from the “Educator”


The ride coordinator, a person we admire and respect, works extremely hard to plan our trips, after meeting, three day weekends and Wing Ding. In our chapter, our ride coordinator has shown us some excellent rides and destinations. The amount of time it takes to create these rides and accommodations, and meal and gas stops, is like a full time job. Many of us are very content to come on these rides, knowing full well, that the route and stops and points of interest have already been planned. All we need to do is show up and get in a group and have a great time.

            In this article, with Wing Ding in our offing, and by the time this gets out, we will have finished the memorial weekend ride, I want to spend a little discussion time on your responsibility to the group ride. Even though the overall points of the group ride have already been determined, the performance of the group and the success of the ride become the responsibility of all of us. There are many things that will happen during a group ride and our response to these things can often make or break a successful group ride.

            As an individual in a group ride, just what are you responsible for: lets start with a certain basic knowledge of the ride itself. What time will you be leaving, “Clutches Out” will be the common phrase you will hear. And it will tell you what time we are expecting to leave from any of our stops or at the beginning of the day. Your job is to be on time, in fact, I would highly recommend being early. At every stop, food or gas or rest, make a point not to be the last one ready to leave the stop point. Just like we have talked about at the stop light: when the light changes to green, all bikes should be put in gear and ready to leave. Usually there will be a group ride meeting, when the material about the days ride is being given, don’t just be present, but be attentive to the info being given out. Know something about your plans for this ride. Taking this one step further, many folks say that they can not lead a group, cause they do not know where they are going, again, wrong folks, leading a group has to do with traffic and road conditions, the navigation should be done by everyone else, and I do mean everyone else. The rest of the group should always be on the alert for the trip directions. The co-rider, especially, can be a big help to looking for road signs and street names. The lead will be very busy with the traffic and in many cases won’t see all the road signs, that is where we all come in. The people at the back of the pack sometimes have much more time to read signs and advise the lead as to what’s up ahead. Within the group you have riding responsibilities, whether you are in the left or right track, you need to make sure that you maintain your spacing and position in the lane. For the SAFETY of the individual and the group, you need to always concentrate on your position. You may be sightseeing or talking to your co-rider or day dreaming, but you need to try to always maintain your position in the group. You can present a danger to those around you if you lag or constantly vary your distance to the bike in front of you, and if you leave your track and float in the lane, you will be crossing in front of other bikers and shortening the safety area. In cases where the road is narrow, we do the extended stagger, it is almost single file, but each bike sort of fudges his side of the center line by a little. This helps allow the bikes behind you to get a better view of the group and the road.

            Up to now, all of these responsibilities relate to the mechanical ride itself. The next part we want to discuss is your involvement and contributions to the group. During the ride, many questions will be asked, and answers will be needed. Usually someone in the lead of the group, not necessarily the lead bike, will ask if someone want to stop for any of the following, gas, food, rest, pictures, sightseeing, etc., these statements require a response from the group. Too many times the CB is silent, after a question like this, and the point of interest goes by. Your response is a necessary part in this process. DO NOT rely on others to make the decisions alone and for you, participate in the trip. When planning a days events, questions will be asked as to what people want to do, offer your opinions.

            The last item to talk about it what will help to keep everyone happy and help to insure that all have a good time. PATIENCE, COMPROSMISE, FRIENDSHIP. During the riding portion of the trip, not everyone will ride the same way or with the exact same lever of expertise. We need to be tolerant of each other, and patient with each other. We need to understand that everything that we might want to do on this trip, we aren’t going to be able to do. The logistics of meeting everyone’s needs is difficult, we of course will try to meet as many as possible. After long days of riding, especially in hotter weather, tempers can shorten and nerves can get a little edgy. This is where the patience really comes to play. Everyone needs to realize that all of us can’t be in that perfect friendly mood 24 hours a day for an entire trip and there will be moments that can get a little testy. If we are all aware of this, we can minimize the times when this happens, and we can let it pass quickly as well. On the very positive side of these longer trips, you should be able to make new friends and make old ones even stronger.

            To recap: