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I went to the LAST rolling thunder. And i think i only saw another dl650. The other dl650 guy worked at the pentagon. I felt a bit out of place there. But it was too many bikes, you could'nt leave if you wanted. Not enough bathroom sfor 600k bikes. Just alot of hogs
 

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I've run across various rolling dorks in various states. Thankfully when needing fuel someplace back east the pack was filling at only a couple pumps and pointed other traffic to available pumps to gas and go.
If i had to compete with the huge mass of HD riders for gas I may have been a long time. They gave some consideration and for that I'm grateful.
The other batch was a group of Hells Angle or similar riders. They rode from gas station to station on I 40 going to the Colorado river for a meet. They had to show their stuff to a couple guys, me and a friend, riding our sidecar rigs to another destination. Just posing for the tourists, I suppose.
 

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I went to the LAST rolling thunder. And i think i only saw another dl650. The other dl650 guy worked at the pentagon. I felt a bit out of place there. But it was too many bikes, you could'nt leave if you wanted. Not enough bathroom sfor 600k bikes. Just alot of hogs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fpNfcAE9Xk
Great video, thank you for reinforcing my decision to avoid RT, BW and all the rest of the Charley Foxtrots organized for the HD crowd.
 

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Why I never joined RT, despite living in the area:

1: I never served. The event originated with veterans coming to remember and honor their fallen comrades, and I don't fit in that model. I didn't want to insert myself into a situation in which I clearly Don't Belong.

2: Too much Hardly Davidson attitude.

3: Too many bikes in too small an area, and I have no idea what skill level the riders around me have or how they'll react at a critical moment.

4: I only started riding 5 years ago, and didn't consider myself adequately prepared to ride in those conditions.

But, first and foremost, reason #1 above was sufficient in and of itself. It's simply not my situation and I could find no reason to invite myself to someone else's party.
 

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I agree with B, I don't even attend our local toy run for Christmas anymore. Bunch of little boys that never grew up trying to ride motorcycles.
Our little valley now has several patched clubs that are difficult to be around or sometimes take seriously.
 

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I live in the DC area and avoid Rolling Thunder. I've ridden it 2x. and that was to let my kids experience it as part of their school project. But that was it. Lots of waiting in the hot sun at Pentagon until you ride.

Just wasn't worth it.

Instead, I actually rode toward west to the Shenandoah mountains. I put 400 miles and rode to Seneca Rocks, WVA.
Nice pleasant ride in the mountain twisties and away from the crowd.
 

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That would be the day.
 

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Huge group rides fall somewhere between "visiting my ex-wife" and "root canal without anesthetic" on my spectrum of "things I really don't want to do". They're like slamming your hand in a car door: "Well, I've done it once, now I know what it feels like, so there's no need to try it again". I went on one once, about 15 years ago; it was initially a very cool experience seeing a couple hundred motorcycles gathering in a big parking lot before the ride; it took all my self restraint not to do the "We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! ... And we wanna get loaded" speech.

And then the ride began, and it was more Peter Griffin than Peter Fonda.

Noise. Fumes. Crawling along at a pace barely above a duckwalk. Scary inexperienced riders on bikes way beyond their skill level. Basically it was a leather-clad traffic jam that, if we were stuck in it in a car, we'd be white-knuckling the steering wheel and cursing all of mankind. I think I made it about ten miles and just peeled off.
 

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While I support the cause of RT, nothing about it interests me at all to take part.

This is another case of something that started out with good intentions and then became too big for its own good. I just read an article that said the reason it'll be the last is that the costs the Pentagon quoted them going forward for traffic control/sanitation/safety/etc. was too high. The plan moving forward it to encourage local chapters to organize their own events.

I did my last true 'rally' event probably 5 years ago. Being surrounded by people who don't appear to know the first thing about safe group riding is not fun for me. I tried a group ride-to-eat event (about 20 bikes) last year; I lasted about 10 minutes, when the first stunter decided to do a wheelie next to me, before peeling off and taking my own route.

No thank you.
 

