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Wednesday, 16 July 2014 06:00

Group Rides

columnist David PocockSo, you ride in a group this make you safe, or does it?

The group ride experience can be one of the great days of riding or, it can be a great disaster.  Much like solo riding, the possibility for either rests with you, unfortunately in the group setting there are others who can affect the outcome too. 

 

 

Here are some basics to keep in mind, these are for any size group be it two, twenty or more.  Also remember there will be some mention in your Province or States “Highway Traffic Act” that will state the maximum number of motorcycles allowed in a group.  Note: If you are in a Parade or a police escorted group all the rules change and they should be discussed at the pre-parade riders meeting.

Lane position:

The lead rider should always be offset from lane centre either left or right as for normal single rider travel, with everyone else staggered behind.  So, if the lead rider is left of centre, then number two will be to right of centre, with number three being behind the lead left of centre and so on through out the group.  A very important note here.  When you are riding in a group ride steady, do not weave back and forth, all it takes is a slight miscalculation, a small bit of gravel or even a slight imperfection in the road surface and you could go down and cause an accident.  Similarly, if the road surface changes, like from paved to packed (or not so packed) gravel, or rain, allow more space between you and the next rider and slow down.  Be aware of the riders in front and behind you no matter what surface you are on.

Spacing:

Always allow at least a two second gap between you and the person directly in front of you and a one second gap between you and the person who will be offset from you to the right or left.  It is a GOOD idea to establish the amount of space between riders at the start of the ride and then keep to that spacing (more on this later).

Pace:

Stay at, or below, the speed limit, you are already conspicuous, so speeding will only be more noticeable.  Again, at the start of the ride, especially with a new group of folk you’ve never ridden with before, talk about what speeds you feel comfortable with.  Once a speed is established, stick with it, and keep your spacing, avoid making like and accordion (spreading out and then bunching up) this will reduce stress and let everyone stay in their “Safety Zone”.    Lead riders, be courteous and do not do fast starts or sudden lane changes unless you really must.

Routes:

It is always good idea to have at least some idea of where the group wants to go.  Plan the ride, ride the plan.  But, as we all know on a bike the route can change for a variety of reasons, if it is a major change stop and talk about it.  If your ride is to be over several hours, or even days, make sure everyone knows where, and when, the rest and fuel stops will be, this is another stress reducer.  Even in groups of riders who know each other, knowing where and when you will stop allows folk to relax into the ride itself. 

Fuel:

Remember that not all bikes can travel the same distance on a given amount of fuel, even if all the bikes are the same (think rider size, and ability) and what group of riders, generally speaking, all ride exactly matched bikes, not many.  Don’t forget fuel for the riders too, food and fluids are very important to maintain alertness.

Signals:

I mention this last but it may be the most important aspect of riding in a group, no matter if it is a large or small group.  Make sure that everyone knows what the signals are and what they mean, there are several good illustrations to be found on the net here:   https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=motorcycle+group+riding+signals  However the group can make up their own if they wish just make sure everyone knows what they will mean.

As always, this is but a short and maybe incomplete list and I mean it only to start the conversation you will have with the rest of the folk you will ride with.

Ride safe!  We would rather talk to you, than about you.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 18 September 2014 21:42

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