Often people think what can they do to extend their motorcycle riding fun. Just going for senseless rides is not the way to go. Group rides are fine, but what about volunteering for one of the many local sports events.
Many sports events, like bicycles, marathon, triathlon and other road races require escorts (the motorcycle kind – wink wink), often by motorcycles. The escort duty can be marshaling, in other words having an “official” as pillion who has to ensure that no one cheats and that all rules are respected, or to ride around with a press photographer as pillion, or just as safety motorcycle, making sure that all participants can race in safety.
It’s great fun, and you are actually in the middle of the sports event. A bit like being able to run around the football field during the Superbowl.
But riding your motorcycle in a sports event does require a certain ability and experience. You’ll need to be able to ride real slowly, since often the race participants will be slow (like running), or even when it’s a bicycle race, imagine riding up a steep mountain following a cyclist. You’ll be doing only several miles per hour with a pillion sitting behind you moving around to take photos.
And when you’re not going very slow, you’re going very fast, for example, when following cyclist going down a mountain. Bicycles can go around those corners often faster than motorcycles, so you’ll need all your wits and abilities to do the same, but in this case having a 6.4” 300 pounds gorilla sitting behind you shifting around.
You also need to keep in control of your motorcycle, since often you’ll be inches away from the race participants who are jockeying to get into a better position.
But despite the challenges, it’s fun to ride as an escort service for race events. It gives a feeling of accomplishment; 1) from helping people compete in a sports event and 2) for riding your motorcycle for a good reason.
To find out where you can volunteer for escort duty, check your local bicycle race or running organizations. They usually subcontract to a local group that escorts their races. Or you can check with the Purple Wing organization in the USA who organize many race escorts. There’s a calendar of events on their site, so you can quickly see which races are of interest to you.
Do make sure that the organization you select will evaluate you, or even train you for the event, and always ask what the insurance issues are. Usually the organization is insured in case of an accident. If not, check your insurer if you are insured. Imagine the financial consequences of crashing into participants, with a TV camera operator with full $100,000 equipment sitting behind you.
Make sure that the organization will give you the appropriate clothing, like safety-vests.
Also make sure your bike is appropriate for escorting events. For example, they’ll never accept a motorcycle with loud pipes (for obvious reasons).
Who knows, maybe you’ll become a professional, escorting races like the Tour de France bicycle race?