1) Gassville is wet.
2) I'll post up some GPS routes several days in advance. The key to the routes is 'being somewhat circular.' Then when somebody gets tired of wearing out the sides of their tires, they can just point to the barn (or luxury accommodations) and commence with the priority activity, beer drinking.
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The rules as I know them.
1) Ride your own ride, as if you were riding alone and not in a group. Too many group rides end in a hospital visit because somebody was trying to keep up with somebody. I want to ride MY own pace without worrying that somebody behind me is getting red-faced (like I get when unsuccessfully trying to keep up with Jason DiSalvo at any track) and may be riding over his/her head. If I'm in a group, I generally slow down in the straights, and I'm happy about that. My trick is to set a top speed, like 70 or 75... might suck for somebody that likes to do 90mph in the straights, but the local sheriffs get less and less friendly closer to the 80 mark. (and if you like that, you can go on ahead of me)
I like to see smiling faces at the next intersection, not somebody that just saw Jesus. Questions on that part?
Over the years, I've found that there are really only mere moments of difference in the arrival times between guys going hard and guys going semi-leisurely.
2) If you are riding in a group, keep watch for the guy behind you and make sure you see him in your mirrors once in a while. There should be lots and lots of space between bikes for when Bambi, Thumper and that dumbass vulture jump out on these very rural roads.
3) We pass liberally but very safely and politely. I never pass because the guy in front of me did. I only pass when I see the way clear. I have ridden with guys that used hand signals to pass over rises and blind corners, but I don't trust you (or myself) that much and it scares the bejeesus out of the people you're passing. Please do it decisively but only when you can see it's safe. You'll see that I wave at the vehicles I pass like they waved me by. I think it makes everybody friendlier.
If somebody is a *timid* passer, that is where a group really gets massive delays and then the passed vehicles catch up with the first passers and it becomes a clusterfuck. If you are a timid passer, we may politely ask if you can start your own sub-group and drive behind the RVs all you want.
Seriously, there's no disrespect in it, but if groups break out, it's better if they're more homologous in behaviors. There will still be plenty of time to catch up at the fuel docks and places of food intake.
4) If you want a more casual pace and you find that the group is disappearing in the distance more than you'd like, FEEL FREE to make yourself 'your own group.' I'm very happy when guys do this, because they accomplish the 'ride your own ride' mantra in full. They run the route, or variances on the route, at their own pace and have a unique story to tell back at 'ol the Gassville Waldorf Astoria. Win win.
5) I've been a leader of many group rides where somebody gets bitten with riding over his head, or tries a pass just because the group ahead did... or swears that the tire slipped a little but later figures that he just target fixated at the edge of the road. It really messes up a good time. It is NO fun being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a destroyed bike... or a visit to the hospital... or worse. If your bike leaves the roadway on these roads, it will be destroyed and you might be too. You can't run off. If your bike is not going to make a turn, it's best to be sliding behind it, but chances are, the bike would make the turn, you just lost faith that it would. So keep your eyes pointed at the road ahead lean it over. If that scared you, take it easier.
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So, back to number one... yes, just know where the fellow is behind you once in a while. If he's not showing up, maybe he's in trouble, or the guy behind him, or the guy behind him. If the fellow appears to gain on you in the corners, you may want to send him in front of you.
And to number three, these are not California Malibu canyon roads, just lots of nice sweepers and beautiful country. The roads are wide and there's often lots of room to pass, especially with a well-hung sport tourer. You shouldn't have a difficult time passing and I use my GPS to tell me when we're getting close to a town, so I can stay behind the slow mover and get the group back together.
Maybe number five is excessive, but I ride with fast guys and slow guys... I just want to ride with guys that are having fun.
Rules, rules rules. How's that for rules??
I like Budweiser Select, but I'm only finding it in STL. If I truck the bike down so I can work on the phone as I come down, I'll bring a nice supply.