Ensure a Smooth Ride With A Buddy/Spouse

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Motorcycling is an individual sport, often done collectively.  A lot of us enjoy the camaraderie riding with pals, but sharing that experience poses a whole new batch of challenges.  

Two motorcycles riding a canyon road

Riding alone, it’s easy to just want to push to the next town two-hours away, or wake up before the sun is over the horizon and ride an hour to breakfast, but is that what your mate want to do? Make sure you both enjoy riding at the same time of day, likes riding the same distance, the same pace, has the same expectations for food and lodging, or at the very least, talk about these things.   This is probably the most important aspect of riding well with someone else. Communication is super important, which is hard when we’re both wearing helmets and ear plugs.  

motorola talkabout

We’ve been riding since before bike to bike comm’s were even a thing. In the early 2000’s we bought these two talk-abouts with headsets and a push to talk button that we strapped to the handlebars. They worked exactly as well as you can imagine.  We could almost hear each other at speeds under 35 mph.   Now, it’s fair to say in those early days and how miserable early comm systems were the average conversation would go something like: Is that a cop? I think that’s a cop! That’s a cop! That’s not a cop. 

 

motorcycle comm systems in the early days

Listen, Comm systems are one of those motorcycle technologies that have seen an incredible amount of enhancement over the last ten years or so.   Their value when it comes to riding with others cannot be understated.  And now we use them for everything ranging from planning for the next stop, or route changes, navigating traffic when we have to get through an unfamiliar city.  “We need to be in the left lane and we’re turning left on Maple Street.” Which is great because now we have twice as many eyes out looking for signs or whatever.  

But most importantly, we can share changing road conditions on the go.  Like, there’s gravel or a pothole, or a deer, or a puddle in that corner. Whatever.  

Cardo Packtalk Edge

Another thing that we do a lot of  is coordinate shots for these videos.  Every drone shot you’ve seen on here was choreographed with our Cardo headsets.  In short, we rely very heavily on our comm’s, which is why after having tried all the other brands we’ve landed on Cardo.  

Full disclosure, Cardo is now a supporter of this channel, but that doesn’t change our recommendation, these are the headsets we actually use, but the great thing about Cardo supporting us, is they’ve given us a special code that gives you a nice discount. And since we’re coming up on Valentines day, between the 7th and the 21st, you can get 22% off on a Packtalk DUO!  

Cardo Coupon Code RIDEWELL

Get your Packtalk Duo discount by visiting the Cardo Website and using coupon code RIDEWELL

Because the couple that rides together, stays together – well, if they communicate well – which a Cardo Duo will help with!  

Communicating off the bike is almost as important as on the bike.  This is when some pre-planning and expectation sharing can take place.  I prefer really tight, janky twisty gnarly paved goat roads.  Mrs. CanyonChaser loves coastal roads.  Working together early on, we make sure we both get to spend time on the roads we most enjoy.  

route planning with maps

Now often times, the mood will just strike, an itch that has to be scratched. And sometimes the mood only strikes one of us.  It’s okay to ride ahead or back off the pace. Just make sure to re-connect at the next turn. In fact, this is a cardinal rule of team-riding.  Always meeting up at intersections sets the expectation that no one will ever be left on their own. 

Wait at turns - chief joseph highway

Also, listen to their concerns, especially about the bike.  In our household, Mrs. CanyonChaser is the factory rider.   She walks out, gets on the bike and rides away.  I need to listen to her concerns about how the bike feels, if something feels off, or whatever and make adjustments immediately.  On our last trip through Oregon she pinged me on the Cardo and said the brakes felt funny.  Turns out one of her caliper bolts came loose.  Listen to your partner.  

motorcycle on remote oregon road

When it comes to coaching each other, just don’t.  The problem with coaching a close friend and especially a loved one is because that instruction is inherently loaded and it’s too easy to read too much into the advice and take it personally.   Even if you do see something that could be bad, don’t coach but try to open a conversation and talk about what you may have seen and see where it goes from there. I leave the coaching to non-biased, more objective third party.  

Motorcycle coaching at Yamaha Champions Riding School

We can consider that one rider will probably have more or less experience than the other. We really think that the newer rider should follow – the more experienced rider needs to pay attention and not ditch them but set a reasonable pace for the newer riders comfort. Asking a newer rider to watch the speed, read the road and try to navigate, and feel like they are being closely watched and scrutinized is a lot to ask.  Beyond that, whomever leads or follows becomes more about finding the groove that works for you and your riding partner. For example, I’m better at navigation, so I tend to lead more often.  Two good friends of ours, Dave and Tiff, they swap who is leading.  

And lastly, it is important that we look out for each other, but unless you are in a formal relationship, like a spouse, we’re not responsible for each other. If your riding buddy wants to take off and do his own thing. That’s totally cool.  And when they do, don’t take it personally.  And understand that you can both experience the same thing differently.  This shouldn’t be a source of frustration.  

Every riding pair needs to find their own way, and there may be some rough spots as you figure it all out. Be patient, be positive. Because when you figure it out… Well, there is nobody in the world I want to ride with more than Mrs CanyonChasers.  Sharing these magical, joyful experiences together, doubles the pleasure and doubles the fun.  

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