Riding Skills Series: Group Study

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Riding Skills Series: Group Study

#1 Post by MistrissKittie » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:07 pm

How to keep a group ride from turning into a melee

1. Going on a group ride with your favorite motorcycling friends can provide some of the best fun to be found on a bike. The fun of strafing apexes with your buddies is like nothing else-as long as you're all on the same wavelength. There are some basic things you can do to ensure no one in your group is caught off-guard or confused if a situation arises.

First of all, talk about the ride before heading out; let everyone know the final destination, and any gas stations you plan to stop at. If you feel like cruising, tell the others to wait for you at intersections. Familiarize everyone with hand signals you might want to use, and always ride in single file or staggered formations, so that each rider can use most of the lane while cornering.
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2. If you're with a large group riding in town, make sure everyone is aware of cars around them in case one needs to cut into the group to make a turn. If you're at the front of a group of riders, and notice debris or hazards on the road that the riders behind you will need to avoid, lift your leg off the footpeg or extend your arm downward to warn them. Each rider should then repeat the signal to those following. It's common practice to signal on the side where the hazard exists, but sometimes there may be one on both sides (like rocks in the road, etc.). This is why it's always best to keep enough distance behind the rider in front of you so you'll have adequate time to take evasive action, while still keeping the leading riders in your line of sight (so that you'll be able to see their warning signals).
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3. Only pass within the group when you're asked to, and always pass to the left of the rider ahead. Making an unexpected pass more often than not will spook the rider you're passing, which can result in a crash and injury to one or both of you. The rider in this photo is shown waving the rider behind him to go ahead and pass, giving someone else the chance to lead the group. If you don't like the pace someone is running, either back off and slot yourself toward the rear of the group, or be patient until they wave you by. If you can't follow, how do you expect someone to follow you? Again, give the rider in front of you plenty of room, and wait periodically for any rider in the group who is not able to keep up. If you haven't seen him in your mirrors for five minutes, pull over or slow down until you do.
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4. Accidents usually happen when riders become competitive within their own group. Trying to show what a stud rider you are by practically running in the lead rider's draft and trying to "fill his mirrors" is a sure way to cause a pileup if the lead rider makes an unexpected move or mistake. There are too many variables and not enough room to use the street as your own private racetrack. Also, riding in a competitive nature invariably ratchets up the pace at a constant rate, until you end up riding far too quickly for the street. Ride at a pace where the speeds are still fun, but the competitiveness is absent.

Half the fun of this sport is enjoying it with other people who share a common interest, and it's even better when you form a cohesive group of riders who can anticipate and predict each other's actions.
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Courtesy of Sport Rider Magazine
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#2 Post by Jezebel » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:06 am

Damn - that last dude is gettin' run over by like five bikes... ouch!
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#3 Post by Big Cory » Fri Oct 27, 2006 6:12 am

He must be SBF doing sit down wheelies over his friend. That happens all the time, lol

Good article Mandy. Do you ladies have a road captain that plans out and controls the rides you do?

On our big rides , we have about 6 and they are really good and keeping us together
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#4 Post by MistrissKittie » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:35 am

No Road CapT'n. Each month our ride is held by a different member. Its there job to keep everyone informed of the route and stops. We have a sweeper, as well as hand radio's. We split into seperate groups if we have lots of riders, or fell we have seperate paces to take.
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#5 Post by Big Cory » Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:19 am

MistrissKittie wrote:No Road CapT'n. Each month our ride is held by a different member. Its there job to keep everyone informed of the route and stops. We have a sweeper, as well as hand radio's. We split into seperate groups if we have lots of riders, or fell we have seperate paces to take.
Do you ladies ride staggered or side by side?
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#6 Post by MistrissKittie » Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:40 am

We do know how to ride in group formation, So that would be staggered. Side by side is annoying. Thats my space so don't get in it.

Plus according to DMV when riding with multiple people your suppose to be in staggered formation.
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#7 Post by Flap » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:09 am

Staggered is the correct way to go until you hit the twisties, then it should be a single line to give everybody the maximum space possible. In case somebody looses grip or their line it can be deadly to remain in a staggered formation, consider the difference of effectiveness of brakes on different bike models, too (plus the riders capability to use them when the shit hits the fan).

Safety distance, I am glad it got mentioned! I hate it when people trail me to closely, if I make a mistake I have to not only handle my own bikes reactions but also have to think of them maybe not being able to stop in time, hitting me and therefore "killing" my corrective actions anyways.

One thing usually missing is that the strongest bikes and riders should be at the end so the pace does not get determined by them, but by the weakest bikes/riders in the group.

