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#1 Unread post by sapaul » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:09 am

So, we are putting together a skills set for leaders and Tail end charlies. A list of do's and dont's. What do you like to see on the group rides, what do not like. What are absolute musts.
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#2 Unread post by Sev » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:20 am

I really like to see the leader ask everyone that was following if they were having any problems keeping up at the first stop. Other then that, it's pretty much all good.
Of course I'm generalizing from a single example here, but everyone does that. At least I do.

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#3 Unread post by Lion_Lady » Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:51 pm

For the ana-retentive:
1. Go over some basic hand signals.

2. Give a rough explanation of route/what to expect on route (any unusal terrain, etc.).

3. Show of hands, who's carrying a first aid kit and/or has first aid training (so everyone knows who to go to if something happens).

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#4 Unread post by blues2cruise » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:58 pm

Here are the group riding guidelines for the Southern Cruisers riding club.

There are chapters all over the place.

http://www.southerncruisers.net/ridingrules.htm
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#5 Unread post by sapaul » Tue Mar 14, 2006 5:29 am

Thanks guy's, I need all the help I can get. Interesting to see some guy's using radio's. Nobody employs that system here. We also have a unique group ride in that we split the pack into two groups. A slow group and a fast group. One of the needs for the program is how to handle these slower riders who want to come up to the fast group. We have so many riders turning up these days that we do not know all of them. On top of that we are getting an increasing amount of guest riders on non BMW bikes.
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#6 Unread post by 2wheel » Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:29 pm

Ride in a stagard format, not side by side. Single file through any corners!
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#7 Unread post by V4underme » Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:57 am

Good spacing between bikes, it helps avoid an ugly domino effect if something goes wrong near the front of the group.

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#8 Unread post by scan » Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:08 am

Lion_Lady wrote:For the ana-retentive:
1. Go over some basic hand signals.

2. Give a rough explanation of route/what to expect on route (any unusal terrain, etc.).

3. Show of hands, who's carrying a first aid kit and/or has first aid training (so everyone knows who to go to if something happens).

P
This is the bomb! I wish when I went on my first ride they would have done this - but there was about 8 of us, and 6 guys knew each other very well. I guess they thought the other new guy and I would catch on.

In reality, I almost lost them and the other new guy crashed trying to keep up. I think there needs to be a tail guy, who knows exactly where the lead guy is going. He needs to keep the back of the pack safe and as slow as they need to go. And take some breaks along the way and trade tail duty so the more experienced guys don't have to get board baby-sitting.
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#9 Unread post by ZooTech » Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:37 pm

RULE #1 - Ride Your Own Ride!!!

Worth mentioning:

- Hand signals, especially the "one up" signal used to notify riders to ride single file when approaching twisties.

- Don't become "glued" to the group. If you do, a pile-up is eminent if a traffic light goes yellow after part of the group has already gone through. One law-abider will stop for the red and will get rear-ended by the bungie bikers behind them.

- Maintain clearance between you and the bike ahead of you.

- Most experienced rider up front, 2nd most experienced at the tail. Least experienced rider should ride directly behind the leader.


That's all for now.
Last edited by ZooTech on Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#10 Unread post by scan » Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:01 pm

That's great Zoo. I agree, especially about the whole "glued" thing.

Another thing is making clear the adherence to law, or not. When I rode with this group they certainly did not adhere to the speed laws, which was not a problem to me. They also did not honor the no passing areas, with which I did have a problem. At one point the tail guy, who had passed me due to slowness in some corners, had to drop back to try to get me to pass a car in a long no passing zone. Had I known they would be breaking that rule, I might have passed on joining them at all.

So anyway, I was outclassed in terms of cornering and speed skills, and I was the extra wheel in that sense. If someone would have be clear and truthful about the kind of riding to be done, I might have passed - saving me some scares and them the bordom of me dragging them down.
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#11 Unread post by sapaul » Thu Mar 16, 2006 10:52 am

Much appreciated, all good advice. I can see that we are going to need to differentiate between groups. For example, TEC on the slow group may well get bored as he will be babysitting to a degree, the TEC on the fast group better have some skills because with the concertina effect of the faster riders, he is going to be the quickest.

