Dealership or Brand Groups
Another great resource for finding a motorcycle riding group is your dealer. Big brands like Harley-Davidson and Honda both have extensive clubs - Harley Owners Group and Honda Red Riders, respectively - which provide ample riding opportunities or connections to groups which do. These are only the beginning. Many dealerships have relationships with active local clubs, or chapters of national organizations, that share their customers' ideal riding styles. Ask around and you will probably even find that many dealership employees are group members which can help you find an appropriate club.
Of course, the most convenient way to find a motorcycle riding group or club is to turn to the Internet. Simply typing in your city followed by "motorcycle club" will present you with what is likely to be an enormous list of links. Take that list and examine each group for recent activities, what those consisted of, and look into the more personal side of the people running the club to see if their ideals and riding styles will match up with yours. Once you have whittled the long list down to a few, contact them and see about attending a meeting or some other event so to familiarize yourself with what this motorcycle group has to offer.
Another aspect of the online world is social networking. Sites like Facebook.com and Meetup.com are great resources for finding motorcycle clubs which you can join. These sites are also very useful for researching the groups to see if their plans align with yours.
In the End...
Finding the group of riders with which you want to spend your time on your bike is not the simplest thing you will ever do but, as you can see above, it is also not terribly difficult either. About the only problem you may encounter once you have found an agreeable and acceptable motorcycle riding club will be the dues. Almost all clubs require them in order to pay for operations, and they can be steep, but the value returned is often much greater than any expense.
Having a group to ride with can add more than just seat time to your life. It can expand all areas of your personal world, and will certainly add to your stable of friends. Taking the time to find the 'right' motorcycle club with which to associate is time well spent. The rewards are incalculable.
Photo credit: Alfonse Palaima of Motorcycle.com