When riding on your own motorcycle you have the choice to take breaks when you want, the route you like and go at your own pace. Whereas riding with others is a shared experience.
Personally, I’m not a massive fan of riding in a big group. I like to make last minute changes to my route and have cafe breaks whenever I fancy. This is fine when there are two or three of you but when that number grows, its not quite as easy to be spontaneous. Saying that I have been on many group rides, working in the motorcycle industry and they can be a lot of fun. When you go out in a large group there are certain things that need to be in place in order for the ride to be successful, and most importantly safe.
What Should You Pre Plan?
Before setting off on the ride there need to be a few points decided on, this doesn’t have to be mega formal, but a chat which everyone is involved in. The areas to cover include:
1. What’s the route?
2. Where is the cafe stops?
3. What is the destination?
4. Is there a group leader?
5. Is there a tail rider?
6. Does everyone have phones and each other numbers?
All riders need to be confident that they have the answers to each of these questions and everyone is in agreement.
Keep It Together
As you probably guessed, going on a group ride means you kind of need to stay together! Or at least try. A good tip to keep the group as a unit is for each rider to be responsible for the person behind. This means one person doesn’t have the weight of the world on their shoulders, each rider will have their own task of keeping an eye of the person behind.
Mirrors should be used at all times away, but especially when riding together. If someone disappears from your mirror you know there’s an issue. It has the domino effect, if one rider is lost behind the next will stop, and the one after will then stop and so on. This tactic should ensure everyone has at least one person watching over them in case of any problems.
Keeping your distance from other riders and vehicles is always a must. When you’re riding behind another bike, it can be easy to creep up on them without realizing you’re doing it. Especially if you’re following directly behind the leader of the group. They could miss a turning and slam on or try to make a tight corner. So make a conscious effort to stay right back, when following another bike. It’s easy to start daydreaming when in a convoy.
It’s pretty common for riders to accelerate on the straights and slow just before the corners. The thing is, while you’re in a group the corners aren’t quite as easy to spot. They can creep up on you fast. If you have got carried away with riding to the pace of the group they might catch you off guard.
It’s a good idea for riders to know some basic hand signals. It’s unlikely if you are riding as a big group, everyone will have connected communication devices. It’s best to be able to sign to your group if you’re pulling over, or if you need a fuel stop. Before setting off on your ride, check that you all know these:
Below are a few points to keep in mind when deciding on your road position on a ride:
✓ Staggered riding is a great way to give sufficient distance between riders. There should be enough space and enough time to react in a hazard.
✓ Riding side by side is not advised. If you need to swerve out of danger and you’re next to someone, you could smash straight into the side of your friend!
✓ Riders on the same line should have at least 2 seconds between them.
Thanks for reading this article from the UK’s leading bike trader, We Buy Any Bike article, if you think of anything to add please add it in the comments below!