Author Topic: Question and Observation about this years National  (Read 15963 times)

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Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #25 on: June 28, 2016, 11:09:18 am »
Often it is "Why don't you join us for the ride." The point is don't be so scared to strike up the conservation.  First time rally attendees don't have some kind of big indicator that they're first timers and most of us are not really very good at reading minds. You have to accept the fact that we (experienced rally-goers) don't know what (or who) you don't know unless you CHOOSE to tell us.

A few rallies back, we tried to identify the First Timers with a colored ribbon on their credentials. A surprising number of them removed the ribbon saying they "didn't want to be singled out."  :-[
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 11:20:00 am by Ranger Jim »
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Offline worncog

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #26 on: June 28, 2016, 11:38:07 am »
This seems to be a difficult point at most events.

The people I ride with now came to be my riding pals at local and regional events. Those events are a little lower key and are more frequent in nature. It was difficult to meet people and get together with others for rides at first, but all it took was to just ask. Even the seasoned riders find themselves wondering who they are going to ride with most of the time.

Did a ride on Friday, after all the dust from the departing crowd settled and I folded up my Rally Team shirt, and Scott asked if he could ride with us. We told him what our plans were and off we went. Had an epic ride...with Scott.

I do like the idea of categorically identifying rides by skill levels and intent. Good idea.



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Offline gPink

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #27 on: June 28, 2016, 12:00:41 pm »
<snip>
I do like the idea of categorically identifying rides by skill levels and intent. Good idea.


Is there a universally understood set of parameters that would be used to establish said categories?

Offline Sport Rider

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #28 on: June 28, 2016, 12:04:52 pm »
<snip>
I do like the idea of categorically identifying rides by skill levels and intent. Good idea.


Is there a universally understood set of parameters that would be used to establish said categories?

I'm thinking branding would be good.
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Offline gPink

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #29 on: June 28, 2016, 12:10:17 pm »
fng on the forehead?  ;D

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #30 on: June 28, 2016, 12:31:44 pm »
New COG member and first time National COG Rally.  Overall a disappointing time.  Many Honda Hoot and Rider Magazine rally's ago things seemed to happen easier, friendlier.  Today's politically correct events lack soul but abound in cliques.  Second, just try and imagine the "fun" getting lost in Northern Georgia with an inoperative GPS, 1:15,000,000 scale maps, and written directions to Helen of no value and that was just trying to get there! It went downhill from there. At least Robert at check-in showed me how to leave the rally for home easily. Oh yes, at check in on Tuesday morning Robert at check in suffered WiFi crap out with more than a half hour needed to get me checked in.  Missed the morning rides, of course. Unfortunately I had to leave on Thursday so my $90 bought me a wrist band, T-shirt and some ice cream.  Wow. Too bad. I rode solo throughout the time I had there. Still don't know where the 2017 version is.....likely less than 366 paying attendees will be there, I'd bet.

JD,
I'm sorry to hear your experience was so bad.  I've not experienced some of the "big" rallies such as the Hoot or Rider magazine ones.  I'd love to get some ideas/suggestions from you so that we can help others in the future to avoid these types of problems.  Please PM me or if you'd like, post here any ideas.  I was in charge of first-timers, so this is near and dear to my heart.  I've already got some ideas for next year's improvements, but would love further input.

As for Robert's WIFI problem, it seemed to be off/on all week.  I'm not sure if it was on the local network end or the host.  I know they were trying to reference a good bit of data connecting to the COGMOS database.  We'll have to research that one more to see if we can improve it.

thanks for giving us a try, and I hope you take a little time to help make our club better!!!

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Offline MotoCommuter

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #31 on: June 28, 2016, 12:40:29 pm »
Why wouldn't it be "where you riding tomorrow, why don't you join us for a ride. We know the area and the rodes so you're welcome to tag along"   Why always expect the new guy to make the initiative.

Its a two way street, both sides need to take some responsibility. If your traveling by your self, you need to be a little more out going, be able to approach strangers and make friends. I think the majority of the COG'ers are very acceptance of that and will embrace you. As far as not inviting someone on a ride, there could be many reasons, like some have pointed out, riding style is a key, putting an unknown in a tightly knit riding group can do more harm then good.

David (Robby1953), I see that you are a NC member, as your region is in charge of the 2017 national rally, I'll be interested in how you will handle this issue. I'm assuming that you will volunteer and assist, yes?
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Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #32 on: June 28, 2016, 01:13:24 pm »
The Honda Hoot hasn't been held for over a decade but when I went to the last one I did not observe ANY "organized" rides (other than manufacturer test rides). If there were other "organized" rides, I never saw the sign-in areas for them.

