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Old 01-07-2002, 02:44 AM   #1
theSteveCo
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Group Ride FAQ

Here's a little something I always wanted to post at SBN but never did:

I think that there are many in this forum who might be intimidated by the thought of joining fellow riders in a group. I admit that I was nervous my first couple times. However I have grown to truly enjoy the company on such get-togethers and would love to see more people riding together in the future. So I am taking it upon myself to post the following answers to questions that many may be afraid to ask.

I would like this to be a sort of "living document" that we modify as more of us participate in what I believe to be second only to trackdays (even though I've yet to attend one) in terms of motorcycling ethusiasm. Please offer any suggestions for changes or additions (as well as comments, of course) and I will continue to modify this original post accordingly.

==================================

Expectations

- No one is expected to ride at any pace above that at which they feel comfortable. If you DO find yourself in such a group, quit riding with them as you will inevitably get yourself hurt trying to keep up and riding beyond your limits.

- Groups willl inevitably break into smaller groups between stops. The lead riders are not frustrated by this, as they have spent their time at the back of the pack and at varying stages in between. If they were aggravated by having to wait for others to catch up they wouldn't attend the group ride in the first place.

- A good group ride is one in which there are many stops. These serve multiple purposes: regrouping the riders, resting and stretching as needed, chatting about the ride, and getting to know your fellow riders. These stops should not be so far apart that the faster riders are bored by the time the slower riders arrive.

- Expect to have fun.... you will!

Preparation

- Once a ride has been decided upon and participants begin to arrive people should be sure to introduce themselves to others they do not yet know. One of the whole points of meeting up for group rides is making friends.

- When a fair percentage of expected riders are at the designated pre-ride location a decision should be made about how long to wait for any people running late. Try to be reasonable, but don't wait so long that riders are getting antsy and frustrated. If the route is known and the group makes occassional stops (and they should) any trailing participants will probably be able to catch up.

- Riders who miss the initial meet before a group ride should not ride at an accelerated pace to catch up.

- Take a few minutes and run through a safety check on your bike if you didn't do so before you left to meet with the group. When you're admiring the bikes of others be sure to mention anything you notice that may be unsafe or lead to a problem.

- When you're ready to embark make sure that you have selected both a leader and a sweeper for the initial portion of the ride (see below) and that everyone knows who the sweeper is (the leader may or may not change mid-ride).

Execution

- For each section of road someone will need to ride at the front. This will usually be someone with more experience who will be riding at a faster pace. This person may be selected because they know a particular stretch better than others, because they are more adept at navigating new roads better (and more safely) than others, or maybe it's just their turn (note: leading is a choice, not a responsibility of any rider).

- The leader carries the responsibility of keeping the group together on their shoulders. They are responsible for identifying hazards to other riders and slowing or stopping the group when necessary.

- A good group ride has an experienced rider in the back to watch over the newer and less-experienced riders. Even when all the riders are of similar skill it is wise to designate a sweeper. That person's primary objective is to note any unsafe practices and offer suggestions to help the less-experienced rider improve their skills. 90% of the time the "sweeper" does not need to offer advice as the riders in front of him/her are simply riding at a pace they are comfortable with -- that's perfectly OK.

- The sweeper is riding at the back of the pack because they choose to be, not because they've been forced to do so. Do not allow yourself to believe that you are holding the sweeper up or that they do not wish to ride behind you.

- Having chosen your sweeper you will always know that you do or don't have everyone you started with when you stop to regroup. Do not leave from a stop until your sweeper arrives. At that point you may learn that someone felt that they were in over their head and went home, or perhaps they wished to take a different route... that's a whole world better than sitting, waiting, and wondering why a particular rider hasn't arrived yet.

- If you believe that you are holding up a rider behind you (other than the sweeper) the appropriate action is to wait until the road is clear enough for you to pull to the right (but not off the road) and wave the faster rider past you. Likewise, the faster rider should not attempt to pass you until you have indicated that you are comfortable with the pass. By doing so, the faster rider is not forced over the double-yellow and does not have to contend with oncoming traffic. Additionally, the slower rider will not be spooked when the faster rider passes.

- Good communication in the pack is essential. If the lead rider notes a hazard ahead it is their responsibility to alert the riders behind them with a hand signal. I think we're all familiar with the "slow down" gesture shared by riders warning of trouble ahead. Add to that a raised closed fist to indicate "stop ahead" and let your group grow its vocabulary as needed. "Slow down" and "stop" are key gestures that all should know ahead of time.

- People will often leave the group mid-ride to make it to other engagements. Just be sure to do so only at a regrouping stop so that no one wonders what happened to you.

