I was kicking back with a friend, enjoying some home brew that I recently made, and we starting talking about what the responsibility of leading a group on a major motorcycle ride looks like. It’s an interesting conversation because it’s not just about being in front and expecting everyone to follow you. There’s a significant amount of planning involved and decisions to make along the way.

You can over plan, to the point where every stop and every activity is scheduled, but that restricts the spontaneity of a trip and stifles the feeling of adventure. You can also under plan a trip and that leads to uncertainly and chaos on the trip because if you leave everything up to committee, you end up never really getting anywhere.

Then there’s the pace. If you go balls out, it causes stress because decisions have to be made too quickly and not everyone is able to keep the pace. But if you go too slow, then people are bored.

So a trip really needs to balance the needs of the group, vs. the needs of the journey. What do we want to accomplish, vs. how much can everyone actually handle in a safe and pleasurable manner.

So in a way a trip like we do is a micro version of any type of organization. How do you achieve what you set out to do, but at the same time make it so everyone enjoys accomplishing those goals?

I think that’s why I enjoy leading these trips. I enjoy the challenge of leading these guys, all with individual quirks and personalities, on a new and unknown adventure, while at the same time making sure that everyone is comfortable and has the opportunity to have a good time. This is what makes motorcycling such a great pastime.

In 2017 we’re going to do an Epic Ride to the Four Corners (Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico) and I’m really looking forward to it. But also I think this year we’re going to plan a number of trips where each member of our group can plan and lead a ride. I think it’s going to be a great exercise and I’m looking forward to seeing the great experiences the guys come up with, but also relinquishing the reigns a bit and enjoying the ride.

2017 is going to be a great year of riding.