BTW, when I went to the Hoot, NO ONE sought me out and introduced themselves (the same is true when I attended the GWRRA Wing-Ding). Wing-Ding did have some organized (LED) rides but I didn't go on them because: (1) There were too many bikes (10 or more per group). (2) I didn't know (consequently I didn't trust) the riders.

In the case of the Hoot and the Wing-Ding, I was perfectly fine with riding alone. I knew that I could, if I chose to, find someone to ride with. I chose not to. I recognized that I, and I alone, am responsible for me enjoying myself.
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Offline ConcoursKZ

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #33 on: June 28, 2016, 02:08:46 pm »
The Honda Hoot hasn't been held for over a decade but when I went to the last one I did not observe ANY "organized" rides (other than manufacturer test rides). If there were other "organized" rides, I never saw the sign-in areas for them.

BTW, when I went to the Hoot, NO ONE sought me out and introduced themselves (the same is true when I attended the GWRRA Wing-Ding). Wing-Ding did have some organized (LED) rides but I didn't go on them because: (1) There were too many bikes (10 or more per group). (2) I didn't know (consequently I didn't trust) the riders.

In the case of the Hoot and the Wing-Ding, I was perfectly fine with riding alone. I knew that I could, if I chose to, find someone to ride with. I chose not to. I recognized that I, and I alone, am responsible for me enjoying myself.

I think we are missing the point. The National is a great event. I am sure it can be even better and grow if we address a few small challenges.
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Offline Ranger Jim

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2016, 02:44:35 pm »
When I look at what Dave and his First-Timer's team did, I don't know what else to do.  I know that he absolutely "sweated the small stuff" and went well beyond what had been done at past rallies.  Ride sign-up sheets, RTEs (with give away swag), folks going around with big buttons on them saying "First Timer. Ask me." A special area at the registration area JUST for new attendees. The list goes on.

I really have to wonder if many of the new attendees have unrealistic expectations or have no understanding about how a COG rally is organized.

No rally organizer can "order" the old timers to get out and meet the new ones, take them on rides, etc. 

PLEASE.  Tell me what more we could've done.

I will say that all you First Timers should get involved with events happening in your region. Go on some RTEs, attend a tech/wrench session (even if you don't have any work to accomplish), attend a regional rally, etc.  Those are the places you will meet and get to know other riders.
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Offline LSGiant

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #35 on: June 28, 2016, 03:11:50 pm »
FWIW This is what I do at all group rallies. I typically have my next day planned. During the evening before in the course of conversation. I am not shy and I do try to pick out the new people.  I plan on going to X and plan on leaving at such and such a time. What are you doing ? If the response is "I don't have plans" I tell them they are welcome to come along. I explain about how I ride and that I always wait at the corners so you can go as or slow as you want and I expect anybody who rides with me to follow that rule. If you want to go faster you are kind of out of luck. I know some people who have ridden with me will never do it again and some that seek me out to go along when I am at events.  Some are because I went to fast and some are because I went to slow.
To be honest I have never signed up one on of those group ride sheets at a national rally.  I guess I always have a plan and don't depend on others to lead me on a ride. I consider my rally fee is paying for the meals, the route sheets, and place to meet people who have similar interests. I guess it is about expectations. If you are coming to a national rally expecting to be lead on a group ride I expect you run a pretty good chance of being disappointed and that is what is being posted.



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Offline TRM-KS

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2016, 03:40:58 pm »
Sorry for the lengthy post.

I was one of the "lone riders" pretty much all week.  Why?  A couple reasons.  While I don't feel like I have to defend my choice, and I certainly won't be swayed by someone who thinks all riders should be in groups of three or four or more, I would like to explain.  I am the ONLY COG member in my town of about 60,000.  I have seen an '08 or '09 C14 in town on occasion but it has New York plates so I'm thinking it's from nearby Ft. Riley.  The local independent bike shop owner says there's a C10 in town, but "he must be 80 years old..."  So I ride alone at home.  And no, I will not join the legions of HD riders as they will only ostracize me and my choice of bike.  Trust me, I know this to be fact.  I gave up on the local "all brands welcome" bike club for this very reason.  Since I ride alone at home, it bothers me not one iota to ride alone at rallies. 

