Touring group guidelines
Every long distant trip, tour or ride needs considerable planning. Group motorcycle riding is no different except that planning is intense because of the number of people participating.
Groups of 10 to 20 people are manageable. But a larger group of 50 or more need a ride plan and several lead and tail leaders to keep everyone safe and together. The rewards for motorcycle touring include making new friends and learning new skills. To avoid risks everyone must maintain protocol.
Guideline for group riding;
This includes a route map, turn-by-turn directions, designated lunch and fuel stops, phone numbers for lead rider and emergency services. Discuss route conditions, hand signals, riding formation, skill level of riders. The responsibility of each rider within the motorcycle convoy is to understand and follow the ride plan. Each rider should come ready with a full tank of gas, fully serviced motorcycle, empty bladder, first aid kit, cell phone, spare cash, toolkit and a positive attitude.
Choose experienced leaders
The ride leader’s mandate is to follow the ride plan, keep riders safe and ensure the ride runs smoothly. He should not necessarily ride in front but has to set the riding pace. The leader must make a reasonable number of stops for bathroom breaks, gas and snacks. A tail/sweep rider monitors the group from behind. He watches out for stranglers, bikers doing unsafe manoeuvres and bikes with mechanical problems. Both the lead and tail riders should understand hand signals and use them efficiently.
Experience and skill levels
Place less experienced rider closer to the front, where the leader can easily observe their pace and challenges if any. Skilled riders can safely catch up with others hence best in the rear. Riders should maintain their skill level to avoid accidents. The convoy requires proper formation to avoid collisions between themselves and other motorists. Staggered formation – evenly spaced zig-zag line – is best if the road is wide. On narrower roads, a single-file formation will suffice. When riding in a large convoy break into groups to allow cars to cross the columns especially at exits points.
If you find yourself alone, signal the rider ahead, slow down to wait for the riders behind you. However, if a rider can’t catch up with other riders, he should use the emergency numbers and follow the pre-ride plan to get to the next stop. Everyone should have the evening’s destination to avoid losing riders.
Comments from motorcycle group riders
“I’d still do an intense group ride from time to time it fun and get some intensity followed by recovery followed by intensity, etc. Kind of like criss cross intervals. In a good group ride/race simulation, these can be much more intense which is food. Less structured but more intense”. – bbelanger – RoadBikeReview
“I stopped group riding because I don’t enjoy it. Riding a motorcycle is dangerous enough without adding proximity, speed, and incompatible skill levels for hours on end. The multiple screws embedded in my ankle and the corresponding hospital stay serve as a stark reminder of how a minor mistake can be amplified when that close to so many other riders”. – Rideapart.com
Motorcycle touring helps you share experiences, learn new skills and there’s security in number in case of unforeseen events.
Remember to enjoy the ride, cooperate with the group members and don’t show off. Leave that for solo rides.