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Riding with friends of different skill level

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When my wife and I got into dirt bikes none of our close friends really rode or had much interest. This led us to meet a new group of friend that we ride with almost every weekend. We have a crew of 6 - 8 guys and girls that are all  on the same page when it comes to riding. We are all at a similar skill level, like the same kinds of trails, and keep a competitive pace with lots of friendly $hit talking. We are super lucky to have a group like this. 

We all have other groups of friends that don't ride much. These are the kinds of people that will never be out on the trails every weekend, but they still like getting out there. A few are pretty good and can keep up but there are always some that just haven't ridden enough and are still at the stage of staring at their front tire and over thinking every little rock and bump in the trail. 

We have definitely been spoiled riding with our typical crew. I love riding with all my different friends and have had plenty of good rides at a slower pace enjoying watching my less experienced friends progress in their riding. Seems like we are often having to decide between riding with the crew and getting lots of fun miles in, or riding with some of the other friends and riding easier trails and a slower pace. Sometimes we get a big crew together but that usually ends up with some people waiting up front and others struggling in back. Ideally we ride somewhere where we can split the group and meet up throughout the day but sometimes that's not possible. 

How do you all address this? I try not to be too selfish but as the snowboarders and skiers say "there are no friends on a powder day" 

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I have the same dilemma, just with fewer people. I normally split them into the inexperienced/experienced groups and do separate rides. Otherwise the fast people get bored and the slow people feel like they’re holding up the day. After a few months of rides with the slow group, I expect to blend both together, as the slow people should be able to keep up. 
 

The main challenge is the slow riders generally don’t have time to ride, so they advance much slower than the more frequent riders. When I first bought a bike, I rode basically every day for a solid year. Some of my friends have bought their first bikes and only take them out once a month. The people who ride everyday will be competent on the trails in a matter of weeks, the others won’t be good for months/years. 
 

So really the only way I’ve found to make this work, is separate rides until the slow people get fast/confident enough to keep pace. 

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10 minutes ago, Drw814 said:

I have the same dilemma, just with fewer people. I normally split them into the inexperienced/experienced groups and do separate rides. Otherwise the fast people get bored and the slow people feel like they’re holding up the day. After a few months of rides with the slow group, I expect to blend both together, as the slow people should be able to keep up. 
 

The main challenge is the slow riders generally don’t have time to ride, so they advance much slower than the more frequent riders. When I first bought a bike, I rode basically every day for a solid year. Some of my friends have bought their first bikes and only take them out once a month. The people who ride everyday will be competent on the trails in a matter of weeks, the others won’t be good for months/years. 
 

So really the only way I’ve found to make this work, is separate rides until the slow people get fast/confident enough to keep pace. 

Splitting the group is definitely the best option. 

It's hard to watch some of my friends who only get out a few times a year struggle, knowing if they just went a few weekends in a row they would get way better and have way more fun.  

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It is a big help when the "fast" guys realize that every ride does not have to be a race to build their egos. Most of us all started at a "relaxed" pace until we developed better skills. There are events to display skills and then there are rides to just enjoy friends in the sport. Separating does have its place but it is also a great help to slower riders to watch better riders make correct line choices, carry speed smoothly etc.  Finding a balance really helps encourage newer riders to stay with it and grow the sport.

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We have found ourselves in this position many times. Have put together ride trips with people of various ability (some faster, some slower) and the larger the groups get the more difficult it is to keep everyone happy (self included). Break it up, ride as a pair some days, ride with your core group, and sometimes ride with the big variance group knowing you are likely not going to get the miles in that you would normally get. Really big groups also add to the chance that someone is going to have an issue. Bike problem or injury. I refuse to be the one to say "too bad, we are going to keep going" and will turn the whole squad around to get the broken one safely back to the trucks. 

I also refuse to ride with people that do not wait for the next rider at intersections. No one gets lost of left behind on our rides. Nothing more frustrating than arriving at a turn and not being able to determine where the person in front of you went. I won't do that to anyone that wants to follow me. 

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20 minutes ago, redhurricane said:

We have found ourselves in this position many times. Have put together ride trips with people of various ability (some faster, some slower) and the larger the groups get the more difficult it is to keep everyone happy (self included). Break it up, ride as a pair some days, ride with your core group, and sometimes ride with the big variance group knowing you are likely not going to get the miles in that you would normally get. Really big groups also add to the chance that someone is going to have an issue. Bike problem or injury. I refuse to be the one to say "too bad, we are going to keep going" and will turn the whole squad around to get the broken one safely back to the trucks. 