Another reason is simply this: all the roads in my area are straight as spaghetti noodles (um, uncooked...).  So that's what I know, and that's what my riding skills are honed on.  Boring?  Some would say that.  But I make my own fun.  Coming into Helen for the first time was, well, a bit intimidating.  There, I said it.  I have complete faith in my bike, especially on the PR4's.  What I don't trust so much is my own skill level.  I kept telling myself "stay in control, lean the bike, turn your head, stay out of the ditch and for God's sake DON'T CROSS THE CENTERLINE."  I don't mind telling you, it was mentally challenging and a bit physically exhausting.  And then I hit Main Street and saw nothing but cars and SUV's bumper to bumper as far as I could see.  Great.

So not being the most advanced rider for the types of roads that surround Helen, I was extremely reluctant to join others, let alone lead a ride in a completely unfamiliar area.  I didn't want to be the guy that everybody else had to wait for.  That's not fair, or fun.  I rode every day, in all directions, AT MY OWN PACE, and had a great time.  Counting the final run into Helen on Sunday, I rode the area five days straight, put about 460 miles on the bike in and around Helen, and was passed ONCE.  And I'm pretty sure that was by Dave Scott on our way to the RTE at Pappy's on Tuesday.  Yes, I was invited on rides several times by others but I politely declined for various reasons.  Nobody seemed offended.  I like riding my own ride, stopping when I need or want to, and having the freedom to punch "home" on the Garmin when I've had enough.

For the record, I like the idea of category rides.  And I don't think the RTE's should be abandoned because of low attendance.  There will be tons of places to RTE next year, in all directions from Rally Central, so let's at least give folks the option. 

Finally, I had a BLAST this year.  Having Dave Despain was icing on the cake. Cortez was a great time, too.  While my sample size is small, I defintely see an upward trend here.  Looking forward to next year!                         

Offline smithr1

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #37 on: June 28, 2016, 03:54:41 pm »
I learned on my first COG local event that it is up to me to get from it what I want.  If you want this or that you do the planning and go get it. I planned my GPS routes.  I found attractions I wanted to see and I planned my fun.  I do ride alone or with Leslie but have lead rides and been in large parades.  I always like being alone.  Even 200 miles from life.  I do like having a Spot though. I should be more social but that is what the evenings are for.

This we tried before and may help.  Have a ride or two planned for each day that is lead by someone that knows the area.  You can provide sign up sheets but mainly have a set time and location for the riders to gather.  I  think that is part of what was missing this year.  No one knew where and when to meet up and riders were all over town.  The group ride does not have to be point by point planned, posted and required so should satisfy insurance concerns.

PS:  Ride to eats might work better if they were placed into ride routes.  So everyone that takes ride X and leaves at about 8am can meet at location Z for lunch.  It is marked on the route.  If you happen to be in the area you can join too.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 04:03:20 pm by smithr1 »
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Offline Uncle Rob

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #38 on: June 28, 2016, 05:34:39 pm »
As a first time National Rider, I liked the one up/ two up challenge on Tuesday.  We met a lot of riders at different places, and it was nice to be able to pace yourself for a ride early in the week.  On Wednesday I hooked up with a couple of riders for the Cherohala/Dragon/Moonshinners route at the Helendorf.  Thursday I wanted to ride in SC and go up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I asked around at the Helendorf but ended up riding solo.  I probably should have tried to set something up Wednesday night.  I think the key is to put yourself out there, and don't wait till the last minute to set something up.  Almost every road was a challenge to ride.  All in all it was a good experience. 

It should be easier to set things up next year since everyone will be more concentrated.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2016, 05:37:48 pm by Uncle Rob »
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Offline TRM-KS

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2016, 05:45:23 pm »
When I look at what Dave and his First-Timer's team did, I don't know what else to do.  I know that he absolutely "sweated the small stuff" and went well beyond what had been done at past rallies.  Ride sign-up sheets, RTEs (with give away swag), folks going around with big buttons on them saying "First Timer. Ask me." A special area at the registration area JUST for new attendees. The list goes on.

I really have to wonder if many of the new attendees have unrealistic expectations or have no understanding about how a COG rally is organized.

No rally organizer can "order" the old timers to get out and meet the new ones, take them on rides, etc. 

PLEASE.  Tell me what more we could've done.

I will say that all you First Timers should get involved with events happening in your region. Go on some RTEs, attend a tech/wrench session (even if you don't have any work to accomplish), attend a regional rally, etc.  Those are the places you will meet and get to know other riders.

