When I ride up to Palomar Mountain or out to the desert, I see a lot of young Marines riding solo on their fast bikes. While they are having a good time, I prefer to ride with another person. That is to say, I don’t like a passenger, but I love having another person riding next to me while on a leisurely trip. I know this isn’t always a sentiment held by other riders, but I feel it offers a few distinct benefits.
For starters, when I go out on the open road, I am always worried about drivers who are on cell phones or not paying attention to driving, which is, sadly, too many of them. This is especially bad when going out near the North County casinos or up mountain roads where people are looking at countryside. Fortunately, with a second rider, not only do we stand out more, but we can look out for one another and alert each other of the dangers of a car or impending traffic situation ahead.
When I go on rides, especially if I have the entire day, I like to explore, and my smartphone won’t always get me out of trouble if I get lost on a country road. Sadly, I am not the best person when it comes to reading a map or getting my bearings back. Usually, I have a good riding buddy on my side who is always getting me out of trouble when we go out east where cell phone reception is spotty, at best.
Most of my rides on the weekend take the entire day as I love taking my time. Often, especially in the summer, I can be gone for upwards of 12 hours, which is the way I like it. Needless to say, I usually stop a few times to grab a bite to eat or even go on a short hike. When I am with my friends, I enjoy my pit stops more as I have someone to spend time with and see the sights of California.
I have never broken down on the side of the road, but I have run out of gas due to poor planning. If I were stuck out in the desert without any gas, it could turn into a bad situation, especially in the summer when temperatures often hover over 100 degrees. Again, I have never had problems while out in Borrego or any other desert, but I enjoy peace of mind when I am with a friend who can pick up some gas or ride into town to find a tow truck driver or mechanic.
While a lot of riders prefer to go out on their own, I do not as I enjoy both company and safety. I don’t blame people who love to zoom up hills solo, as I sometimes ditch my riding companion and meet him at the top. But most the time, when I am on a long country ride in the middle of the day, I love to look over and see my riding partner enjoying their day.