I also refuse to ride with people that do not wait for the next rider at intersections. No one gets lost of left behind on our rides. Nothing more frustrating than arriving at a turn and not being able to determine where the person in front of you went. I won't do that to anyone that wants to follow me. 

:applause::applause:

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Some of my favorite rides are with slower riders. Allows me to work on skills, while also helping/teaching the slower riders... I generally start with easy trails, leading to more difficult and then going back to easy on the way out... 

Don't take it for granted as having people to ride with (even slow people) is better then having no one to ride with... 

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Back in our street riding days, try keeping 36 sportbikes together on a 250 mile day ride. I got coined the "ride pimp". It was not all the glory you might expect it to be. 

 

Dirt, we like the 5-6 max range. If we have more than that, it's people I already know are similar in abilities so we all have a good time and no one is feeling like they need to take risks to keep up, and no one is getting bored waiting. 

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4 minutes ago, Hans Schmid said:

Some of my favorite rides are with slower riders. Allows me to work on skills, while also helping/teaching the slower riders... I generally start with easy trails, leading to more difficult and then going back to easy on the way out... 

Don't take it for granted as having people to ride with (even slow people) is better then having no one to ride with... 

Nailed it. The occasional "skill building day" has brought more people into our riding group than just meeting up with random people. I already have a handful of "one and done" riders that have come out with us, never to be heard from again. 

 

Rode a muddy mess of a place yesterday. some complained. I still saw it as a ride day even though the bike cleanup was an all day event afterwards. 

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Big groups and different speed preference require patience.  Usually works out better if people wave the faster riders forward. You might have to wait at a turn longer but will have open trail when you advance. Guy in back never gets a rest...but we were all there once.

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Imagine 3 days of riding trying to keep 39 riders together in a foreign country. 2014 Scrambler's Summer Shenanigans hosted by Bajabound Moto-

 

image.png.fab507f116f795a9c012d61164a5f367.png

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6 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

It is a big help when the "fast" guys realize that every ride does not have to be a race to build their egos. 

No one in my group is actually fast. Sometime we like to think we are but we definitely aren't. Over the last 6 months or so we have changed quite a bit. It used to always be about going faster and faster, tying to rub tires with the leader until they let you by or speed up. Now we go at a much more fun and casual pace, a lot of the time the faster guys will be in the middle or end of the pack just out for a fun ride and not a race. It makes it a lot more fun when you can relax and enjoy the ride more then pushing your limits the  entire time. 

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1 minute ago, highmarker said:

Big groups and different speed preference require patience.  Usually works out better if people wave the faster riders forward. You might have to wait at a turn longer but will have open trail when you advance. Guy in back never gets a rest...but we were all there once.

Part of the job as ride leader is seeing who is faster and who should move up in the conga line. Keeps people spread out and no one is held up buy a slower rider. 

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20 minutes ago, Piney Woods said:

the "fast" guys realize that every ride does not have to be a race

This has been the hardest part with my "fast" group. They all still race competitively (and I don't) and right from the tailgate of the truck they are wide open, checking lap times, etc. 

Pretty much how I feel when everyone starts clicking up a gear and turning a casual fun ride into a race

Screenshot_20201109-112314.jpg

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Not everyone has a stable of bikes to pick from, but if you do, then riding a bigger bike will slow you down a bit!

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, redhurricane said:

Rode a muddy mess of a place yesterday. some complained. I still saw it as a ride day even though the bike cleanup was an all day event afterwards. 

I get frustrated by the complainers. In bigger groups it seems like there is always someone that wants to turn around or go home early or just complains about the trail or conditions. 

For me I always look at it like, if my bike is running and I don't have any broken bones I am having a good day. 

 

A few of my friends see dirt biking as a fair weather sport only.... We live in the PNW.... you aren't going to get much riding in if you don't want to go when it's raining. Overcast with light rain is probably my ideal kind of riding condition. 

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I'll come at it from a different perspective.  I have riden solo for ages now due to a variety of factors. History and background would indicate I'm competent but I have no idea how that stacks up to others especially in new terrain. With life changes and such my opportunity to ride is much better and I want to find riding partners.  The double thrill of terrain challenges and rider skill is a little daunting.

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7 minutes ago, Hans Schmid said:

This has been the hardest part with my "fast" group. They all still race competitively (and I don't) and right from the tailgate of the truck they are wide open, checking lap times, etc. 

Pretty much how I feel when everyone starts clicking up a gear and turning a casual fun ride into a race

Screenshot_20201109-112314.jpg

I think we are all at the 80% rule. Ride at 80% and have a good time. wick it up a little here and there, and have FUN. Soon as it's race mode, I'll let them have it. 

 

 

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