I'll comment on this, as Cortez was my first National, and Helen was my first volunteer experience.  I was a bit disappointed at Cortez, as I felt that the first-timers were largely left to fend for themselves.  As I recall, Sunday night (Monday night?) at the campground was supposed to be an opportunity for first-timers to meet AAD's and AD's, mingle and meet, and otherwise be welcomed.  None of that happened.  If not for Dave Scott and his wife Denise, who went out of their way to take me under their wing, I would have felt like a third wheel all week.  But I eventually did meet some good folks, largely through my own efforts though.  And still, I had a great time riding, attending seminars, and all the other stuff.  I rode home sorry that it was over.

Now, fast forward a year to Helen.  Dave had asked me months ago to help out with the first-timers table, which I agreed to.  You can't sit on the sidelines and complain, and then refuse to help make things better.  At least I can't.  Speaking from a volunteer's viewpoint, and comparing to my own first-time experience a year ago, I don't think Dave could have improved on much at all.  The magnitude of improvement to me was HUGE.  To me, he had all the bases covered.  The biggest and best thing, though, compared to Cortez, was having the first-timers table right around the corner from registration.  So simple, and yet so genius.   

Look, we're always going to get that certain percentage of people who will never be satisfied, who rarely visit the forum, or who don't get involved locally.  Whatever.  Like I said, I was a little underwhelmed in Cortez but not going to Helen never really entered my mind.  So yes, I think the expectations might be a little off for some.  But as RJ said, what more can be done?  Not much, IMO.         



 

Offline Shawn

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2016, 08:02:51 pm »
When I look at what Dave and his First-Timer's team did, I don't know what else to do.  I know that he absolutely "sweated the small stuff" and went well beyond what had been done at past rallies.  Ride sign-up sheets, RTEs (with give away swag), folks going around with big buttons on them saying "First Timer. Ask me." A special area at the registration area JUST for new attendees. The list goes on.

I really have to wonder if many of the new attendees have unrealistic expectations or have no understanding about how a COG rally is organized.

No rally organizer can "order" the old timers to get out and meet the new ones, take them on rides, etc. 

PLEASE.  Tell me what more we could've done.

I will say that all you First Timers should get involved with events happening in your region. Go on some RTEs, attend a tech/wrench session (even if you don't have any work to accomplish), attend a regional rally, etc.  Those are the places you will meet and get to know other riders.

Firstly….Kurt, Dave, Jim….just one first-timer’s opinion, but there was absolutely nothing the Rally Team could have done differently to make first-timers feel more welcome!  Here is why….

I am not discounting that some guys felt like they weren’t included in the groups rides, or felt on the outside looking in (that could just as easily been me), but as another first-timer to a National Rally, I had a completely different experience.  And let me first clarify by saying…I could have been in the right place at the right time ….it could have been that I was camping (and there always seemed to be someone leaving on a ride to somewhere)….it could be I’m friends with Fais  :rotflmao:…who knows.  I am not an over-friendly person, and as a first-timer, I didn’t expect that guys/gals were going to be jumping at the chance to ride with me.   Nobody, except Fais, knew anything about my riding skill, and I could understand why some would be hesitant.  Just like I was hesitant to ride with anyone I had never ridden with before.  We all know it’s a huge responsibility and I didn’t want to be a hazard to another rider and vice versa.  The point being is…I made up my mind on the way up to Helen that I was going to lay low the first day and do one or two routes by myself to get my feet wet.

That all changed when I stepped out of my tent first thing Monday morning.  It was either Phil or Bill that said….’we’re going up to ride the Dragon and Cherahola Skyway, let’s go’….and they were starting to gear-up.  I think they actually said…’do you want to go?, and although I had a lump in my throat, I sheepishly said ‘yes’ even though my brain wanted to say ‘no’.  I knew I was going to be out-skilled, out-experienced on roads I had never ridden, and out-ridden at every turn.  I was thinking to myself, WOW, my ‘Backyard Baptism’ is coming on the first day of the rally on the Dragon and CS with riders I have no business riding with…GREAT!  Again, this was not how I planned it.  After some deep breaths, I said I can do this.  I just kept reminding myself to ride my own ride, and I am grateful to Phil, Bill and Mark for letting me do that.  Even though it was hot (and not always safe to stop), they waited for me at every corner.  Because I got stuck behind a couple cagers, Phil (being lead) had to wait 35 minutes at one turn and never complained about it.  (Phil, I’m registered for RWTW and although I want to ride with you guys…I am putting all routes in my GPS….there will be no more waiting)

I was grateful they asked me and, in the end, I was very happy I said yes.  I finished the day in last place, but I didn’t fall down and discovered some important things.  Although it gave me confidence for the rest of the week, I realized I have a lot of work to do to become a better rider.