A rule we are trying to implement is the following:

"Do not turn unless you can see the rider behind you and you know he has seen which way you have gone"

We have re group points on all our rides but this rule is being very difficult to enforce. We have the rule to allow every one to ride their own ride and at a comfortable pace, this leads to an elongated pack over a couple of KM's but we often find a rider stopped at a junction who does not know which way to turn and then everyone ends up waiting for the TEC. The leader then ends up waiting at the re group point for this group to catch up.
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#12 Unread post by Runswalking » Thu Mar 16, 2006 8:56 pm

All good stuff so far, only a couple of things I don't agree with from my experience. Who would want to follow the leader 1 after the other like ducks? I wouldn't want to have to worry about an inexperienced rider trying to keep up with me from 2nd place. We don't bunch up....no staggering ect. We ride our own ride with a leader out front. He picks the roads and turns. The last is who ever happens to be last. At every road turn (intersection) the 1st rider waits until the next guy gets there before he can leave. That guy leaves when the next guy gets there until everyone's past that turn. This lets everyone ride there ride with out stressing the last guy who never gets to rest otherwise. We have a set point to meet usually for lunch or break, each knows where that is.

Visual contact is not needed the way we ride. If there is just 3 or so riders I like to ride last, since I'm usually sure that I can keep up with any pace thats set. They ride to their comfort level and I'll match it. On interstates, if you're trying to stay together it does make sense for the tail guy to take the lane 1st, letting the group peal in then. This always works better when you have radios. It makes it easier to keep the group together. JMO Stay safe and focused.
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#13 Unread post by sv-wolf » Fri Mar 17, 2006 7:45 pm

First let me say I prefer the anarchic 'system'. If everyone is prepared at some time to get lost then everyone can get on with enjoying their ride any way they want.

The only rule I would want to see is: leader brings printouts of the route together with any stopping points.

However I've ridden with several groups which employ some kind of method for keeping everyone together. Some of these methods work better than others. Here are the two most effective I've come across.

The basic marker system. You have a leader and a tail ender. The tail ender wears something distinctive. At each junction the leader signals the route he is taking and then indicates to the rider immediately following him to stop at the junction and point out the route using clear hand signals. Occasionally at complex junctions, the leader might leave two riders (markers) at different points. The remaining riders folow the route indicated by the marker(s). When the markers see the tail-ender coming up behind them, they move off.

Some groups have a no-overtaking rule. This means that everyone gets to be a marker in turn. Others have a rule which says riders can overtake at will. This means that the faster riders will do more marking but also have more chance of a faster ride in between. One group I know has a rule that overtaking is only allowed if you are waved forward by the rider in front. This is safer but more constraining.

This system works very smoothly and effectively, no-one ever gets lost and there is no stopping to wait for the slow riders to catch up. But it only suits organised and disciplined groups.

The back mirror system. This is simpler. Every rider is expected to keep the rider behind him in his back mirror. If someone loses sight of the rider behind him he slows down until the rider behind has caught up. Because he has slowed down he will drop out of sight of the rider in front of him who will slow down also, and so on, up to the leader. This is a fairly effective system, but it can break down if you have a less attentive member in the group. And it meas the slowest rider controls the speed.

Though I prefer the systemless ride myself, I would rather be in a group using one of these methods than one that insisted on some kind of 'formation ride'. These methods are very flexible and allow a lot of individual freedom.
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#14 Unread post by Venarius » Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:27 am

sv-wolf wrote:First let me say I prefer the anarchic 'system'. If everyone is prepared at some time to get lost then everyone can get on with enjoying their ride any way they want.

The only rule I would want to see is: leader brings printouts of the route together with any stopping points.


The back mirror system. This is simpler. Every rider is expected to keep the rider behind him in his back mirror. If someone loses sight of the rider behind him he slows down until the rider behind has caught up. Because he has slowed down he will drop out of sight of the rider in front of him who will slow down also, and so on, up to the leader. This is a fairly effective system, but it can break down if you have a less attentive member in the group. And it meas the slowest rider controls the speed.

Though I prefer the systemless ride myself, I would rather be in a group using one of these methods than one that insisted on some kind of 'formation ride'. These methods are very flexible and allow a lot of individual freedom.
Ahh, a lone wolf like myself.

The two systems that I constantly use are the anarchic system where I randomly meet up with a few bikers along the road and just cruise with them until I don't feel like it anymore, and go my own way...sometimes to find others or sometimes to cruise alone.

And anytime I have been in a group ride, we have utilized the back mirror system you mentioned. Its a good system.

