Mostly I ride alone too, for the same reason, no one to ride with and cell-phones and gps receivers make it safer. But cell-phone coverage in SE BC is very sketchy and GRS/FRS radios are only good for short distances. They work good for a close-by group, but not for a longer range call outside the group because even if the signal gets through, no one is listening.
I have been a licensed amateur radio operator for most of my life. Even in remote BC (and I'm sure in other countries) there are dozens of high-power ham VHF repeaters installed on mountain tops and the coverage is hundreds of miles. They're considered old-style in this computer age, but they have some major advantages.
An example is this mountain near my home, the elevation is about 7000 feet, and our local club repeater is at this location and it can be received in 2 provinces and 3 US States. Also, repeaters can be linked and patched to systems that allow even world-wide communications from a tiny hand-held radio.
This is my daughter and I on a recent trip a few years ago to Mount Baker. The actual radio club repeater is just off-screen to our left and it's a high powered repeater capable of covering a radius of 200 miles or so, and easily accessible from almost any point in the Columbia Valley as well as parts of southern Alberta and the norther tips of Montana, Idaho and Washington.
Even in the most remote and isolated areas a signal can usually be found by gaining some elevation or just moving a few yards. All ham repeaters here have landline auto-patch which means a ham in a remote spot can key up a repeater with a hand-held radio and access a telephone autopatch to make phone calls on the repeater landline system without any help or intervention from anyone else. The advantage of the system is it works without anybody else listening.
It's important here...there are only a few small towns far apart, very few people and on most rides you never see another person. When I say remote, I mean you are truly on your own.
It's a sure fire and dependable method although it's not suited to communications to a riding group unless they are all licensed, but for emergency medium-range communications to the outside world, it can't be beat and just having one licensed ham in the group will add to the security.
My transceiver is about the size of a small cell-phone, always charged and packed in my kit. It rarely gets used unless there is a serious problem.
Here's a shot of my XT500 on the top of Hall Mountain a few years back...about 8000' AMSL. On that day I phoned my wife using the VE7CAP repeater 40 miles away, and then contacted other far away repeaters directly and chatted with hams in Spokane, Alberta, Idaho and Montana..for them, I was considered "DX", (a rare and far away station) and I attracted lots of interest and that was fun.
It's easy to get a basic ham-license in almost any country these days, and it's worth it to have an independent, free and robust radio system, non-profit and with no reliance on commercial digital systems or the internet. I you're a ham, you OWN the system.
You can expand the features including using a system called APRS where your location and movement is transfered to the internet and available to an ordinary browser which is a great resource if you don't show up at home.
It's not only for emergencies...it adds to the fun of climbing a mountain...the higher you go the more range you have and you can chat and make new friends on repeaters hundreds of miles away with a tiny radio and just 2 watts of RF power and a 5 inch antenna.
Like I say, it's old-fashioned tech now, and I use my iphone more than anything
, but it's always given me a feeling of security knowing that no-matter where I go on my bike, there is always a more wide ranging option than frs/grs or cell-phones.