Seeing a large group of motorcycles rumbling down the road is an impressive sight. It might make you want to call a few friends, neglect adult responsibilities, and head out for a faraway destination. Traveling with a group can forge memories that last a lifetime. But traveling with others means compromise. It can be hard to find a group of people with the right mix of personalities and it may be better to travel alone.
Traveling solo, while offering unparalleled freedom, brings about its own set of challenges. So before setting out on our next road adventure, let’s look at the pros and cons of traveling alone vs traveling solo.
There is safety in numbers. Whether it’s a mechanical breakdown, injury, natural disaster, or whatever mishap may come along, you’re likely better off if you’re not alone. It is especially beneficial to be with others while riding off-road, where the risks are greater. If you have a mishap while traveling alone on the road, there is a fair chance there will be other people around to help if needed. If you’re riding alone off-road and are far away from civilization, you might be waiting a long time for help to come by.
Some expenses can be combined, making it cheaper to travel. There’s not much you can do about fuel costs, but lodging (and if you’re preparing your own food) meals are places where you can save some money if you travel in a group. Split costs and save a few dollars. Also, it you are traveling in a group, someone may have family or friends nearby. Maybe you could crash with them for a bit or catch up on some laundry and bike maintenance. It may be too much to ask, but it can be an option in some circumstances.
Getting a group of people to agree on anything can be a challenge. Imagine being part of a group ride where some are morning people and others have trouble getting on the road before noon. Some like to ride into the evening, while others are ready to call it quits by dinner time. Neither way is right or wrong, it’s just something that needs to be worked out in advance. If you’re riding as part of a group, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. Is the schedule flexible, and is everyone fine with it? Are destinations set in stone, or is it ok to deviate from the plan if something interesting comes along? If you’re riding solo, this isn’t a concern at all. Leave late, leave early, or don’t leave at all. Whatever you do affects only you.
Some experiences are better when shared with friends, while others are more enjoyable on your own. Some riders prefer to head out alone, while others will barely take their bikes out unless riding with friends. Are you ok heading out for days at a time on your own? Will you get lonely or bored? These are questions that don’t have a right answer. It’s different for each of us, so there’s no way to be wrong.
My preference as to whether I ride solo or in a group depends on what type of riding I’m doing. If I’m not doing an off-road excursion, I prefer to ride alone. It’s less hassle and I enjoy the flexibility of riding by myself. What I enjoy even more than taking a whole trip alone is to stop along the way and meet up with friends who are along my route, so we can visit for a bit and maybe go for a day ride. Then, I’m off on my own again.
Off-road, I prefer to be with at least one other person. There’s a greater chance for something to go wrong off-road, where having others with you can save your bacon. You don’t want to find yourself broken down in the middle of nowhere with no one around. Even worse would be an injury if you’re alone. Sometimes, even something simple can be a big problem if you’re by yourself. I’ve dropped my bike off-road more than once. Usually, it’s not a big deal to pick it up and get going. But, there was a time (or two) where I found myself unable to pick up the bike. Since, I wasn’t too far off the beaten path yet, I was able to call a friend to come to my rescue and help pick up the bike.
It’s not hard to find yourself in that situation, especially if you’re exhausted and don’t have the strength to pick up your bike one more time. Sterling Noren, one of my favorite YouTubers, found himself in just this situation and documents it in this video – This Motorcycle Ride Almost Killed Me – YouTube. Fortunately, he wasn’t injured and was able to walk out and call his girlfriend for assistance. If you’re not riding off-road, there’s a far greater chance of easily getting some help.
What’s your preference for taking a long motorcycle trip? Do you like traveling solo, with a friend, or with a larger group?