HOW TO RIDE IN A GROUP | Page 4 | GTAMotorcycle.com

HOW TO RIDE IN A GROUP

BusaBob

Well-known member
Site Supporter
...Starting with the rider who was behind the rider who left, motion with your leg that you are going to change sides in the lane, and then do it, which will lead to everyone behind swapping sides.
I have an issue with this. I've been on a number of group rides over the years, and seeing this technique being used in groups of total strangers bothers me. It seems inherently unsafe to cross-over in front of a vehicle one second behind you, as well as the constant swapping of sides that occurs down the line when the lead rider changes from the curb to centre lane, etc.

Would it not be safer to just stay in the same staggered formation and avoid the swapping sides altogether when moving from lane 1 to lane 2 and vice versa? i.e. the lead always stays in one tire track (eg. the left), instead of constantly changing sides and having everyone behind swap sides in sequence.

thoughts?
 

ypcat

Active member
I learned a lot from reading this thread - thanks - and I have some thoughts and comments.

As for groups, I guess it comes down to finding people who like the same style of riding. For me being older and flying a road king classic, I want to leisurely cruise, take in the scenery, and so on - with my wife on the back. Maybe stop for some country pie, a coffee and some good conversation with others of similar interests. I have zero interest in taking corners fast, etc. I guess you have to realize what your style is and know your limitations. I could never fit in with a group going mach 5 through the twisties - it's just not who I am - but I can appreciate it.

I also believe that extensive riding experience makes you a good candidate for leadership, but not necessarily a good leader for all types of riders/groups. If you realize that in a group you're as strong as your weakest link and have patience to address the weakest of the weak then you're off to a good start. As a leader you need to set a pace that doesn't exceed the least experienced rider in the group which is to say, be patient and be there for the group as opposed to your own interests, especially if the group membership is new to you.

Maybe I'm over simplifying things but to me it seems like common sense; some people derive joy from helping others - even newbs - and some people just don't have the patience for it and so prefer a different style of riding and a different group experience level and make up. This is easily addressed in the description of the proposed ride - newb friendly or experienced high speed only, etc. Pick your poison.
 

Tinsnips33

Well-known member
I learned a lot from reading this thread - thanks - and I have some thoughts and comments.

As for groups, I guess it comes down to finding people who like the same style of riding. For me being older and flying a road king classic, I want to leisurely cruise, take in the scenery, and so on - with my wife on the back. Maybe stop for some country pie, a coffee and some good conversation with others of similar interests. I have zero interest in taking corners fast, etc. I guess you have to realize what your style is and know your limitations. I could never fit in with a group going mach 5 through the twisties - it's just not who I am - but I can appreciate it.

I also believe that extensive riding experience makes you a good candidate for leadership, but not necessarily a good leader for all types of riders/groups. If you realize that in a group you're as strong as your weakest link and have patience to address the weakest of the weak then you're off to a good start. As a leader you need to set a pace that doesn't exceed the least experienced rider in the group which is to say, be patient and be there for the group as opposed to your own interests, especially if the group membership is new to you.

Maybe I'm over simplifying things but to me it seems like common sense; some people derive joy from helping others - even newbs - and some people just don't have the patience for it and so prefer a different style of riding and a different group experience level and make up. This is easily addressed in the description of the proposed ride - newb friendly or experienced high speed only, etc. Pick your poison.
+1 I Totally agree. I am new to riding and very interested in the technical side of it. As a new rider to both the sport and the local group I ride with I learn based on the actions of the experienced riders. I continue to ride with them because they are a safe and sane group. If I displayed the erratic behaviour mentioned in previous posts they would never ride with me again. It is very clearly the responsibility of each rider (regardless of experience) to chose who to ride with...I have seen very experienced riders I wouldn't be comfortable with on a ride just by their aggressive style of riding. Really experience is irrelevant, confidence and trust is what I look for.
 

DucTed

Well-known member
Great comment, as a pretty experienced rider I would love to see the lead rider stay in a single lane for the duration of the ride. However, there are so many factors that come in to play, especially when riding in larger groups, people you don't know, roads you don't know and the pace of the group.

