From “the Educator”


GROUP RIDING:  The very first thing you always read is “group riding is not for everybody” . And this is very true. How some ever, being part of a group ride is a whole lot of fun. But, in a group you have to be aware of different riding styles and personalities. And you do have to pay attention to what you are doing during the ride. A group ride is like a mini parade, it looks good, it sounds good, and at every stop it becomes an event. So, here are a few rules of the road for group riding. As we learn in Road Captains class, the leader leads the group and the tail gunner is in control of the group. These are the two most important members in leading the group safely to their destination. The leader can lead either left or right, but the standard is left, which means that the leader takes the left track of the lane. Then each person in the group staggers right, left, right left, etc. The object of the stagger is to leave the proper distance in front of each rider to allow for safe braking and maneuvering. Group size should be odd in number, 3,5 ,7, but the ideal size is 5. Odd, so that the bike at the rear will be in the left track which is best for observing the traffic conditions to the front and rear. The back bike also can drift across the lane to better judge the traffic conditions when necessary. In many groups and chapters, the bikers in the group are very willing to let the lead bike do the leading, and the only thing they need to worry about is the person in front and behind them, while they enjoy the scenery. I would suggest that in our chapter, we make a point of every member riding in a group take responsibility for the directions for that ride and to help make sure that the group takes all the right, or left turns and to keep an eye out for signs and traffic conditions. There is a line that is often repeated how a group follows the leader around a curve and right into a ditch, because all they were doing was following the leader. So, I repeat, know the route and take part in the ride. Stop signs and stop lights; at each of these the group comes to a stop in pairs. The left bike on the left and the next right bike pulls up to stop at the same time and they both leave together, allowing the left bike to advance soon after they start. In a turn, the left bike proceeds ahead of the right bike. In many cases, the whole group can proceed thru the intersection depending on the traffic conditions and the response of the other traffic in the area. Distance between bikes is always an issue, varying from proper 2 second rule to the bike in front of you, which is in the same track as you, left – left, and right – right, but, it seems that this mostly happens on the highway or two lanes when you are not in traffic. Most riders adjust the distance down, between themselves, in higher traffic conditions, this is to prevent auto motorist from breaking in to the group.  Why is this a problem, the auto is considered a danger to the bikers. We don’t know what the auto driver will do in response to the group and bikes ahead of him, which makes the rear bikes much more at risk of sudden changes to the driving conditions. So when groups enter high traffic areas such as downtown areas of towns or busy on and off ramps, they usually tighten up the group. Also, most group travel on a highway will be in the middle lane or the left lane to avoid merging traffic. And approaching a series of on/off ramps, the group will move to the left lane to avoid and allow for the merging traffic. During a group ride, all members should take part in answering the questions asked, having to do with gas stops, bathroom stops, or anything else pertaining to the group. Don’t leave all these decisions up to the lead or rear bikers. In most cases, others will tell you, after you stop, “glad we stopped, I needed to as well”. Please speak up, so all can benefit. CB chatter in a group ride is suppose to be kept at a minimum so the driving instructions can be heard, some chit chat is a good thing to keep the group light and entertained. Don’t be afraid to lead a group ride, you do not have to have ridden the roads before or even know exactly where you are going, the main job for the leader is the traffic and maintaining a good flow to the group. Well, looking forward to our group rides just got better.


David and Kathy Bierman