Great post, Mandy!
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#8 Post by MistrissKittie » Sat Oct 28, 2006 6:48 am

Flap wrote:Staggered is the correct way to go until you hit the twisties, then it should be a single line to give everybody the maximum space possible. In case somebody looses grip or their line it can be deadly to remain in a staggered formation, consider the difference of effectiveness of brakes on different bike models, too (plus the riders capability to use them when the shit hits the fan).

Safety distance, I am glad it got mentioned! I hate it when people trail me to closely, if I make a mistake I have to not only handle my own bikes reactions but also have to think of them maybe not being able to stop in time, hitting me and therefore "killing" my corrective actions anyways.

One thing usually missing is that the strongest bikes and riders should be at the end so the pace does not get determined by them, but by the weakest bikes/riders in the group.

Great post, Mandy!
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+10 on that girl!! I've ran into some past experiences with those situations. Which is why I'm trying to post up useful information!! I will continue to post articles like these!!

But yes, when hitting the corners staggared no longer applies.
Last edited by MistrissKittie on Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#9 Post by Big Cory » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:45 am

Well I am sure you have seen us ride. We ride, side by side and inches away from each other and we never have problems. I dont recommend it for everyone but we are so use to it, I cant imagine riding any other way.

The weak dictate the pace. That is very interesting. Again, we dont do it that way. We have all the vets together and the prospects and new riders in the back because the way we ride , we have to be able to trust each other and that trust is earned.

I guess we are just a backwards club, lol


Staggered makes the most sense for safety.
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#10 Post by Flap » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:09 am

Where does the trust go when a tire goes flat? What does trust do, if the pothole is big enough to make the rider next to you swerve? How about trust on loose gravel, sand or dirt on the roads (especially in turns)? What if the car next to you swerves?

And the group thing:
I am assuming that Mandy talks about the situation when a group decides to ride together. Of course any group can be subdivided in different smaller ones according to their skills, but if the group stays together as a whole then the above mentioned does apply.
I don't invite beginners to a group ride and tell them to "meet us at the destination", because then I don't need to invite them for the ride at all, I might as well tell them to meet us somewhere, have a coffee together and then split again.

If I want to ride at MY pace I ride by myself or with proficient riders only who will be able to handle the idea of "speed safely". :mrgreen:
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#11 Post by Big Cory » Sat Oct 28, 2006 10:59 am

Flap wrote:Where does the trust go when a tire goes flat? What does trust do, if the pothole is big enough to make the rider next to you swerve? How about trust on loose gravel, sand or dirt on the roads (especially in turns)? What if the car next to you swerves?

And the group thing:
I am assuming that Mandy talks about the situation when a group decides to ride together. Of course any group can be subdivided in different smaller ones according to their skills, but if the group stays together as a whole then the above mentioned does apply.
I don't invite beginners to a group ride and tell them to "meet us at the destination", because then I don't need to invite them for the ride at all, I might as well tell them to meet us somewhere, have a coffee together and then split again.

If I want to ride at MY pace I ride by myself or with proficient riders only who will be able to handle the idea of "speed safely". :mrgreen:
I didnt say it made sense, I said it is the way we do it. Doing wheelies across the bay bridege doesnt make sense but we still do it. I never said we were the safest club.

By the way, I am not talking about, lets go cruising rides. I am talking about point A to point B rides. It is ours clubs rule to ride side by side in a tight formation. It aint for everyone but we do it just fine. Havent had one incident yet.

We stay in formation on Highway turns but if we were doing twisties, of course we would not be side by side

Every time you got on your rocket and sped down the autobahn you could have wrecked, got a flat tire, hit a pot hole and wiped out a minivan full of kids but you did it anyway.

We all choose what we feel is safe or not safe.
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#12 Post by Big Cory » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:06 pm

Sorta Like this.
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#13 Post by Flap » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:32 pm

Well, that does clearly look staggered to me, not side by side. :LoL
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#14 Post by Big Cory » Sat Oct 28, 2006 3:28 pm

that is just the camera angle, trust me, we ride side by side.

And if that was just SBF in the picture, there would be about 30 more bikes in the same amount of space, 8)
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#15 Post by Flap » Sat Oct 28, 2006 4:07 pm

BigCorySBFMC707 wrote:that is just the camera angle, trust me, we ride side by side.
Hahaha, I know, I was trying to pull your leg a little... :mrgreen:
BigCorySBFMC707 wrote:And if that was just SBF in the picture, there would be about 30 more bikes in the same amount of space, 8)
Nice! I used to love riding with my boys from the 12-riders team, we were always between 35 and 55 bikes, depending on attendance. When the first ones drove already out of countryside towns the last ones were just about to enter it, loved it. Big bikes with big sound, something I'll never forget, and all of them very fast and proficient riders, we hauled ass on the roads. Well, that is history for me now. :cry:
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