Many activities are best enjoyed with the company of another person, and motorcycling is no exception. Solo riding has its benefits, but many of our readers wonder how they go about finding that special friend—a riding buddy—to journey alongside with and to enjoy the many amazing experiences a motorcycle offers.
I’ve had five significant riding partners over my 27 years in the saddle, people with whom I’ve been blessed to share many incredible road-born experiences. I have memories to last a lifetime because of them. My wish for those who desire it, is that you find that one best buddy (or two best buddies) who sees motorcycling through the same lens you do, can translate your facial expressions and silent glances without a word being uttered, and when you ride side by side (in staggered formation, of course), your tires literally sync up with one another.
To assist our readers in finding a riding partner, WRN assistant editor Tricia Szulewski and I jotted down a list of ways that have proven successful for each of us as well as many others in their quest to find a riding buddy. Before you read the list, heed these golden rules to enhance your chances of success of finding that “perfect” partner.
- Be outgoing.It helps to have the skill of starting a conversation with a stranger.
- Keep an open mind.Opposites attract … but can also complement each other. My most memorable motorcycling memories were with a woman who was the complete opposite of me, but that made for some of the most hilarious laugh-crying moments of my life.
- Adopt the mindset that you are here to "serve" instead of being "served."Make the "riding buddy quest" more about finding someone you can serve through friendship and love instead of being about filling a selfish need. You put out what you attract, so youre likely to find someone with that same "giving" mindset, which sets a good foundation for a great relationship.
- Don’t be offended easily.Actually, don’t be offended ever. Offense is an awful trait and can lead you down a path to bad emotions that include hurt and unforgiveness. Once those bad seeds take root in your heart, they’re very hard to dig up and let go. So it’s best to never let offense get a hold of you. Stop it at the pass by turning your heart immediately towards compassion, kindness, and love.
- It’s not that hard.Meeting others to ride with really isn’t so hard because motorcyclists, generally speaking, are very nice people. Remember, you’re participating in an activity where almost everyone wants the same thing—to enjoy the open road and to share it with others.
Ways to Meet Other Riders
There are two ways to read this list. You can breeze through each numbered item to get the basics, or you can continue on into "my further thoughts on this," which are sidebars to the main thought.
1. Attend a dealer event.
Make a point of showing up at local dealer events like an open house or barbecue and mingle with riders there. This is where it helps to be outgoing.
2. Hang out at a dealership.
If you don’t like social events, find an excuse to hang out at your local dealership where riders of the same brand come to shop and hang out too. Many stores have created a destination atmosphere and have lounges with coffee and snacks.
In my early days, I would ride once or twice a week to my local dealership just to practice my new skills while using the excuse to pick up the freebie motorcycle magazines. I’d chat up the parts counter and sales guys who helped educate me about the motorcycling world. I also made sure they knew I was a new single rider looking for a riding partner in case they knew anyone to recommend. One day, I introduced myself to a woman who rode to the dealership to drop off her motorcycle for service. She introduced me to another woman, who would become the riding buddy I would have the most fun with during my early days of riding.
3. Find a bike night.
Many communities hold weekly or monthly bike nights at a local diner, an outdoor mall, or similar location. Sometimes these are organized in conjunction with a custom car show. These events are the perfect opportunity to meet others as the main reason people gather is for conversation, and to show off their rides. Don’t be shy, and don’t limit yourself to going just one time. It might take five trips before you find just the right person; in the meantime, you’ll expand your sphere of influence.
This is the perfect place in the article to touch on a subject that inevitably comes up when discussing riding partners: the opposite sex. Prior to meeting my first female riding friend, I was mentored by a male riding partner. He was a friend, but wanted more. I enjoyed learning from him, and hanging with him, but I grew weary of fending off his subtle advances despite my efforts stating clearly that I just wanted to be friends.
Without making too much of a stink here, this is something I’ve found that heterosexual women riders have to deal with when hooking up with a rider of the opposite sex. Ladies: while I don’t frown upon having a riding buddy of the opposite sex, riding a motorcycle can be sexy (OK, it is sexy) … and well … situations have the potential to get messy despite your best efforts at open and honest communication. So, keep things simple by a) finding a riding partner of the same sex or b) if you can’t, then state your intentions up front so no one can ever say you didn’t tell him so.
4. Take a skills class.
Whether you’re a beginner or advanced rider, take a motorcycle skills class. You're sure to meet others who are looking to expand their network of riding friends there too, one of whom might become a good riding friend.
5. Join a motorcycle riding club.
There are hundreds of women-only riding groups across the U.S., and globally (listed on this page on WRN). While group riding may or may not be for you, joining a club is a great way to meet a lot of riders all at once, one or two who might just be your “go-to” riding friend when you’re itching to put on some miles.
In my opinion, a woman who attends a motorcycle rally by herself is brave. Where everyone else there seems to be having all the fun with lots of friends, she's arrived alone. I've found over my 27 years attending many motorcycle rallies and events, that more than half the people attending are looking to meet new friends and have fun. The person who looks like she's surrounded by a lot of friends may have just hooked up some riders from her neighborhood going to same rally. She'd actually prefer to meet someone new.
Many times in my early days of riding I attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally by myself to cover the event for the media outlet I was working for at the time. I’d finish with an interview and photos by noon and now I had the rest of the day to play but no one to play with. I could feel my mind start to go into the “feeling sorry for myself” place because I didn’t have anyone to ride with, but I quickly halted that thought process and instead regained my confidence enough to engage others in parking lots and gas stations. Before I’d even have a chance to ask these fun ladies (or guys) if I could ride with them for the afternoon, the invitation was already there for me. Now it’s my choice if I want to join in. You may not meet your future riding buddy this way, but you’ll have fun hanging with some new riders while enjoying all the event has to offer.
7. Network through social media.
Before there were sites like Facebook and Instagram, there were online forums bringing likeminded riders together for virtual chats about similar motorcycles and interests. One WRN reader shared her story of meeting her riding buddies through such a forum. Simply do a search online for a forum focused on your particular motorcycle brand or type of riding, for example V-twin, Honda Shadow, adventure touring, etc. See what comes up.In addition to forums, these days we have social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, and networking sites like MeetUp, to help people hook up with others in similar areas of interest. There are hundreds of women rider Facebook groups, as well as groups focused on a particular motorcycling interest or category. While not all groups are location-based, Facebook group pages provide the opportunity to meet riders online with a similar interest, which could lead to a friendship.
8. Ask other riders.
When out on your motorcycle, approach other riders you see stopped for gas or at a restaurant. Ask them if they can recommend any riding groups. That's a good icebreaker. I bet you'll get an invitation to ride with them.
9. Become a mentor.
Don’t let your motorcycling skills and knowledge benefit just yourself. Offer to be a mentor to someone you meet who might just be starting out. Or convince a non-riding friend to take up riding. Before long, this person will be “up to speed” and may turn out to be a fun, equally skilled riding buddy.
Keep the conversation going. Tell us in the comments below your ideas on ways to meet a fellow riding partner.
Group Riding Etiquette: 10 Rules to Live By
Riding Right: Riding in a Group
Your Stories: How the Internet Brought 4 Riders Together
How Do I Find A Motorcycle Riding Mentor?
Fastest Growing Women's Group Right Now
National and Regional Women's Riding Clubs