When I say group riding I bet some of you are imagining a scene from a movie that has animal pest removal about a hundred bikers all going down the road side by side?
Well this isn’t always true, but whether it’s 2 motorbikes or 100+ you need to think about lot of different things.
First thing I always tell people is, NEVER ride from your comfort zone, do not attempt and keep up with somebody if it makes you feel nervous, ride to your own abilities, if you are in a group your “friends” or fellow riders will wait for you at the next junction if you haven’t managed to keep up. If they do not wait for you, you have to tell yourself are these the people I really want to be riding with? Remember it isn’t all about the bike it is all about the rider. I have been out with lots of groups and to tell the truth, some ride much faster than I do and no, I am not going to keep up with them, Likewise I have ridden with individuals who ride slower than myself, do I bugger off and leave them (I can hear some of my friends now saying I need to) but no I don’t. It is not all about how quickly you get there it is more about the journey.
So the 2nd piece of information for group riding is, attempt to keep your position in a group, if you’re the 3rd 4th or 25th bike in a group, remain in your position as bikers passing each other in a group can be harmful as we are busy looking at those in front we aren’t expecting someone to pull off a fast overtake up the inside or out, and if for some reason you need to move suddenly, you have arrived at the scene of the accident, and believe me I know how much it hurts to fall off a motorbike.
This being said if you need to pass those in front do so, but remember tons of room they may not be expecting it. Now something to consider is the size of the group. I’ve ridden with 2 motorbikes and also ridden with a few hundred.
When the group becomes very large you might want to consider some of the following.
Does everybody know the route?
No? You might choose to use the corner man system.
The lead rider will indicate where he want the following biker to stop at a junction to indicate to the rest of the group what direction you are turning in the lights/junction or roundabout. The “marker” will then wait for the Tail rider or rear gunner or whatever title you would like to give to the man at the back to grab, then the marker may rejoin, usually in the front of the tail rider. Once rejoined maintain your position and eventually you’ll be supporting the lead rider.
This brings us nicely to the tail rider, this can be anyone in the group, but when somebody that has a distinctive motorbike or clothes (some bands use a unique high viz for this rider) they could be useful, just make everyone aware who the tail rider is. Also the tail rider ought to be aware of the route you’re taking and also have the number or means to speak to the lead rider.
In very large groups you may occasionally get ride marshals, these will generally always be wearing high viz clothing and even have flashing amber lights to identify themselves, they might even be blood bikers but most certainly advanced bikers of some sort (ROPSA or IAM).
I thought this was going to be a quick post but as it happens there is a lot to consider about group riding, and even more I haven’t yet covered.