Group Motorcycle Riding
Author - Ashley Benson
May 21, 2013 - San Diego, CA
Start with a MeetingNominate someone as the ride leader. A head honcho who has done group motorcycle riding more times than they can count and who is willing to take on a more involved roll. Then be sure to have a lead rider and a tail rider who take up both the front and the rear of the pack. Once everyone knows their rolls, discuss the route you'll be taking and make sure everyone is comfortable with the skill level it requires. Check in with any newer riders to make sure they understand the ride difficulty and can keep up. Then be sure to let everyone know where the designated stops for food, gas and stretch breaks will be as well as go over all hand signals.
Don't get too big for your britches
"The more the merrier" does not always apply when it comes to group rides. Keep your group down to a manageable size of riders between five and seven. If your ride is gets bigger than that, think about breaking the group up into smaller groups, each with their own lead and tail rider. This makes keeping track of riders easier and allows for less of a commotion if one rider needs to stop for an emergency.
Bring the essentials
While every rider should always have emergency supplies such as a working cell phone, first aid kit and tools, designate one rider as the “emergency situation” rider that has everything you need in a motorcycle emergency kit. Not only should they pack all of the things needed in case of an emergency, make sure they're mentally prepared to take care of unprepared for emergencies. Ideally, this person shouldn't be the ride leader, lead rider or tail rider in case they need to stop during a ride.
Group Motorcycle Riding Formation
Formation is huge when it comes to group riding. Not only does it give riders the proper space cushion to help gauge speed, maneuver and allow for time to react to any hazards, it also helps drivers on the road avoid motorcyclists.
To make this formation, the leader of the group ride should be in the left third of the lane while the next rider stays a full second behind them in the right third of the lane. The third rider should then be a full second behind the second rider but back in the left third of the lane, behind the lead rider. This pattern should continue with each additional rider.
If you plan to ride through a narrower road or a road with lower visibility or poor surface conditions where more of a space cushion is required, a single-file riding formation should be used. Either way, avoid a side-by-side riding formation at all times. This formation gives much less of a safety cushion and doesn't allow riders to maneuver around hazards without running into each other.
No Rider Left Behind
You may be a skilled rider who takes on all roads with ease, but some other riders may not be so up to par. Keep an eye on the riders behind you in your rear view mirror and slow down so that they can keep up if you see them dropping behind. If each rider in your group motorcycle riding formation does the same, all of the riders should be going at a pace that is comfortable for everyone.
Group Motorcycle Riding Separation Anxiety
Still, riders will get separated. Whether it's a red light or a car that just isn't getting the hint, you might find yourself broken away from the majority of your group. If this happens, don't panic. If you had your pre-ride meeting, you should know where the designated stops are located. Go at a safe pace and just meet the rest of your ride there. Try not to break the law or ride faster than your skills allow catching up to the group.
Enjoy the Ride
Most importantly, enjoy group motorcycle riding. It's not for everyone, so if it's your first time, be okay with admitting if riding with other just isn't your cup of tea, but don't let it drag down the rest of the group. After all, you're riding… so what more could you want?