Who’s the Expert, More on Group Riding and Trailering:


During our trip to Eagle River, discussion took place, prompted by my last article, having to do with recommended methods for riding. As it was put, there really isn’t a wrong way to do something if it works for you. My job as the chapter “educator” is to make suggestion and recommendations based on my readings and riding experience. This will be more than some and less than others. It is my hope that the articles will Alert, Caution, Instruct, Educate, and create discussion to learn even more. I am not the expert, but I do want to get you to think about what you do when you are riding your motorcycle.


GROUP RIDING: During our Eagle River ride we had the opportunity to give everyone a chance to Lead a group and Anchor a group. As a result some questions were asked that need answering. When you pull up to a light and the right bike pulls even with the left bike, the right bike should leave enough visibility for the left bike to see both ways clearly. Do not obstruct his view. He needs to make the decision on when it is safe to leave that intersection. Its also important, that in a small group of 2 or 3, or even 4 that the other bikers, other than the lead left bike, leave the decision up to the lead bike. As I experienced myself, even though I thought the coast was clear and we could go, the lead bike chose not to, and they were right and I was wrong. It wasn’t my place to make that decision. So, don’t be in a hurry and let the lead bike lead. On narrow roads, the lead bike will communicate, single file, everybody should move into single file and lengthen the distance between bikes. This is especially helpful on curves and hills where visibility is reduced. In addition, even though you are in single file, you should continue to fudge your side of the lane, when possible. This will continue to give the rider behind you a clear view ahead. When a trike or bike with side car is ahead of you or in the lead, as we experienced on this Eagle River trip, where is the right place for the next bike to be? My suggestion is to look at the driver of that front bike, and based on his position, you would alternate accordingly. In the case of the bike and sidecar, which takes up the entire lane, the driver of that bike is over the left track, which would have you as the next bike be in the right track, and so on. The trike can be in either track, but I would suggest that they take the left track when possible and therefor the next bike would be in the right track. The trike has similar needs to a bike with a trailer and I will get to that next.


Trailering in a Group: When we started out our trip we had a road captain’s discussion and talked about the best place for a trailer would be the second bike in the right track so there would be no one in front of them if they needed to make a quick stop or maneuver. It was also suggested that they could be in the back, and use either left or right track. After my experience pulling a trailer and the 900 miles we traveled as a group, I am strongly suggesting that trailers only be put in the left track. As far as front to back, they can go anywhere the rider is comfortable with. The reasons behind this is fairly simple. The worst case condition is two lane roads. There is a crown to the road, which means they are curved and drop off towards the shoulder for drainage,  and in many cases the area between the right tire track and the shoulder is usually heavily filled with road repairs and is usually very bumpy. Also the shoulder in many cases is gravel and is lower than the road itself. Understand that any deviation by the driver and the wheels of the trailer will be off the road. There just is not much room for error on this side. The left track provides a flatter and smoother and wider range of movement to accommodate the bike and trailer. On major interstates, this is usually not a problem and I would leave it up to the individual driver to decide if they are comfortable on the right track.

And finally, I would like to add, that the members of this chapter that went on the Eagle River 900 miler, did a terrific job of group riding. It was quite the pleasure to ride with you.


David and Kathy Bierman