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Seems like only a few of us really ever do group rides. Well, I been doin em since the late 70s with up to 150 ? in the pack...plan on keepin on till I cant ride anymore.
Just a few rules of thumb for group rides, especially if with a crew yer not used to :

Newer, less experienced ride to the rear. This way, if a new guy lays his bike down, he wont take a bunch with him. The extreme rear, know as "the tail", would be 2 members from the sanctioning group, to help stragglers and such. A job often given to prospects.

Ride staggered. Meaning, that on a 2 lane road, you ride to the opposite side of the lane as the bike in front of you. 30mph or less, one bike distance is enough, because this gives you 3 bike lengths from the guy directly in front. 45mph, ride 2 lengths....55 and over, 3 lengths. More than enough room to see an oops and avoid. Riding in groups and having large gaps is also bad, because if a soccer mom in a cage see's an opening, she may dart out, not realizing there are 20 more coming. Keep it tight, but safely tight.

When a large group, try to arrange for a tender truck...first aid kit, tools, gas, ramps, compressor in case of on the road problems.

In groups of 30 or more, plan the route, then allert the local PDs on that route that you'll be coming thru. Very often, especially in rural areas, they can give ya escorts, or wave all on thru a redlight and such. Cops would rather ya let em know than need to run to an MVA.

Not a necessity, but printed maps of the route distributed to all helps in case someone lags behind or gets lost.

No showboating. Im constantly seeing groups of sportbike riders wheelieing, weaving, and passing each other. Its a ride, not a racetrack.

Lil late for these words this year, in the NE anyway, as Oct is the last month for most sactioned rides. But stuff to think about over the winter, if ya ever plan on going on a charity run or whatever.
 

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We call the member in the rear of the pack " the sweeper ". Good advice. We ride staggered, give out maps, and stick to the speed limits. Last Saturday we had 45 bikes on a 200 mile run, 3 weeks ago I had 38 bikes, and in July I had 54 bikes on a run. We have a group ride just about every other weekend. All makes and models welcome.
 

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We call 'em the tail gunner here. Tons of practical advice in there. The only thing I would add is a phone list of key people in the group: leader,tail, and a few more depending on the size of the group.
 

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OK....I really don't like group rides, especially if it's more than 6 or 7 bikes....

But what I really hate is when a big group is stretched out over a mile on a highway and makes no effort to let those wishing to pass to get by them.
Ideally rather than running a mile long train of bikes, they should break into groups of 5-10 bikes and space themselves out so other traffic on the highway can pass them.

I almost took out some clown in my car once because there was a large "gap" that I started to move into, (in a mile long line of bikes ...going a good 10 mph under the speed limit) only to have the bike way behind me in that lane try and SPEED UP and cut me off to keep me from getting in their "line" of bikes.

This on a two lane with signs clearly saying "slower traffic keep right"

All I can say is at least the "crazy sport bike" riders don't slow the flow of traffic.........
 

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Why last Saturday was our best run. We have a motorcycle group of 190 members. Anyone can post a Meetup and run, and anyone who wants to go just rsvp's and shows up. One of our members has a friend named Scott. Scott was diagnosed with terminal cancer on St.Patricks day. He was given until July to live. He has ridden all his life but never on a Harley. One of his last wishes before he died was to ride a Harley. A Harley dealer 70 miles from Rochester said they would give us any Harley we wanted for Scott to ride for the day. We got the Harley, a $29,000 trike, drove 50 miles to where Scott lives, met at a fire station one mile from Scott's house, and then drove to Scott's house. He knew nothing about this and was totally shocked and in tears when 44 strangers pulled into his driveway on motorcycles. Scott drove the Harley for 90 miles and was all smiles at every stop. We were able to give him one of his last wishes before he passes.
 

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Why last Saturday was our best run. We have a motorcycle group of 190 members. Anyone can post a Meetup and run, and anyone who wants to go just rsvp's and shows up. One of our members has a friend named Scott. Scott was diagnosed with terminal cancer on St.Patricks day. He was given until July to live. He has ridden all his life but never on a Harley. One of his last wishes before he died was to ride a Harley. A Harley dealer 70 miles from Rochester said they would give us any Harley we wanted for Scott to ride for the day. We got the Harley, a $29,000 trike, drove 50 miles to where Scott lives, met at a fire station one mile from Scott's house, and then drove to Scott's house. He knew nothing about this and was totally shocked and in tears when 44 strangers pulled into his driveway on motorcycles. Scott drove the Harley for 90 miles and was all smiles at every stop. We were able to give him one of his last wishes before he passes.
Like. thumbs up. Really that was a great thing to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One of his last wishes before he died was to ride a Harley. A Harley dealer 70 miles from Rochester said they would give us any Harley we wanted for Scott to ride for the day. We got the Harley, a $29,000 trike, drove 50 miles to where Scott lives, met at a fire station one mile from Scott's house, and then drove to Scott's house. He knew nothing about this and was totally shocked and in tears when 44 strangers pulled into his driveway on motorcycles. Scott drove the Harley for 90 miles and was all smiles at every stop. We were able to give him one of his last wishes before he passes.
This story brought a tear to MY eye...frickin awesome brother, frickin awesome....thats what brotherhood's all about !
 

