As a general rule I don't typically ride with a lot of big groups. There are times when six or seven of us will head out on a tour together, but I enjoy riding alone just as much as riding with a friend or two.
A few years ago I was preparing for a 24 hour 1,000 mile ride and one of the recommendations was to use a Spot GPS unit to check in with organizers to confirm you were actually doing the milage. Although I originally purchased the device for that event, I've kept it and use it to let Sue know where I am and that I'm safe when I'm hundreds of miles away on the bike.
The unit allows you to send a text message and an email with a GPS map pinpointing your location to anyone you'd like. You can choose to send one or the other, but I have it set up to send both. This is the text message Sue gets when I'm out in the middle of nowhere:
The map in the email looks like this:
Because Sue knows I'll check in every couple of hours I'm on the road, she's less concerned about where I'm headed when I mount up and ride off on my own. Checking in is a matter of pushing a button, so it's pretty easy. Plus, she knows that if I get into trouble the SOS button will let emergency responders know I need help and exactly where to send it.
Although I've never had to use the SOS button, over 5,000 rescues have been made because the device made it easier for emergency responders to find people with the device.
It will also leave breadcrumbs along your route if you choose that option and gives you the opportunity to send an additional message I have set as an, "I'm stranded and you need to come get me," message for when I need help but it's not an emergency. I've never had to use that message either, but it's nice to know it's there if I ever should.
It's probably a little overkill, but it gives Sue some peace of mind when I'm on the road by myself and it's another layer of insurance should something go wrong.
It sends a ping to the nearest satellite, so it's not dependent upon cell service. In addition to sending a text and email to Sue, I send one to myself to confirm it's working.
The unit I have is the Spot2, but they've added and improved later models over the years.
Be aware, that in addition to purchasing the device, you'll need to subscribe to the GPS service to activate it and use it. I figure even 50 or 60 miles alone out on a desert road can be pretty far if you get injured and may as well be 1,000 miles depending on the conditions, so I've kept it on my bike for several years.
Spot makes it easy to program your messages and keep track of your devices if you have more than one.