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Motorcycling is a great experience. It gives the rider a sense of freedom, fresh air, and a feeling of being at one with the road and with nature.
For some riders, the prospect of riding in a group brings a whole new dynamic to the experience.
In this article, we’ll give you some guidelines on how to enjoy this experience safely and responsibly.
What is Group Motorcycle Riding and Why Ride in a Group?
Group motorcycle riding can best be described as a number of riders, four or more, traveling together from a single point to the same destination. These outings can either be preplanned well in advance or simply spur-of-the-moment decisions, quickly arranged to take advantage of the glorious weather or a particular event.
For many motorcyclists, the experience of riding in a group brings out a different dimension to a leisurely ride, giving them a feeling of camaraderie, being with kindred spirits, and perhaps even one of belonging.
These group rides could be conducted by a bonafide motorcycle club or just a few friends or colleagues on an informal ride. These rides may take the form of a short trip of only a few miles or an extended journey to another town or even another state.
Whatever the arrangement of your upcoming group motorcycle ride, you’ll want to enjoy the experience as much as you possibly can. With a bit of preparation and planning, you’ll be in the best situation to do just that.
Group Riding Etiquette and Rules
Group motorcycle rides can take on many forms. For the novice, a group ride may seem daunting to begin with, but if you choose your group carefully, you can avoid an unpleasant experience.
An organized group ride should have an appointed lead rider. Find out all the relevant information about the ride, such as the meeting time and place, the route to be followed, the number of riders taking part, and whether there are any stopping points along the way.
A well-organized ride will take into account several things. There should be a rider briefing before setting off. Refueling stops should be included in the route, as well as ablution and rest facilities. Groups should be kept to a moderate, manageable size. Let’s look at some of the key elements of a well-planned group ride.
The designated lead rider should be one of the more experienced members of the group. All other riders should pay careful attention to instructions given by the leader before and during the journey. The lead rider bears the responsibility for the entire group, and your cooperation is crucial if the ride is to be a success.
It’s imperative that you attend and participate in the safety briefing. A whole variety of important aspects of the ride will be discussed here, so you can’t afford to miss this.
The route will be discussed, with the relevant stopping points detailed, i.e., rest stops, gas stations, eateries, etc. If you have time beforehand, research the planned route yourself, and possibly print a map or program the route into a GPS if you have one. Don’t deviate from the route.
The formation of the group will likely be discussed. Pay careful attention to this so that you understand your position on the road and can adhere to it. Generally, the group may use a spread-out format on open sections of road and narrow down to single file on narrower or twisting sections, as well as areas that have traffic.
There should also be clear guidelines on how overtaking other vehicles should be carried out. Please obey these guidelines. Ideally, the newer riders should be at the rear of the group. If they’re placed at the front, the idea of faster, more experienced riders on their tails may push them into speeding up beyond what they feel comfortable and this could be very dangerous to those riders and the entire group.
The general pace of the ride will also probably be mentioned. Keep to this agreed pace to prevent stretching or compressing the group unnecessarily. The last thing you want on a group ride is for everyone to be bunched up too closely. If there’s an incident or hazard, you may not have enough space to maneuver. Too spread out, and the whole group runs the risk of not seeing the leaders.
The lead rider should also have prepared a set of hand signals to communicate through the group. These will all be agreed upon beforehand, so every rider understands them. Pass these signals on to the other riders around and behind you. Here are some standard signals as an example.
The group leader should appoint a designated tail rider. This person should be an experienced rider, and the tail rider’s purpose is to keep a lookout for stragglers, riders with difficulties, and traffic coming up from behind.
It’s important that the tail rider is in constant communication with the lead rider, whether this is by radio or mobile communication link.
Pros of Motorcycle Group Riding
Motorcycle group riding can be an enjoyable and memorable experience. Here are some of the pros.
The Group Experience
This can be a fun way to spend a few hours with friends or colleagues, an adventure which should give you many happy memories. Exploring some places you haven’t visited before brings new experiences. If you’ve just joined a group, this is an excellent way to meet like-minded people.
Safety in Numbers
With so many riders around you, rest assured that help is close by should anything go wrong during your ride. It’s a good idea for a few of the riders, if not all, to keep a basic medical kit with them. You’ll be less vulnerable to being approached by hawkers in a group than on your own.
You Won’t Get Lost
Your group leader will have preplanned the route, so you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to end up. If you get lost on your own, it’s frustrating and usually means asking for directions.
A group of motorcycles will be far more visible to other motorists than a solitary one.
Cons of Motorcycle Group Riding
There are downsides to group riding, so it may not be everybody’s choice of riding.
Apart from concentrating on your ride, which you should be doing even when solo, you’ll have the added task of needing to focus on the riders around you, keeping an even and safe distance from them at all times.
You’ll also need to keep a constant watch for hand signals from the other riders. These could indicate potential hazards on the road or an urgent need to slow down or stop.
If you have to be at the destination by a specific time, group riding isn’t for you. Every stop for lunch, fuel, or sightseeing will take longer. you’ll have to travel at the group’s pace, which may not be fast at all. It would be pretty rude to leave the group if you feel the ride is taking too long.
Invariably, and particularly if the group isn’t going too fast, you’ll be overtaken by motorists. More often than not, these cars will come in between riders while trying to pass the entire group. This will call for even more concentration to avoid an incident.
Motorcycle group riding can be a wonderful experience, provided that it’s properly planned and that all riders cooperate and play their part. There’s much to be said about the camaraderie and the safety factor gained from groups. Some feel that group riding isn’t for them, but for those who do take part, they’ll be coming back for more.
People Also Ask
For the novice, there are many questions to be answered concerning motorcycle group riding. We hope these popular questions and answers give you more insight into this activity.
Where Should Beginner Riders Be Positioned in a Group Ride?
Ideally, beginners should be placed toward the rear of the group. To be positioned upfront on your first group ride can be a harrowing experience, with more experienced riders right behind you. Beginners will have enough to concentrate on without the added stress of going faster than they are comfortable.
What is a Group of Bikers Called?
A group of bikers is generally referred to as a “pack.”
Should Motorcyclists Ride in a Single-File Formation When Riding in a Group?
It depends on the road and the conditions. If the group is negotiating a twisty or narrow section or overtaking other vehicles, then a single-file formation should be observed. It’s fine to spread out on wider sections of the road when and where it’s safe to do so, as long as the pack isn’t impeding the progress of other vehicles.