Another example…after rafting on Wednesday, I was tired and it was hot…I was riding 2-up and I knew I would feel more comfortable following someone that knew the route better than me.  I was a little reluctant at first to ask, but I knew Ted was heading back by himself.  Everyone was tired and I knew Ted probably didn’t want someone trailing him, but I decided to ask him anyway.  He couldn’t have been more gracious in saying ‘sure you can follow me’ and keeping it at a reasonable pace so I could keep him in sight.  He even waited several minutes while we finished gearing-up.  Thanks Ted, that was greatly appreciated. 
One more comment regarding the subject of COG being cliquish.  It’s nonsense!  16 and 17 year old girls in high school are cliquish!  Grown men that have belonged to COG for as many years as some of these guys, put in as many hours helping each other as these guys , have as many miles under them as these guys, and see each other sometimes only once a year (after even making it another year) is anything but a clique…..It’s a BROTHERHOOD.  I saw it first-hand last week.

Marty broke down and there was a team of guys getting his bike back to the campground.

Gary dislocated his shoulder rafting and there was immediate discussion about how to get him and his bike back home.

These are only two examples and I’m sure there are others I’m not aware of where COG members came together to help a fellow COGger and it didn’t matter who you were, or how long you’ve been around.

I was apprehensive about meeting folks I knew have been around a long time, but I did not meet one person on the COG leadership team, the Rally team, volunteers, or regular Members that were not extremely approachable, friendly, and thanked me for being there.

Great organization to be a part of!
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Offline Zarticus

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2016, 08:19:57 pm »
I rode the whole time by myself,  I was not asked to join any rides & am not the type to force myself on anyone. I'm not into big groups anyway but it would of been nice to ride with 3 or 4 other bikes.  The few groups I ran into while riding never asked if I wanted to tag along.  Maybe next time I will just take charge & plan a ride & ask a few people if they want to follow me.  :motonoises:

Was this your first National rally? If so that is the reason the First Timers Team idea was created. My first rally was 2009 in Canaan Valley and it was not a pleasant experience for me for the same reason. After that I got out there and made acquaintances. I used to be a follower now I want to lead rides most places I go. Sure wish I could have made it this year, I miss my COG family members.   
Please don't take my post the wrong way, The 1st timers team was Awsome & did all they could of done. I ride a lot by myself anyway because I prefer too but will not wait for an invite at next years National, I will take the initiative .
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Offline Zarticus

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2016, 08:29:52 pm »
When I look at what Dave and his First-Timer's team did, I don't know what else to do.  I know that he absolutely "sweated the small stuff" and went well beyond what had been done at past rallies.  Ride sign-up sheets, RTEs (with give away swag), folks going around with big buttons on them saying "First Timer. Ask me." A special area at the registration area JUST for new attendees. The list goes on.

I really have to wonder if many of the new attendees have unrealistic expectations or have no understanding about how a COG rally is organized.

No rally organizer can "order" the old timers to get out and meet the new ones, take them on rides, etc. 

PLEASE.  Tell me what more we could've done.

I will say that all you First Timers should get involved with events happening in your region. Go on some RTEs, attend a tech/wrench session (even if you don't have any work to accomplish), attend a regional rally, etc.  Those are the places you will meet and get to know other riders.
I have attended local regional Rte's, The 20th anniversary Run with the wolf 2 years ago & a couple tech sessions so while this was my 1st National I've been active in Cog since I joined 3 1/2 years ago. I think some may be reading into this to deeply, The thread ask for Questions and Observation about this years National, I don't think anyone was complaining & were just stating their observations.  The first timers team did a great job & I felt very welcomed. Next year I will lead some rides & invite people myself  :beerchug: 
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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2016, 08:45:05 pm »
When I look at what Dave and his First-Timer's team did, I don't know what else to do.  I know that he absolutely "sweated the small stuff" and went well beyond what had been done at past rallies.  Ride sign-up sheets, RTEs (with give away swag), folks going around with big buttons on them saying "First Timer. Ask me." A special area at the registration area JUST for new attendees. The list goes on.

I really have to wonder if many of the new attendees have unrealistic expectations or have no understanding about how a COG rally is organized.

No rally organizer can "order" the old timers to get out and meet the new ones, take them on rides, etc. 

