George_Tranos_Outside_EdgeThe Outside Edge

By George Tranos

Yogi Berra once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” To a motorcyclist, the choices made while riding can have a profound effect. They can make the difference between a good day or a bad one. Many riders enjoy the company of friends on their journeys. Sharing the motorcycling experience with others can make a routine trip into an epic adventure. The joy and travails of traveling, the sites seen and people encountered along the way can add to the joy of riding. Companionship, conversation and curvy roads go together well. However, the larger the group becomes, the more difficult the decision making process can become.

Robert Frost said in ‘The Road Not Taken’, “Two roads diverged in a wood, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Some of us adhere to this philosophy while on our motorcycles. We avoid the routine, boringly straight roads and search out the gnarliest, narrowest, curviest byways. Others among us avoid these same roads like the plague. Riding in a group composed of persons with opposing preferences can make for difficult choices.


How do riding companions resolve these types of dilemmas?  More importantly, how can groups make good decisions that are in the best interest of the majority while not neglecting or offending the minority? If your group is like most, one of the best ways to come to a decision is via majority rule. In a democratic society, this is the fairest way. However, some groups may not be so democratic. These groups may be dominated by one or two strong personalities who tend to make the decisions and the rest of the group then just follows the leader.

Group dynamics is the subject of many books about management and leadership. Taking an idea from its infancy, brainstorming choices, identifying alternatives, arguing the merits of various options, building consensus and implementation are integral parts of a group decision. Think of your riding group and ask if its decision making process resembles anything close to an ideal one where all have input and share in the procedure equally.

You always have a choice even if your group excludes your participation – you could always leave the group, go your own way or find another set of people to ride with. Sometimes it’s just easier to speak up, say your piece, give your opinion or join in. Making suggestions from within an organization or group is the best way to effectuate change. Speak with others in the group to build consensus and alter the dynamics of the process.

Motorcycle trips can be a great way to get away from it all. Sharing these journeys with your friends can be one of the greatest of joys. Spending many days on the road with people you might normally only spend hours with, however, can create challenges. You want to return as friends at the end of the trip. Think about ways to maximize each person’s enjoyment while still benefiting the trip as a whole. Perhaps you want to take one day to break up into smaller groups or go off individually or meet for lunch afterward?  Doing things together is great, but don’t sacrifice individual goals just to stay together. You want to remember the trip for the fun you had not the arguments. Building consensus can help keep everyone in the group happy. And don’t forget, when you come to that fork in the road, make sure to take it!

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