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Group Riding

The rider meeting agenda

It's a lovely day � well, okay, here in the Northwest maybe it's not a lovely day, but we're going for a group ride anyway. We can have our breakfast or hop off the ferry and go, but if this is a group ride we need to discuss a few things first. After all, we want to have a successful group ride.

So you're the ride leader? Well guess what? There's no national standard for leading a group ride, so we made up our own and tag, you're it. Feel free to print this article and use it at your next group ride.

As a group ride leader myself, I like to eat and hit the road. And that's easily done if everyone I'm riding with are regulars and we all know what the rules are. But, what about when Newbie Neal shows up? He doesn't know the rules, so it's up to me as the ride leader to get him up to speed before we take off. It only takes a few minutes and the time can be well worth it. Neal � here's how it works�

  1. We'd just like to confirm every rider today has a current operator's endorsement. In every state, anyone can buy a motorcycle, but have they proved to the state they can operate it safely? If they could not do that, why would you as a ride leader want them riding in your group?

  2. What are you wearing? Some groups are fine if everyone is clad in blue jeans, t-shirts and half shell helmets. But what are the results in a collision if that's what they wear?

    Other groups are more stringent, requesting riders wear full gear. After all, if a collision of any sort occurs it may be the difference between being a burden on the group, or the rider simply picking their bike back up and resuming the ride.

  3. Where are we going? At this point the ride leader discusses the details of today's ride. Listen up.

    If the ride involves a long stretch with exits such as an interstate, the ride leader should advise the group about the exit name and/or number where the collective will regroup.

  4. It's no big deal if other motorists merge into our group. The group does not own the road. If other motorists need to merge by way of an on ramp or traffic controlled intersection, that's how it works. This isn't a funeral procession and we won't let it become one today. A break in the group does not mean you'll get lost. Relax and stay tuned for #5 where it all works out.

  5. We ride in a staggered formation � NOT PARADE. We never ride in PARADE formation, aka two abreast. We've seen plenty of law enforcement officers do it on public roads far away from any parades, but why? And they always say something like 'I know my buddy and he knows me.' The reality: On a back road where we're going no deer, snake, rabbit, pheasant, rock or dead squirrel knows any of us, so let's give each other the space we need and ride staggered at least three seconds apart. If we have to avoid an obstacle we'll have the room we need to do that

  6. .

  7. We ride with each rider staggered at least three seconds apart from each other- and no more than six. Yeah � I know � in your motorcycle safety class they said it was okay to stay one second behind the rider staggared in front of you. Well, it's not. That is old technology that does not work. In our group we spread far apart just like the state patrol recommends car drivers to do. If it's good for motorist with four brakes, it's good for motorcyclists with only two. Why they teach a one second rule in some rider education curriculum is beyond us, but they do and it does not work. If you can read the riders license plate in front of you you are too close.

    But if you get more than six seconds behind the rider in front of you, you may be holding up the group, in which case it's time to drop back and let others go around you. If this continues to occur, it may be time for you to leave the group and make your way elsewhere.

  8. Riders are responsible for the rider behind them. That means if you don't see them in your rearview mirror, at the next turn point you will wait until they appear. If they don't appear for a prolonged period of time, you'll turn the bike around and go look for them.

  9. Riders are expected to ride at at least the legal speed limit. If you have issues with this and are not confident with riding your bike at at least the legal speed limit it's time to go back to square one and get comfortable operating your bike at the legal speed before you rejoin our group. Are you terrified with corners, unable to keep up with a group or you're getting passed by other motorist and semis? You are out of your league.

  10. If we have enough skilled riders today, we may split the group into two. The faster group and the slower group. The slower group is advised that we may pass the faster group if they get pulled out by law enforcement. Simply wave and we can all discuss the details at the next meal stop.

  11. Do you need to operate your motorcycle at well beyond the legal speed limit? In that case, you may be better off doing your own ride because a good group isn't going to jeopardize other riders and motorists around us by hauling ass. After all, there are deer and otherwise around the places we're going.

  12. Do you need to be drinking in excess? If you need to have a beer every time we stop, this is not the group for you and we won't allow you to continue to ride with us.

That being said, let's go for a great ride!

TM/Spring 11


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