PLEASE.  Tell me what more we could've done.



I will say that all you First Timers should get involved with events happening in your region. Go on some RTEs, attend a tech/wrench session (even if you don't have any work to accomplish), attend a regional rally, etc.  Those are the places you will meet and get to know other riders.
I have attended local regional Rte's, The 20th anniversary Run with the wolf 2 years ago & a couple tech sessions so while this was my 1st National I've been active in Cog since I joined 3 1/2 years ago. I think some may be reading into this to deeply, The thread ask for Questions and Observation about this years National, I don't think anyone was complaining & were just stating their observations.  The first timers team did a great job & I felt very welcomed. Next year I will lead some rides & invite people myself  :beerchug:

Agree 100%
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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2016, 11:30:45 pm »
Why wouldn't it be "where you riding tomorrow, why don't you join us for a ride. We know the area and the rodes so you're welcome to tag along"   Why always expect the new guy to make the initiative.

Its a two way street, both sides need to take some responsibility. If your traveling by your self, you need to be a little more out going, be able to approach strangers and make friends. I think the majority of the COG'ers are very acceptance of that and will embrace you. As far as not inviting someone on a ride, there could be many reasons, like some have pointed out, riding style is a key, putting an unknown in a tightly knit riding group can do more harm then good.

David (Robby1953), I see that you are a NC member, as your region is in charge of the 2017 national rally, I'll be interested in how you will handle this issue. I'm assuming that you will volunteer and assist, yes?
Moto; I've been as out going as an introvert such as i am can be at three national rallies and one spider ride i approach and talk to groups at each event and still looking for one group to invite me to tag along. I've made a number of friends that i look forward to seeing again. I've read a number of good ideas in this thread that can help group Riders by their preferred riding styles and hope tho formulate some positive options at the national in Missouri as well as the spider this September. I am only trying to identify opportunities for the club to be more inclusive of the new comers who might not be as outgoing as most of you others expect them to be. I see few youngsters at the events and realize we need to think of the future of the organization or watch it wither. I will pm Brian to see how i can help. Pm me with suggestions.
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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #45 on: June 28, 2016, 11:43:43 pm »
I've re read all my posts and don't want anyone to think i haven't enjoyed every experience I've shared with COG. I love the group everyone has been friendly and accepting of me and the wife. We will be back again and again. I just hope to share and make it easier for others to find that joy of being part of a great organization. I really love this group. Please understand. Thanks Dave.  :great:
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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #46 on: June 29, 2016, 07:00:29 pm »
Firstly….Kurt, Dave, Jim….just one first-timer’s opinion, but there was absolutely nothing the Rally Team could have done differently to make first-timers feel more welcome!  Here is why….

I am not discounting that some guys felt like they weren’t included in the groups rides, or felt on the outside looking in (that could just as easily been me), but as another first-timer to a National Rally, I had a completely different experience.  And let me first clarify by saying…I could have been in the right place at the right time ….it could have been that I was camping (and there always seemed to be someone leaving on a ride to somewhere)….it could be I’m friends with Fais  :rotflmao:…who knows.  I am not an over-friendly person, and as a first-timer, I didn’t expect that guys/gals were going to be jumping at the chance to ride with me.   Nobody, except Fais, knew anything about my riding skill, and I could understand why some would be hesitant.  Just like I was hesitant to ride with anyone I had never ridden with before.  We all know it’s a huge responsibility and I didn’t want to be a hazard to another rider and vice versa.  The point being is…I made up my mind on the way up to Helen that I was going to lay low the first day and do one or two routes by myself to get my feet wet.

That all changed when I stepped out of my tent first thing Monday morning.  It was either Phil or Bill that said….’we’re going up to ride the Dragon and Cherahola Skyway, let’s go’….and they were starting to gear-up.  I think they actually said…’do you want to go?, and although I had a lump in my throat, I sheepishly said ‘yes’ even though my brain wanted to say ‘no’.  I knew I was going to be out-skilled, out-experienced on roads I had never ridden, and out-ridden at every turn.  I was thinking to myself, WOW, my ‘Backyard Baptism’ is coming on the first day of the rally on the Dragon and CS with riders I have no business riding with…GREAT!  Again, this was not how I planned it.  After some deep breaths, I said I can do this.  I just kept reminding myself to ride my own ride, and I am grateful to Phil, Bill and Mark for letting me do that.  Even though it was hot (and not always safe to stop), they waited for me at every corner.  Because I got stuck behind a couple cagers, Phil (being lead) had to wait 35 minutes at one turn and never complained about it.  (Phil, I’m registered for RWTW and although I want to ride with you guys…I am putting all routes in my GPS….there will be no more waiting)

I was grateful they asked me and, in the end, I was very happy I said yes.  I finished the day in last place, but I didn’t fall down and discovered some important things.  Although it gave me confidence for the rest of the week, I realized I have a lot of work to do to become a better rider.

