Your lovable old Grey Beard Biker has always been happy to just throw his leg over his scoot and ride in whatever direction the bike points. No map, no plan, no place specific to be and the only noise is the sound of exhaust, wind and of course – rock and roll music! This is the way so many of us started riding. It certainly still holds true today as it did decades ago.
But on many weekend rides, vacations and trips to bike rallies, I will ride with a group of friends. Most of the time these groups are small, with four of five brothers, but sometimes there might be 20+ bikes riding in staggered formation through the twisting turns of Middle Tennessee. These rides have always been special to me.
Today, we returned from another ride to the Gatlinburg area. We had not planned on making this trip, but a week ago we decided to ride with the eleven bikes headed east, mainly because we wanted to hang out with some awesome friends who would be going. Even heavy rain being forecast for the weekend did not dissuade us from going. And rain, it did. Our nearly 300 mile ride to Gatlinburg on Friday was basically a wash out. We pointed our bikes straight east on Interstate 40 and we all just pushed hard. This was group riding at its toughest. On a dry sunny day, it is not difficult to stay in formation. When sheets of rain are hammering you incessantly for 50 miles at a time it is much more difficult to maintain formation. The dynamics of a ride like this, where you are relying on the bikes around you to have your back, is always interesting. You feel very connected to the other riders. Fortunately, our group was all experienced and we made it to Gatlinburg safely, albeit soaking wet.
Yesterday, the Grey Beard Biker led a ride with only four other bikes. It ended up being the perfect group ride. Great friends just riding through remote sections of the mountains. None of us were in a hurry. We enjoyed each other’s company, shared laughs, hugs, adult beverages, stories from the road and lunch. While only riding around 100 miles during the day, it was amazing to enjoy brotherhood/sisterhood with some awesome people.
Today, the group split up with us riding back with only three other bikes. And it rained, rained and rained some more. Riding in terrible weather like today, makes you glad to be safely home with the memories of a successful trip with great people. These memories, like the other memories we accumulate on the seat of our Harley-Davidson, are priceless and will be forever cherished.
Below, is a video from our group ride yesterday on Grey Beard’s not-so-secret road.