Rider Down

- If you have waited a reasonable amount of time and the sweeper (and perhaps another rider or two) have not arrived it is safe to assume that someone is down.

- The worst thing to do at this point is for everyone to ride back the way you came in a hurry as this only increases the odds of another mishap. Never ride at an accelerated pace to or from an accident.

- The group, having come to the conclusion that something is wrong, should send two experienced riders back the way they came. If only three riders waiting they should all ride back together. The purpose of doing this is to avoid having a dozen bikes and riders trying to help in a rider-down situation. This will only lead to confusion.

- Assuming an accident has taken place the two or three riders sent back to investigate will find the sweeper either down or assisting a downed rider. Others may have stopped as well, depending on how many people were behind the fallen rider. Having sent two or three riders down, the bike can be moved off the road if necessary, one person can remain with the fallen rider while another rides back to inform the rest of the group (if necessary).

- Depending on the circumstances the rest of the group may wish to ride back the fallen rider. Hopefully, however, they will just wait while the fallen rider dusts himself off, starts his bike, and continues on uninjured.

- At least one person in the group should have some sort of first-aid kit and a cell phone. This need not be the same person, but all the riders should be aware of who has these items should they become necessary.

==================================

Sorry about the long post. I hope that this helps some of the people reluctant to attend group rides feel more comfortable about possibly participating in what they're missing. I hope that those who already ride in groups can benefit in some way and possibly contribute to this document.
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Old 01-07-2002, 10:28 PM   #2
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Hey Steve you should make that the BARF manifesto.

Just a thought.
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Old 01-14-2002, 12:21 AM   #3
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Addendum

Establish a meeting point before each section in case riders get split up. If there is going to be a turn in the road before a rest stop be sure to stop and regroup before proceeding. If there is a turn and no one is there, the trailing riders will know to continue.

(This lesson learned on Jan 12, 2002 )
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Old 01-14-2002, 12:17 PM   #4
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What??? You didnt enjoy playing "hide and go seek" on the bikes for 45 minutes.





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Old 01-16-2002, 12:54 PM   #5
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Thought I'd check out your board even though I'm no longer BA.

I thought I'd add this...
I you've never read 'the pace' , it's worth the time.

http://64.32.182.37/the_pace.txt
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:01 PM   #6
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Good point! Thanks!

Oh yeah, and

Welcme GTS_Rider

(or)

GTS_Rider


(haven't standardized just yet)
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Old 01-16-2002, 01:13 PM   #7
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Old 01-31-2002, 11:22 PM   #8
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Very well put there Steve, i vote to make it part of the BARF manifesto!!
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Old 02-06-2002, 01:26 PM   #9
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I'd like to make some additions to that list steve put up.

-STUNTS

If anyone want to perform stunts on the freeway, ride away from the main group pack and into your own lane farther up ahead of the group.

DO NOT do wheelies past another rider in the same lane.

DO NOT do wheelies when there is a substantial amount of traffic on the road. We do not need cagers to call CHP and hassel us.

DO NOT block the road when someone is obviously in a hurry to go by us. Remember folks, we all have manners even if some of the other drivers exhibit none of their own.

DO NOT do rolling endo's up the middle of a pack of riders in front of you.

DO NOT do unexpected stoppies at red lights when there is a group behind you. Signal with hand signal to let everyone know you are going to attempt a stunt. And do it in your own lane.

DO NOT do burn outs in front of cops. DO look both ways before doing so. ( speaking from experience, not my experience however)

DO keep in mind that when you are on the road with a group, you actions reflect upon the group. Please try to keep in mind that we are civilized people. Road rage against a bigger machine is folly, and will get you no where except hurt.

Besides those minor points. Wheelie away!!!!
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Old 05-01-2002, 03:00 PM   #10
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Alot of good info, more riders need to be aware of this....good job
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Old 05-01-2002, 04:29 PM   #11
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good advice, and I could not agree with gts rider more , read "the pace"

http://64.32.182.37/the_pace.txt

If you've never read it, it's a must read, if you have read it, read it again
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Old 05-07-2002, 12:14 PM   #12
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Excellent post!

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Old 05-07-2002, 10:43 PM   #13
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I'm glad people are finding this useful -- I think it should get a more prestigious location some day soon.
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Old 05-20-2002, 03:32 PM   #14
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Old 05-28-2002, 10:52 PM   #15
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I think I would have to agree with everything that was said here. Glad some one wrote it down. Sometimes its good to just see it writen down instead of expected knowledge!

I would like to get a group ride to mines road or the SMR some time really soon!

take care all
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