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Aug 1st 2017, 07:03 PM   #1
 Lena's Avatar
Forum Admin
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  Monsters
How we ride - group rides

I copied this from the original post 5 or so years ago - if it's outdated in some ways, please post edits.

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Welcome to the Portland subforum of the Pacific Northwest Riders! One exciting aspect of being a part of the PNW Moto community is joining group rides. Group riding gives you an opportunity to meet new people, learn new roads, practice your skills, get feedback and coaching and, in general, have lots of fun! If you are new to group riding, or you wish to lead a group ride, this thread will give you an idea of what to expect.

Note—All entries are suggestions. PNW Moto is an open forum populated by mature adults. These entries were put together by a group of experienced ride leaders that has learned largely by trial and error what works and what does not. Each ride leader, sweep and ride participant is likely to have his or her own ideas of what works.

Group Riding

Ride your own ride!—Simply put, do not ride beyond your comfort level. Group rides are not races, and nobody is concerned about who reaches the destination first or last. As long as everyone makes it home in one piece, everyone wins. Trust your instincts; if you feel uncomfortable with your speed (your heart is racing, your knuckles are white), SLOW DOWN! If someone is riding your back wheel, especially in corners, then move to the right and amiably wave them by.

Arrive prepared—Arrive on time with a full gas tank and be sure you have done your standard pre-ride maintenance check (i.e., tire inflation, brakes, chain, turn signals, oil level, etc.).

Arrive early to attend the riders’ meeting—Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals. Meet the lead and sweep riders. Talk to the leader and sweep if you have reservations about your riding skill level or if you are planning to split off during the ride.

Ride in formation—The staggered riding formation allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards. On PNWR rides, you will often see the ride leader take up a position in the left third of the lane while the next rider will stay at least one second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group will then often follow the same staggered pattern. A single-file formation will often prevail when the group enters curves, experiences conditions of poor visibility or poor road surfaces, when entering/leaving highways, or in other situations where an increased space cushion or maneuvering room is needed.

Responsibility toward other riders—It is good to periodically check the riders following you in your rear view mirror. If you see a rider falling behind, you may wish to slow down so that they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up.

Separated from the group—If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Keep riding at your chosen pace until you reach the nearest intersection where the rider in front of you should be waiting to indicate the way. If you prefer to ride with others, then slow down or stop and wait for the rider behind you (or the sweep) to catch up.

Risky behavior—Keep an eye on the rider in front of you and behind you. If you see someone making poor judgment calls, behaving recklessly, endangering themselves or others or even appearing to ride beyond their skill level, then you may want to keep extra distance between yourself and that rider by dropping back or moving up. You don’t have to confront that person about their riding behavior; but you may wish to speak to the leader or sweep to make them aware of the situation.

Wait at intersections—Take care of the rider behind you. Wait at intersections until you are sure the rider behind you knows which way you and the group are going.

Don’t just split—You should notify the leader and/or sweep if you are splitting off from the group. This will ensure that the group won’t spend the rest of the ride searching ditches for you and your crumpled bike.

Gear—Many PNW riders wear as much protective gear as possible. It’s not uncommon to see riders in a leather or textile jacket and pants, armored boots, armored gauntlet gloves, a back/chest protector, and a full-face helmet. While most encourage wearing protective gear, we realize that ultimately it is a personal choice, and you make the final decision about the protective gear you use.

ICE - UPDATED—With the prevalence of smart phones these days, it's a much better idea to have a bracelet or dog tag with the ICE numbers on them. In case of an accident, everything else might get separated from the rider, including clothes and helmet, while the bracelet or a dog tag have the highest likelihood of remaining.

Cell numbers— At the least, the leader and sweep should have each others’ numbers and all riders should have the ride leader’s number.

Leading a Ride

Responsibility—Leading is a big responsibility. What you do has direct bearing on the rest of the group. Therefore, you need to set the tone and ensure that everyone keeps within the bounds of intelligent and safe riding protocol. You, more than anyone, are responsible for keeping everyone together, safe, legal and having fun.

Head count—Leaders and sweeps absolutely need to take a head count at the beginning in order to keep an account of all riders at each stop.

Know rider skill levels—It is smart for the ride leader to get a sense of the skill level of the riders he or she is leading. If you introduce yourself to riders you don’t know, you can ascertain things like how many years they’ve been riding, their total mileage, dirt and/or track experience or professional training that can help you determine a rider’s abilities and whether you might need to give them extra attention or to adjust the ride pace.

Hold a riders’ meeting—Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, waiting at intersections and hand signals. Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider. Both should be experienced riders who are well versed in group-riding procedures and know the route.

Keep the group to a manageable size—Ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group into smaller subgroups, each with a lead and sweep rider.

Managing the pace—You are largely responsible for the pace of the ride. Determine beforehand (when you post the ride or when you see who arrives) the desired pace. Be sure you aren’t riding away from the riders behind you. Likewise, be aware if everyone is bunched up on your back wheel. If you sense that some riders are dogging you and others are spread out, suggest that the riders wanting to go faster go ahead and wait at the next turn. It is also wise policy to slow the pace down on straights, to allow others to catch up, and then to allow everyone to go their own pace through the turns.