Its always nice to see a decent amount of room between a large group of riders, this gives everyone the ability to maneouvre when required in problematic traffic.

When I lead I do my best to stay left in the lane however, I ensure people behind me realize that I need more of the lane on hard twisties or garbage on the road. You should be able at a seconds notice move around the lane if required, otherwise you could be road rash which really brings a bitter end to what is supposed to be a good time.

I enjoy riding the most when your out with buddies you regularly ride with, everyone has an idea of everyone's limits and therefore the whole ride is that much safer. ie. I know exactly what my brother is going to do in almost all situations on the road, because I ride with him frequently.

constant swapping of sides that occurs down the line when the lead rider changes from the curb to centre lane,
 

backtobikes

Active member
One of the reasons I started following this site was for the potential for riding with a group of new people - great scenery, a coffee, discovering great hilly twisty backroads. Staggered lane sharing is OK for easy riding with high visibility. I've never been comfortable with lane sharing through curves, or generally as visibility starts to drop off or potential for accidents rises. I ride very defensively, and always like to have as many outs as possible. The staggered lane sharing described throughout this thread in many cases goes against my defensive riding habits and the degree of technicality some take it to is frankly unnerving.

When I ride with a few friends in a staggered pattern, we always use hand signals when shifting about in a lane (KISS) and feel free to move about, change lanes etc., and simply move to the middle of the lane to let others know its time to give me some space - spread out single file through hills or curves.

Maybe I'm reading too much into all this.
 

Brian P

Well-known member
Moderator
Site Supporter
The staggered position is intended for use on more-or-less straight roads with occasional other traffic around. It is NOT suitable for riding around corners on twisty roads, where each rider should be picking their own proper line through the corner. It should go into single file under those situations then go back into staggered formation when the road straightens out.
 

taiga

Member
I have an issue with this. I've been on a number of group rides over the years, and seeing this technique being used in groups of total strangers bothers me. It seems inherently unsafe to cross-over in front of a vehicle one second behind you, as well as the constant swapping of sides that occurs down the line when the lead rider changes from the curb to centre lane, etc.

Would it not be safer to just stay in the same staggered formation and avoid the swapping sides altogether when moving from lane 1 to lane 2 and vice versa? i.e. the lead always stays in one tire track (eg. the left), instead of constantly changing sides and having everyone behind swap sides in sequence.

thoughts?
I'm with BusaBob on this one.

In group rides, I would much rather stay in the same staggered formation when moving from one lane to another. When I rode with friends on a trip from Victoria to Calgary, the lead stayed in the same position whenever we changed lanes. At first it seemed wrong to me, being taught that the first rider should be proper position depending on the lane, but after a little while I found it works really well. We move from lane to lane more like a unit and there's no criss-crossing in front of bikes.

This is in general, I'm sure there are situations where it may be better to switch positions....
 
If you want to pick your feet up and ride in a group of hundreds (safely) look at my event. www.lansdowneride4kids.com It is fully police escorted, country and city settings 70km plus distance. In its 8th year and we have had as many as 500 riders going in one group (stopping traffic and going through traffic lights). It is a great event and your $30 covers your ride, breakfast and lunch...not to mention helps a bunch of great kids. We have just kicked off for the June 9th event so at this point the riders registered online is few...but trust me it is at minimum 300 riders each year. Help spread the word...over 300 share features on the site! :p
 

slowbird

Well-known member
The few group rides I have been a part of involve too much close following, especially in corners where everyone should string out into single file. Don't like it.
 

theprocess

Well-known member
The few group rides I have been a part of involve too much close following, especially in corners where everyone should string out into single file. Don't like it.
The group leader should establish the expectations before heading off and set the tone throughout the ride. All riders should be aware of hand signals (and general etiquette) before riding in a group. Safety first.



SINGLE FILE
Position your left hand over your helmet with your fingers extended upward. This indicates the leader wants the group in a single file formation. Usually this is done for safety reasons.
 

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