So, it’s Saturday and one thing I can usually say about the weekend, I’ll be riding somewhere. As I’m scrolling through one of the riding groups’ pages, I see a few of my friends are getting together at the Barnyard for the short ride to ‘nowhere.’ Nothing sparks more curiosity than a ride to nowhere and knowing my riding buddies, that trip to nowhere will involve a meal somewhere along the way. History tells me this will result in an exhausting, timeless and frustrating struggle of deciding where are we going to eat. In my ongoing effort to help my fellow bikers through such difficult times with my educational research, I’ve found some aids that might help ease this decision making process.

You’ve been there. Standing with a group of riding buddies trying to decide where to ride for lunch. Everyone knows about hundreds of “things” they want, but they have no idea what to eat at this moment?! Turns out it’s a pretty fundamental decision-making problem. Why is this decision difficult? There’s a deadline and deadlines do funny things to my brain. This deadline is not just an imaginary place in time, but one I can feel. I’m hungry, and my stomach is sending this message to my brain: eat something, or I’ll die. Now, I’m not actually going to die, but my mind is finding new ways to make the decision more complicated, like determining what nutrients it needs and comparing tastes. Well, I might be exaggerating the nutrients part. Not only that, things get pretty complicated because I’m with at least two or three other people going through the same process! I suggest pizza, but Pokey just had that last night. Wild Bill and Angie recommend Chinese, but Doc and Fireball are planning on having Chinese later in the day. By now, I’m fantasying how the others would taste with ranch dressing. Sorry, I recently watched “Silence of the Lambs.”  Ima Tao Hungry, Ph.D. at Psycho Central explains “your mind goes over all of your tasty options, and your brain worries itself over whether you’ll make the “wrong” choice. It’s like watching an old Cheech and Chong movie where Chong is a contestant on ‘Let’s make a Deal’ and can’t choose which door he wants to open! Unfortunately, you can’t have it all. Unless you go to a buffet.”

How can we at least narrow down this life-changing decision? First, let’s decide what we don’t want. Everyone knows when something doesn’t sound that great, so we can save ourselves a whole lot of work by having Pokey, Wild Bill and Angie, Doc, and Fireball eliminate what they aren’t “in the mood for.”  Consider each other’s food goals. Is anyone on a diet? I might add, don’t ask. Are there any plant connoisseurs in the group (ok, I could’ve just said vegetarians)? Does Pokey, Angie or Fireball refuse to eat bread? Would anyone ever want to be faced with a decision to answer this relationship breaker question ‘Does this dress make my b**t look big? No significant other would ever answer that question! Second, how far does everyone want to ride? I suggest no one should ever ask me that question. Does someone have a time limit? Again, don’t ask me that question. Do you have transportation? If you’re not riding ‘B****’ or don’t have your own bike, answer no. Are there good options within walking distance? (pretend you hear a needle scratching across a vinyl record) Who slipped this question in here?! Thirdly, look ahead. When it’s over, will you be glad you ate there? Was that large order of nachos with extra jalapeno peppers necessary? Did you really need that additional order of wings with teriyaki sauce? Will you feel sorry for throwing down 20 bucks for a round of Fireball for everyone? Picture yourself after the meal and really think about how you’ll think about singing “Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea Yeah, Pepto Bismol.”

Last but not least and probably the best option for groups of 3 or more persons that can’t make up their mind, and all decide to eat each other is the diplomatic option. For this option, it’s important to follow each step very carefully. Again, elimination of the number of people deciding where to eat is of utmost importance. Bobby of Will, Cheatem, and Howe says developing a ‘Right to Waiver” to keep things moving while being diplomatic is number one on the list. What list? The list written by ‘they say.’ The waiver might look something like this:

‘Members of a group can waive their right to make a decision or give input. You will not be allowed to choose a dish, the place to eat, type of meat you want, how spicy something is, etc. You have absolutely no say. You can’t even comment on other people’s decision.’

With a witness present, utter the words “I, [state your name] under my own free will and without threat or coercion, at this moment waive my right to decide where or what we eat for lunch.” Of course, this rule can be modified to suit a groups idiosyncrasy. You can still choose your meal, but the idea is that Pokey or Wild Bill and Angie have voluntarily given up their say and have to live with the consequences. Another option to invoke is the ‘3/1 Compromise’. With this option, the first person to speak up and declare “I’m invoking the 3/1 Compromise” becomes “The Great Compromiser.” The Great Compromiser presents three different options to the group. No disputes to these options will be tolerated! No one can say “But I just had burgers yesterday.” It doesn’t matter! Eat it again! This is why it’s called a compromise. All the group members must select one of the three options for dinner or be forced to draw straws, from caucuses, or battle it out like two women having a catfight in a parking lot.

In my ongoing effort to help my fellow bikers through such difficult times with my educational research, the aids that have been outlined here will ease the ‘Where do we want to eat ‘decision-making process. Arrive at your next group ride confident that an informed decision on where to eat can be made in record time! You’re welcome.

Until next time, Ride safe, Ride Often!