I’ve never understood it, the desire to ride a motorcycle with more than two or three other riders.
Riding in large groups seems like the opposite of what is pleasurable about riding a motorcycle. To me riding is about freedom, the autonomy to do whatever you please, and riding with a group seems to suck the independence from the otherwise enjoyable adventure of taking a cruise on my bike. More people means more stops and once you're stopped it generally takes an act of Congress to get everyone moving in the right direction again.
Beyond the sloth-like movement of a group, the confinement of the situation just doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t want to have to match the speed set by someone other than myself. I also don’t want to have to hold an unnatural line with my trusty steed because someone is riding eight feet off my hip pocket. And don't get me started on skill levels. I want to be able to roam wherever my heart desires.
In my opinion I also think it's unsafe. Even in a staggered formation, you're confined to a weird line. If a quick maneuver is necessary it’s very possible you could clip a handlebar, run another rider off the road, or vice versa. Most packs are too tight, and if you have to be hard on the brakes it’s likely somebody is getting rear ended. The offset formation lends itself perfectly to riding in each others' blind spots too, again increasing the odds that a quick swerve to dodge something in the road will result in a collision with another rider. Not to mention if you're in a big enough group, chances are you don't know the other rider's habits, ability or riding style. It all adds up to an unnecessary recipe for disaster.
I’d rather keep things fast and loose when I ride. And the company I do keep, I prefer to be familiar with and keep the number small. I want the few people I ride with to be similarly minded. I'd prefer they didn't have an aversion to breaking traffic laws, be ready to take a random dirt road and generally drop the hammer at every turn of the road. I'm not into riding from bar to bar every 20 miles and I don’t want to wait for a gaggle of folks to finish a burger and take selfies. When we're ready to go I want to get up and go.
I'm not into having someone parked next to me handlebar-to-handlebar or sitting six feet behind me in my blind spot. I don't want to hold my line through a corner, I want to take the fast line. Same goes for miles-per-hour. I may want to go as fast as I possibly can or I may want to putt along so I can grab a pic. In any case I don't want anyone waiting on me and I definitely don't want to wait on them. We all know where we are headed and I don't see the need to stick close if we're moving at separate rates. I'll see you when we get there.
Like I said, its about freedom, being free of a schedule, societal constraints or traffic laws for that matter. Checking out and going Zen on my machine. I'm definitely not the best riding partner...and that's fine by me.