Ride prepared—At least one rider in each group should pack a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool kit, so the group is prepared for any problem that they might encounter. If anyone has first-aid or EMT/nursing skills, volunteer that information.

Liability—As you know, motorcycling is a risky activity. How We Ride is an attempt to make our group rides as safe and enjoyable as possible. You are ultimately responsible for your own ride. The ride leader and sweep can only do so much, and they are fallible, too. Keep this in mind when you participate on any group ride.

Posting a Group Ride

Can anyone do it?—Anyone may lead a group ride. But, prior experience in leading—or at least extensive riding experience in a group—is recommended before leading your own ride.

Posting your ride thread—Place your thread in your regional subforum and include:

In the subject line, the date, route and the word “Ride.”

In the body, the date, meeting time, meeting place (with a Google map link) and proposed route (as specific or as vague as you like; some even include a Google map of the route).

Also in the body, the distance, how many stops are expected, elapsed ride time, how technical the ride will be (two-lane mountain switchbacks or highway cruising) and a suggested skill level and speed (advanced spirited ride/beginner relaxed-pace ride).

Incident Response

Quite often when someone goes down, people are unsure what to do and don’t realize how important it is to get things under control as soon as possible. It is suggested that when a rider goes down:

First bike to the scene—Stop, safely park your bike off the roadway and attend to the rider. Make sure the rider is OK. If he or she needs first-aid, get someone who knows it and/or have someone call 911. DO NOT LEAVE THE DOWNED RIDER. If the rider is fine, the two of you can begin to get the bike back on the road.
Second and third bikes to the scene—Park off the road and post yourselves in position along the roadway to alert and direct traffic. If needed, ask passersby for help (e.g., we need a truck and rope to pull the bike out of a ditch/can you drive somewhere to call 911 please?)
Fourth rider to the scene—Park safely off the road and help the rider and first guy with the bike or anything else needed.
Everyone else—Continue down the road until you find a safe area to turn off and wait! We do not need spectators clogging up the road and attracting attention. If more people are needed, the fourth rider will be sent to get you. Any information that needs to be relayed, the fourth rider will come and tell you. If it appears that no further assistance will be needed from everyone else, they should continue on the ride.
Rusty Nail, DKBOM and ShootPDX like this.

Edited by Lena on Aug 3rd 2017 at 11:02 PM
Aug 2nd 2017, 05:24 PM   #2
 caslaw's Avatar
 
  Feb 2016
  Portland

  2015 KTM 1190 Adventure; 2010 WR250R
I suggest inserting the use of a "sweep" where you have your headcount listed.

Having run rides of over 20 bikes many times it is hard to count at every stop and I can only count to 5 because that's the number of fingers on my non-throttle hand.

Sweep is a very important responsibility and the sweep's job is to never let anyone behind them. If you need to check out, check out with the sweep. I look for the sweep at stops and the sweep to signal me to proceed. It's not perfect but it is the easiest system especially on large group rides.

I also suggest adding the reminder that riding fast in the straights and slow in the corners is DANGEROUS for everyone. If you feel another rider coming up on you in the corners, don't gas it in the straights, waive the rider by in the straight instead. Otherwise riders can get frustrated and attempt dangerous passes. It's not a race and we want everyone back next week!
Aug 3rd 2017, 10:44 PM   #3
 kornflake's Avatar
 
  Jul 2016
  Oregon

  929 streetfighter - husky 701 sumo - XR650R
In my best Richard Dawson voice...

SUMO SAYS!:

Quote:
Originally Posted by caslaw
I also suggest adding the reminder that riding fast in the straights and slow in the corners is DANGEROUS for everyone. If you feel another rider coming up on you in the corners, don't gas it in the straights, waive the rider by in the straight instead. Otherwise riders can get frustrated and attempt dangerous passes. It's not a race and we want everyone back next week!
Aug 3rd 2017, 11:01 PM   #4
 Lena's Avatar
Forum Admin
 
  Jan 2016
  Portland

  Monsters
Quote:
Originally Posted by caslaw
I suggest inserting the use of a "sweep" where you have your headcount listed.

Having run rides of over 20 bikes many times it is hard to count at every stop and I can only count to 5 because that's the number of fingers on my non-throttle hand.

Sweep is a very important responsibility and the sweep's job is to never let anyone behind them. If you need to check out, check out with the sweep. I look for the sweep at stops and the sweep to signal me to proceed. It's not perfect but it is the easiest system especially on large group rides.

I also suggest adding the reminder that riding fast in the straights and slow in the corners is DANGEROUS for everyone. If you feel another rider coming up on you in the corners, don't gas it in the straights, waive the rider by in the straight instead. Otherwise riders can get frustrated and attempt dangerous passes. It's not a race and we want everyone back next week!
Well said, it's all already in there! I did add the sweep to the headcount sentence. I lost the tidbit about the hand signals though. Does anyone have that?
Aug 11th 2017, 08:10 PM   #5
 ShootPDX's Avatar
 
  May 2016
  Happy Valley area (Clackamas)

  SV650S Silver, HD Sportster
Thanks for (re)posting this!!!...much love!
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