Otherwise, I second telling the group what kind of riding you'll be doing, as I've also ridden with the 40 over the limit, passing on double yellow, even driving on sidewalks croud (suprisingly all the riders were 40+)...and had I known that I may have chosen not to ride with them.

The only other thing I can think to add to the list may be to make sure everyone is clear about how people communicate different road hazzards;
Sport bike riders point with their legs,
Cruiser riders point with their hands.
Most people don't ever think about this, but coming from riding with one group to the other takes a bit to get used too.

Make sure that everyone knows either a place and time frame to meet up just in case anyone gets lost.

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#15 Unread post by sapaul » Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:50 pm

It was commented on at this Sunday's group ride that our brisk group is getting faster. I asked the guy at No 2 what he was doing up behind the Leader. His answer, never less than 120kmh and up to 160kmh. I sat on this ride as the last rider of the group upfront. The pack had split with a tight group of 9 riders, all line astern all with 2 sec plus gaps all keeping in sight, but I hit 200 on more than one occasion. The group behind fell way behind me but we never left the intersections without them knowing where we had gone, sometimes the whole group just sat and waited. The marshalling would have worked well on this ride. We actually had three groups on Sunday as there was an off road ride to the same venue as well, Must have been in excess of 60 bikes. I have seen the HD's ride with their marshalls blocking traffic and red robots, but this would never work with the Beemers and Zoo's point about getting rear ended has already happened.
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#16 Unread post by ZooTech » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:22 pm

I've been on large rides during which we blockaded traffic at lights and stop signs to keep the group together. Fortunately we haven't been spotted by the cops doing so, otherwise there would be hell to pay! I must admit, though, once the group broke up at the destination I have witnessed (on more than one occassion) a locked-up rear tire at a yellow light. Rolling along at 60mph in a 55 zone, nobody following behind knows if the lead bike is gonna run the yellow or not. If the lead bike decides to stop, more often than not the ones in tow have already grabbed more throttle and now have to panic stop. It's one of those things you might want to sit down and agree upon ahead of time, whether to run 'em or stop. Either way, the lead bike should take the initiative to slow the group down a bit when approaching intersections.

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#17 Unread post by sv-wolf » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:54 pm

Never seen that actually happen, Zoo, but seen plenty of emergency stops at lights and elsewhere from guys who got mesmerised by the bike in front. Done it myself. One day! It's a nasty accident waiting to happen. I'm just waiting for the time when a deer or rabbit runs out in front of bike pack riding nose to tail. I reckon that will not be a pretty sight either.


I've never been on a rideout which blocked traffic but been part of a couple of biker funerals where outriders closed off roundabouts and junctions to incoming traffic to keep the cortege together. I felt OK about that, but would feel uncomfortable if it happened on a rideout.
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#18 Unread post by rstnick » Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:01 pm

Here's a good Group riding guidline
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#19 Unread post by Bubba » Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:36 am

sapaul wrote:So, we are putting together a skills set for leaders and Tail end charlies. A list of do's and dont's. What do you like to see on the group rides, what do not like. What are absolute musts.
Last group ride I was on, was with the Yamaha dealership owner from my area. Dude had no idea where he was going and promptly got lost.
Why he went the way he did to get to our destination, I have no idea. After some of the guys that ride all the time, informed him which way to go, we finally got to where we were going.

Definitely! Who ever is leading the ride, should actually know where he/she is going.

I've always found that with a group ride, if possible, the lead and trail should have a CB or some kind of contact. This way no one is lost at a traffic light or if there's a breakdown.
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#20 Unread post by ArcticHarleyMan » Mon Oct 16, 2006 12:55 pm

Bubba wrote:
sapaul wrote:So, we are putting together a skills set for leaders and Tail end charlies. A list of do's and dont's. What do you like to see on the group rides, what do not like. What are absolute musts.
Last group ride I was on, was with the Yamaha dealership owner from my area. Dude had no idea where he was going and promptly got lost.
Why he went the way he did to get to our destination, I have no idea. After some of the guys that ride all the time, informed him which way to go, we finally got to where we were going.

Definitely! Who ever is leading the ride, should actually know where he/she is going.

I've always found that with a group ride, if possible, the lead and trail should have a CB or some kind of contact. This way no one is lost at a traffic light or if there's a breakdown.
This is exactly why I don't do group rides. Just tell me where we're going and I'll meet you there when we're supposed to be there.

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