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Excuses for being the slow rider

How to save face as the last rider

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Every group of riders has someone who is slower than the others which can be embarrassing if it’s you …l unless you have a good excuse!

When I ride with other motorcycle journos on a press launch for a new model, I’m usually the last in because I’m slower than most others.

It should be noted that many of them are ex-racers.

So when I roll into a scheduled stop several minutes after the others, I’m usually prepared with a good excuse for being slow.

My favoured excuse is: “I stopped to take a photo of the bike at that spectacular lookout about 5km back.”

The other journos often nod as if that’s a plausible reason. But it wears thin after a while, so I’ve come up with a few others over the years.

When I ride with my mates, I’m usually one of the fastest and it’s someone else coming up with excuses for being the last to then scheduled stop.

So I’ve given and heard my fair share of good and bad excuses for being the slow rider.Group riding

You may recognise some of the excuses in this list and you are welcome to use them:

I had to make a comfort stop.

That’s a plausible excuse, especially for men who can relieve themselves just about anywhere. The excuse is easier to believe the older you get, too!

I thought I was supposed to be tail-end Charlie.

Dubious excuse unless the ride has been badly organised.

I had some sort of electrical fault and the engine kept cutting out.

The trouble with this one is that the backyard mechanics in your group will try to solve the problem or even worse, they will offer to ride your bike to sort it out. You can back it up with “It seems to have come good again.” However, you now have no excuses left.

I was enjoying the scenery so much, I had to slow down and absorb it.

Only a good excuse if the scenery really is spectacular.

Did any of you guys run into that mob of (insert wildlife or livestock here)?

This is a great excuse as the other riders will then launch into anecdotes about their own misadventures with stray livestock or wildlife and forget just how lame your excuse is.

Sorry guys, I copped a speeding fine last week and I’m down to one point, so I’m taking it easy for a while.

An acceptable and oft-used excuse, but it has its time limitations and eventually you will have to pick up the pace again.

Do you have any other excuses you’d like to share? Leave your comments below.

If you eventually run out of excuses, then it’s either time to get some rider training or find another group of riders closer to our riding style, skill and speed!


    1. I ride mostly solo…
      Riding with guys for whom each ride is often an exercise in speed isn’t for me…
      I’m usually carrying kilos of Canon Camera gear and very much prefer to ride to suit myself…stop wherever and whenever and as long as I like…
      Solo avoids the complaints

  1. My excuse is “I ride my own ride” so if that is slower than the rest at least i should keep the shiny side up.

  2. “My flux-gate-capacitor slipped out of alignment !”
    “I spotted a $20 note on the side of the road a ways back – and went back to get it !”
    “I was singing along with a great song – playing on my bluetooth headset, and just lost track of EVERYTHING else !”
    “Didn’t you guys see the blonde sunbaking topless by that stream ?!?!?”
    “The Illudium Q36 explosive space modulator fell off – I had to go back and get it !”

  3. I think this article is mostly tongue in cheek (‘cus excuses are weak as we all know) but I’m at least slower than average in my group, if not last pulling in. Thing is, most of our rides are weekend rides hundreds of miles from home so there’s just no way I’m willing to crash. And when did it become the rule that everyone has to always be riding as fast as the can? Sometimes it’s nice to go 3/4 pace, relax, take the turns at a decent speed but still enjoy the views. 🙂

  4. This is wonderul and I’d love to use it in MAG’s magazine The ROAD which I edit – is that OK? I rode my Harley to Mali in 2008 with a bunch of GS riders who couldn’t believe I was coming with them on a Dynaglide. I take the view that anyone who rides faster than me is a lunatic and anyone who gets overtaken by me is parked. One of the other guys on the trip was an IAM instructor who got me out on an instructional ride with him back in the UK months later. “Why didn’t you overtake that truck ?” he asked. “I didn’t feel like it.” I replied. I deeply resent people who ride faster than me which is everyone, so I always ride alone. An association with speed is the worst thing that ever happened to motorcycling. Motorcycles should be a means to discovering this world not a short cut to the next.

  5. Yep. I ride at the speed I’m comfortable with. If the people you ride with aren’t happy, find other people to ride with. The absolutely wrong action is to be riding beyond you or your bike’s capability. And I’m old – “You see old and you see bold but you rarily see old bold”

  6. So lets get this in perspective, there should be no pressure to ride beyond your experience and comfort levels, that’s how people get hurt.

    A well run group ride should state that at the begining. There should be adequate corner marking and a sweep rider to ensure no one gets lost.

    If you are so much slower say 10 minutes behind everyone else you are riding with, you are with the wrong group and need to pick a more appropriate group of riding buddies. If your skill levels and confidence are lacking you can book in for some training which is worth it for your own benefit anyway. Never too old to learn.

  7. I’m slow, my track times prove it and I’ve only won one race in 10 years. I ride within my skill set on the street and track and feel no need to apologize. Release your ego – you’ll live longer.

  8. I just came across this list of excuses and was amazed by its contents. I have always been a slow rider but now that I know about the many reasons why people are slow riders, I feel better prepared to handle my situation positively. This is such an important topic for me because it makes me realize how much effort and patience it takes to ride at my own pace without being disturbed or stressed out by other road users around me who drive too fast.

  9. I have been riding for 2 years now but still, I am a slow rider. After reading this piece of content I am amazed at how perfectly you have elaborated on this issue. One of the reasons this is one of the issues that matters the most to me is that it helps me understand how much work and endurance it takes to ride at my own pace without being bothered or stressed out by other road users who drive too fast around me.

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