Another example…after rafting on Wednesday, I was tired and it was hot…I was riding 2-up and I knew I would feel more comfortable following someone that knew the route better than me.  I was a little reluctant at first to ask, but I knew Ted was heading back by himself.  Everyone was tired and I knew Ted probably didn’t want someone trailing him, but I decided to ask him anyway.  He couldn’t have been more gracious in saying ‘sure you can follow me’ and keeping it at a reasonable pace so I could keep him in sight.  He even waited several minutes while we finished gearing-up.  Thanks Ted, that was greatly appreciated. 
One more comment regarding the subject of COG being cliquish.  It’s nonsense!  16 and 17 year old girls in high school are cliquish!  Grown men that have belonged to COG for as many years as some of these guys, put in as many hours helping each other as these guys , have as many miles under them as these guys, and see each other sometimes only once a year (after even making it another year) is anything but a clique…..It’s a BROTHERHOOD.  I saw it first-hand last week.

Marty broke down and there was a team of guys getting his bike back to the campground.

Gary dislocated his shoulder rafting and there was immediate discussion about how to get him and his bike back home.

These are only two examples and I’m sure there are others I’m not aware of where COG members came together to help a fellow COGger and it didn’t matter who you were, or how long you’ve been around.

I was apprehensive about meeting folks I knew have been around a long time, but I did not meet one person on the COG leadership team, the Rally team, volunteers, or regular Members that were not extremely approachable, friendly, and thanked me for being there.

Great organization to be a part of!
I agree 100% with you Shawn.
Just don't have a clue how I missed meeting you there man :(
Maybe I was too busy riding  :motonoises:
Fixing the damn rear break :-[
and being flashed by Steve  :-\
« Last Edit: June 29, 2016, 07:03:38 pm by ConnieUSA »
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Offline Steve in Sunny Fla

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #47 on: June 29, 2016, 10:45:25 pm »
Zarticus, quit yer whinin'. I was there for the whole rally, I know you need some riding lessons from me, but you never came to get them. See? there you go... you blew off a riding partner because you were scared. Now I know why you didn't show up...my feelers were hurt, but now I know why scaredy-cat :nananana: :nananana: :nananana: :nananana: :nananana: :nananana: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:  Steve
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Offline Shawn

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #48 on: June 29, 2016, 11:07:26 pm »
Firstly….Kurt, Dave, Jim….just one first-timer’s opinion, but there was absolutely nothing the Rally Team could have done differently to make first-timers feel more welcome!  Here is why….

I am not discounting that some guys felt like they weren’t included in the groups rides, or felt on the outside looking in (that could just as easily been me), but as another first-timer to a National Rally, I had a completely different experience.  And let me first clarify by saying…I could have been in the right place at the right time ….it could have been that I was camping (and there always seemed to be someone leaving on a ride to somewhere)….it could be I’m friends with Fais  :rotflmao:…who knows.  I am not an over-friendly person, and as a first-timer, I didn’t expect that guys/gals were going to be jumping at the chance to ride with me.   Nobody, except Fais, knew anything about my riding skill, and I could understand why some would be hesitant.  Just like I was hesitant to ride with anyone I had never ridden with before.  We all know it’s a huge responsibility and I didn’t want to be a hazard to another rider and vice versa.  The point being is…I made up my mind on the way up to Helen that I was going to lay low the first day and do one or two routes by myself to get my feet wet.

