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Come Ride With Me - Basics To A Successful Group Motorcycle Ride
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Come Ride With Me       -       Basics to A Successful Group Motorcycle Ride

Many seasoned motorcycle riders can successfully navigate any road but can they safely ride within a group? You would be surprised at how many do not know the basic rules, conduct and etiquette needed to participate in, organize or lead and organized ride. Well with the following tips anyone should be able to handle participating or organizing a .

Etiquette

It is considered bad form to show up for a ride late, not gassed up and/or ill prepared. Make sure you have a full tank (not including the gas used to get to the meeting place), wearing proper safety gear and having done a proper pre-ride inspection of your bike. There's nothing worse than delaying a ride caused by avoidable obstacles.

Organization

Most would argue that organizing a group ride is the most important aspect of conducting a successful road trip and they may be right but within that, the most important thing is to make sure everyone arrives and arrives safely. As a rule most rides are manageable with between 5-10 participants but can quickly rise above 20 especially if you belong to a riding group or motorcycle club. In which case you will need very detailed plans and rules. So when organizing make sure you have:

  1. Meeting place large enough for expected group. Empty parking lots should be 1st choice but any large meeting area will suffice.
  2. Determine destination or mileage goal. When doing so make sure you keep the riders in mind. Organizing a marathon run may not be a good fit for inexperienced riders.
  3. Factor in rest stops if it going to be a long ride. Not all riders can put in as much saddle time at once but also not all bikes have the same fuel capacity. fuel and rest is essential. I usually allot for a 15 minute stop every 150 miles or 2.5hrs.
  4. Timing. Make sure if you have a specific time to reach your destination that you leave at a time where you will not have to break speeding laws to arrive at that time.
  5. Road Captain's (leaders, tail gunners and enforcers) - Determine how many seasoned Road Captain's you will need depending on how large your group will be. Generally You would want a leader, a tail gunner and what I call an "enforcer" (groups 20 or larger staggered every tenth rider). The pace is generally set by the leader who is in continual contact with all other Road Captain's.

Hand Signals

Hand signals beyond the standard "right turn", "left turn" and "stop" have been the topic of many disagreements in the different biker communities around the world. EVERYONE should know the basic hand signals set forth by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation however, organizers and Road Captain's should always brief riders on which hand signals will be used on any particular ride. Once the lead Road Captain signals by hand then the signal should be followed by all riders so it filters to the riders at the rear.

Formation

In most states it is illegal (or frowned upon) for bikes to ride side by side in one lane of traffic. Whether it's legal or not you really don't want to make ridin that way a habit. It reduces reaction space/time and could cause an accident. Riders should ride on the left or right 1/3 of a lane with a 2 second cushion of space between them and the rider 2 bikes in front of them (1 second behind the bike directly in front to the left or right depending on their position in the lane). Respect everyone's space and never do anything that may put a fellow rider in any danger. Trikes, sidecar bikes or any three or four wheel machines should always ride in the center of the lane.

The only exception to riding staggered would be on turns with limited visibility. It is also on to sit side by side at traffic lights, in most jurisdictions but you might want to check with your local area. This helps to bring the formation tight and less opportunity for cagers to cut into the formation once the light turns green. Oh and speaking of green lights, IT IS ILLEGAL EVERYWHERE TO STOP CROSS TRAFFIC AT INTERSECTIONS OR HIGHWAY ENTRANCE IN ORDER FOR YOUR PARTICIPANTS TO STAY TOGETHER! If you think this may be the case then break your ride up into smaller sections and meet up at pre-determined rest stops or the final destination.

As an added note, if you have inexperienced riders or riders who are inexperienced with group rides, pair them with experienced riders so they can watch and learn. Also if separate clubs or organizations are a part of your ride, encourage their leadership to be responsible for the inexperienced riders.

Hopefully this article helps you get your wheels turning to head down the road. Remember, recognize etiquette being on time gassed up and having done the proper T-CLOCS inspection. Organize thoroughly, enforce using hand signals throughout the ride, and always ride in formation.

Until next time...

...LET YOUR SPEED FREAK LOOSE ON THE WORLD!!!


Street Talk

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