Group Motorcycle Riding : Pros and Cons

It feels good to do activities with people who likes to do same things that you do right? If you like motorcycle riding then think how fun it would be if you join a motorcycle convoy. There is this kind of camaraderie and security as well as risks if you choose to ride in groups.

Motorcycle riding with a group feels great because you have people to share your experiences and expectations. The number of people you ride with makes you feel secure especially when unexpected things happen. Some motorcyclists like to do camping weekends, some like riding down scenic highways, others like speed,some like hair pin turns,others prefer great sweeping curves or prefer to ride in the dirt. So it is important to seek company of like-minded people. Other motorcyclists only wants to ride a bike of a particular brand like Harley Davidson motorcycles for example. Once you find a group, there should be a pre-ride discussion and establish the basics down like your destination,preferences and talk about signals,pace and details like gas stops and routes.

Make sure that everyone in the group understands these symbols before heading out to avoid surprises. Use those signals liberally on the road so that other riders are aware of your intentions. Set a meeting place in case someone gets cut off from the group. It is always good to ride in sub-groups like four bikes riding together is safer than larger numbers where it can get confusing and frustrating. So think in multiples of five. Have the group’s leader lead the pack and should signal early and slow gradually. He should know the way ,well ahead of time and should have a plan not to disrupt other traffic and get everyone safely to their destination. Ideally a seasoned rider should be at the back of the road to ride sweep and take care to those who have problems. Everyone should have a cellphone to call for help just in case. Side-cars or trikes should be best at the back of the group or in a group of their own.

There should be a gap of four or more car lengths between each sub-groups of motorcycles. This formation leaves room for each bike and sub-groups to swerve to the side and provides reaction time to brake. When threat arises riding side to side limits routes to escape when you are close to any other vehicles. It would present a potential risk. If you are in close proximity with other riders, there’s a tendency to wander into each other’s zones and can cause you to be rear-ended or if not, two or more bikes in a group would collide. When everyone is stopping for fuel have one rider mans the nozzle (provided you use the same kind of fuel) and the rest of the bikers can simply march through and later figure out who owes what.

This system saves time compared to each rider has to get off his bike, picks up the nozzle and pays independently. I mean, riders should avoid wasting time because no rider wants to spend more time than he has to in gas stations. But what about the rider who does not want to ride with a bunch of other motorcyclists? The rider who thinks that riding with a group slows him down,changes the rhythm of his riding and gets in the way of the freedom that is the heart of why he rides? The fact is, some riders want to go it alone or ride only with one other rider he knows and trusts.

Motorcylce riding with more additional people will slow you down. You can only go as fast on the road, at lunch or in a gas station as the slowest member of the group. Give yourself plenty of margin if you are not comfortable with riders you wind up riding with and to discover you companion’s habits as well. A common issue is speed differential. Faster folks often complain that slower riders are slowing them down. On the other hand slower riders feel uncomfortable trying to keep up the pace with faster riders. Well both kinds of riders shouldn’t try to. We don’t want accidents or the tickets.

Basically if you feel uncomfortable with what others in the group are doing, drop out by all means, before it causes trouble, or better yet tell them to go ahead or go ahead yourself or take a side trip. So before committing totally to spending hours and days riding with a convoy, it is a good idea to do some shorter day or weekend rides with a certain group.

There are riders who jive with others personality-wise but contrast in their riding styles just plan to meet each evening and have leisurely meals but get from one point to another at their own pace and on their own routes. In motorcycle group riding, each rider is responsible for the one behind him. If you don’t see the rider behind you for a few minutes, signal the rider ahead, then slow down, pull over and wait for the riders behind you. You can avoid the three digit miles of backtracking if everyone in the group look out for the one behind him. But it is still possible to get lost from the group, such as when the rider wandered off the intended path or missed turns than those ahead.

To help your group stay intact, give everyone an emergency phone number in writing to call, agree on the next stop every time you all pause for gas, meals or scenic viewing. Be specific. And let everyone knows the day’s destination. Riding with a group is worth the initial adjustments to your companions habits. Who knows you may find someone you enjoy riding with and form a special bond.

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