That all changed when I stepped out of my tent first thing Monday morning.  It was either Phil or Bill that said….’we’re going up to ride the Dragon and Cherahola Skyway, let’s go’….and they were starting to gear-up.  I think they actually said…’do you want to go?, and although I had a lump in my throat, I sheepishly said ‘yes’ even though my brain wanted to say ‘no’.  I knew I was going to be out-skilled, out-experienced on roads I had never ridden, and out-ridden at every turn.  I was thinking to myself, WOW, my ‘Backyard Baptism’ is coming on the first day of the rally on the Dragon and CS with riders I have no business riding with…GREAT!  Again, this was not how I planned it.  After some deep breaths, I said I can do this.  I just kept reminding myself to ride my own ride, and I am grateful to Phil, Bill and Mark for letting me do that.  Even though it was hot (and not always safe to stop), they waited for me at every corner.  Because I got stuck behind a couple cagers, Phil (being lead) had to wait 35 minutes at one turn and never complained about it.  (Phil, I’m registered for RWTW and although I want to ride with you guys…I am putting all routes in my GPS….there will be no more waiting)

I was grateful they asked me and, in the end, I was very happy I said yes.  I finished the day in last place, but I didn’t fall down and discovered some important things.  Although it gave me confidence for the rest of the week, I realized I have a lot of work to do to become a better rider.

Another example…after rafting on Wednesday, I was tired and it was hot…I was riding 2-up and I knew I would feel more comfortable following someone that knew the route better than me.  I was a little reluctant at first to ask, but I knew Ted was heading back by himself.  Everyone was tired and I knew Ted probably didn’t want someone trailing him, but I decided to ask him anyway.  He couldn’t have been more gracious in saying ‘sure you can follow me’ and keeping it at a reasonable pace so I could keep him in sight.  He even waited several minutes while we finished gearing-up.  Thanks Ted, that was greatly appreciated. 
One more comment regarding the subject of COG being cliquish.  It’s nonsense!  16 and 17 year old girls in high school are cliquish!  Grown men that have belonged to COG for as many years as some of these guys, put in as many hours helping each other as these guys , have as many miles under them as these guys, and see each other sometimes only once a year (after even making it another year) is anything but a clique…..It’s a BROTHERHOOD.  I saw it first-hand last week.

Marty broke down and there was a team of guys getting his bike back to the campground.

Gary dislocated his shoulder rafting and there was immediate discussion about how to get him and his bike back home.

These are only two examples and I’m sure there are others I’m not aware of where COG members came together to help a fellow COGger and it didn’t matter who you were, or how long you’ve been around.

I was apprehensive about meeting folks I knew have been around a long time, but I did not meet one person on the COG leadership team, the Rally team, volunteers, or regular Members that were not extremely approachable, friendly, and thanked me for being there.

Great organization to be a part of!
I agree 100% with you Shawn.
Just don't have a clue how I missed meeting you there man :(
Maybe I was too busy riding  :motonoises:
Fixing the damn rear break :-[
and being flashed by Steve  :-\

Yeah, Carlyson, I was bummed I missed meeting several guys...you being one of them.  My time management skills at my first national was awful...I wanted to get to a couple of the tech sessions, but missed out.  I will look to improve on that in MO.  Will you be at RWTW?
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Offline Swampcat

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Re: Question and Observation about this years National
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2016, 01:00:38 am »
Other than the 2-Up and an RTE Thursday to discover that the restaurant wasn't open even though it was supposed to be (NOT the fault of the rally organizers!), I was pretty much a lone wolf all week. Some of that was by choice. Like TRM-KS commented (reply #36),
Quote
What I don't trust so much is my own skill level.  I kept telling myself "stay in control, lean the bike, turn your head, stay out of the ditch and for God's sake DON'T CROSS THE CENTERLINE."  I don't mind telling you, it was mentally challenging and a bit physically exhausting.
After far too much straight-line riding in Florida and a rough experience with a rented Vulcan Classic on the Dragon last year, I was concerned that I was going to really hold up anyone I tried to ride with, so I didn't actively seek out any groups. I probably wouldn't be comfortable with more than 2-3 others, anyway, so large groups would always be out.

Two other reasons contributed to not riding with others. My wife was along with me, and I was trying hard to make sure she had a good experience. She's got limited time riding pillion, has admitted she's not comfortable, and I was going to do everything I could to help her enjoy it even if it meant crawling around curves at idle speed (I didn't have to quite go that slowly). She was more relaxed and seemed to genuinely enjoy herself on the rides we took. The other reason was that I chose to stay at a different hotel than the recommended ones. I wasn't the only one at the Hampton, but it didn't prove conducive to meeting a lot of people and arranging to join a group.

I think the idea of having ways for riders who have similar styles and/or interests to connect at the event would help. If I could have found others not interested in peg dragging who wanted to get out for a 100 mile or so ride on Wednesday when my wife went hiking, I would have enjoyed the company. As it was, I had a good time on my own and could double back on GA528 after discovering it was a really fun ride for me. I didn't feel cheated by not having a true ride with a group, but it's an experience I would have liked to have had for my first National.
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