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all the things I dislike in one place. Cities, crowds, chrome, noise and traffic.

oh and group rides.
Here in the Upper Mississippi River Valley, there is the annual Flood Run usually held on the third weekend of April. Originally it was organized to help the residents of Winona, MN sandbag the Ms. R. When I first moved to this area, it was a fun ride with about a thousand or so motorcyclists riding down one side and back the other, mostly down MN and back Wi. At the time, I lived right on WI 35 (old County Q), part of the Great River Route system, and it was cool to sit on the deck and watch the occasional individual and clumps of bikes roll by.
Nowadays, there are by some estimates 40,000-plus, and the majority ride as far as the Wabasha, MN-Nelson, WI crossing, about half way. There are towns about every 6-10 miles and, as you approach each there is a mile+ lineup to paddle-bike into town to find no parking. To paraphrase Yogi Berra:"Nobody rides it anymore, it's too crowded."
 

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A friend usually shames me into a couple of group rides for charity a year. I can appreciate a good cause but like so many others here the whole "ride gestalt" just isn't for me. The crowds of massive motorcycles with riders of unknown skill levels is probably more dangerous than the Angeles Crest Highway at 10AM on a summer Sunday . . .
 

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A lot of these rides seem to be all about "look at me, look at me, I'm such a good guy for doing this."
Charity should be anonymous, give because you want to help, not because you want others to see you.
Riding my bike is happy time. Memorial Day is not. It's a time to soberly reflect on the sacrifices those before us made so that we may enjoy freedom.
Of course if your cathedral is a peaceful mountian meadow, nothing wrong with riding up there to observe the beauty of nature while you meditate, maybe even with a small group of friends or family.
The large groups don't appeal to me, for all the reasons most others here have stated.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think one time I came to rolling thunder as a bystander on my bicycle. I could get in and out of the crowd, i saw bikes for 20 mins and left. That was a better for me. 7 Hours waiting in a 95 degree asphalt parking lot. But DC needs something for veterans, if this is something they like go for it. But for me that was truly the last rolling thunder :)
 

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I have only been on one mass ride, a Veteran's Day charity ride. It was probably tiny, by comparison to RT, but I still hated it. One of my attractions to riding is the freedom. I just ride wherever my whims take me. The experience of having to follow a bunch of Harleys was annoying as heck. If I ride with someone else, at most I would want it to be one or two other people, who are good friends and who I have helmet Bluetooth comms with.

I read on another site that this year's RT may be the last. DC is jacking up the fees for the permits and the vendors are jacking up prices. DC is obviously trying to kill it.
 

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I go North to avoid people, that kind of scene would make me crazy and no fun at all. Your friend was entertaining to watch though.
 

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"all the things I dislike in one place. Cities, crowds, chrome, noise and traffic.

oh and group rides."

Jeeze, whata Curmudgeon!:grin2:
These residents of middle of nowhere are so spoiled by the pastoral life.
If you can't see and hear all the neighbors, how can you tell if they are there?:wink2:
 

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I rode in a charity event three years ago, my first one. There were approximately 500 bikes, 99% HD. I was on my old 1981 Suzuki GS650GL. There was too much HD attitude before the ride even began, which didn't surprise me because it's what I expected. However, once the ride was underway things got a little scary. We didn't have the whole road to ourselves, only our lane, so there was oncoming traffic and therefore nowhere to bail if something happened. At times the ride got up to 90-95kph in 50kph zones. People were accelerating hard and braking hard as the speed fluctuated. I was around people I didn't know with unknown experience in group rides, all trying to be loud and be seen. By the time we reached the first stop I'd had enough and bailed. That was way too hard on my nerves. Not to mention that, if I was a bystander, I would not have appreciated a pack of motorcycles exceeding the speed limit by over 40kph in front of my house or through my neighborhood. First and last group ride for me.
 

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Skinner, that is mob mentality. Even the Goldwing riders will seem like animals if you get enough of them together for the kids. Gotta get this stuffed toy to the hospital, get out of my way!
There are those that feel they are doing good deeds and those that think them daft!
 
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