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Why last Saturday was our best run. We have a motorcycle group of 190 members. Anyone can post a Meetup and run, and anyone who wants to go just rsvp's and shows up. One of our members has a friend named Scott. Scott was diagnosed with terminal cancer on St.Patricks day. He was given until July to live. He has ridden all his life but never on a Harley. One of his last wishes before he died was to ride a Harley. A Harley dealer 70 miles from Rochester said they would give us any Harley we wanted for Scott to ride for the day. We got the Harley, a $29,000 trike, drove 50 miles to where Scott lives, met at a fire station one mile from Scott's house, and then drove to Scott's house. He knew nothing about this and was totally shocked and in tears when 44 strangers pulled into his driveway on motorcycles. Scott drove the Harley for 90 miles and was all smiles at every stop. We were able to give him one of his last wishes before he passes.
Thank you to you and all the others that made a dream come true. That is a great example of the brotherhood that motorcycle riders have for one another. I am proud to be a rider and look forward to a time when I can help a fellow rider in what really counts. I salute you and your group.
 

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Thank you to you and all the others that made a dream come true. That is a great example of the brotherhood that motorcycle riders have for one another. I am proud to be a rider and look forward to a time when I can help a fellow rider in what really counts. I salute you and your group.
Thanks to all for the kind comments. I was glad to be part of it. I agree that there is a strong brotherhood among riders . It was a feel good day for everyone involved.
 

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Seems like only a few of us really ever do group rides. Well, I been doin em since the late 70s with up to 150 ? in the pack...plan on keepin on till I cant ride anymore.
Just a few rules of thumb for group rides, especially if with a crew yer not used to :

Newer, less experienced ride to the rear. This way, if a new guy lays his bike down, he wont take a bunch with him. The extreme rear, know as "the tail", would be 2 members from the sanctioning group, to help stragglers and such. A job often given to prospects.

Ride staggered. Meaning, that on a 2 lane road, you ride to the opposite side of the lane as the bike in front of you. 30mph or less, one bike distance is enough, because this gives you 3 bike lengths from the guy directly in front. 45mph, ride 2 lengths....55 and over, 3 lengths. More than enough room to see an oops and avoid. Riding in groups and having large gaps is also bad, because if a soccer mom in a cage see's an opening, she may dart out, not realizing there are 20 more coming. Keep it tight, but safely tight.

When a large group, try to arrange for a tender truck...first aid kit, tools, gas, ramps, compressor in case of on the road problems.

In groups of 30 or more, plan the route, then allert the local PDs on that route that you'll be coming thru. Very often, especially in rural areas, they can give ya escorts, or wave all on thru a redlight and such. Cops would rather ya let em know than need to run to an MVA.

Not a necessity, but printed maps of the route distributed to all helps in case someone lags behind or gets lost.

No showboating. Im constantly seeing groups of sportbike riders wheelieing, weaving, and passing each other. Its a ride, not a racetrack.

Lil late for these words this year, in the NE anyway, as Oct is the last month for most sactioned rides. But stuff to think about over the winter, if ya ever plan on going on a charity run or whatever.
Speaking from my great inexperience with group riding (rode once with two friends for about 60 miles), let me post a link to some guide lines for group riding:
http://www.msgroup.org/GroupRidingGuide.aspx

This is a great site to spend some time reading for thoughtful analysis of motorcycling habits (good and bad), accidents and near accidents and how to avoid them the next time, etc.

David L. Hough (pronounced Huff) in his Proficient Motorcycling books, has some interesting thoughts on how best to break big groups up into small groups for safety and to avoid becoming a rolling road block to other traffic. He considers 3 or 4 riders to be the ideal size group to keep track of each other while riding.

Correction: I re-read the group ride section last night and Hough was quoting a mc tour promoter in South Africa who reguarly ran groups of 50 or more. He had them break into small groups of 2 or 3. (NOT 4 as I wrote originally. :doh:) With 3 in a group each rider can always see the other two. Once you have 4 riders it is easy to have one screened from view of another.

The tour promoter said that on previous rides any accidents always happened with groups of 4 or larger.


I believe it is Hough who also advocates putting new riders in the group right behind the leader so they don`t get caught in the "rubber band effect" when the group stops and starts. It also gives gives experienced riders who are regulars with the group a chance to evaluate the newbie's skills, and decide when they are ready to ride where ever they choose to in the group.

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n:10520,p_lbr_one_browse-bin:David L. Hough

Not trying to rock the boat here or disagree with Wolfie and his apparent love of large group rides, just some ideas to consider when deciding if riding in large groups is for you.:) I'm not sure my riding skills are up to the task yet, so will continue to ride mostly solo myself for the forseeable future. :smiley_th
 

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^+1 on that.

I too always heard you put the new folks in front behind the leader, and that it's always safer to break large groups into smaller packs...

Oddly every group ride I've been on or had the chance to be on had at least one accident.

One of the problems as I see it is when you are just out riding amongst the cages, being on a bike gave you an advantage because you could always out accelerate them and their paths were easy to anticipate.

Riding with other bikes you no longer have the advantage of quickness, and predicting another bikes trajectory is alot harder. I've had more "close calls" with other bikes on a group ride than I ever have had in a trip in everyday traffic.

So again, I'll pass on the group thing...
 

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We generally break convention, and put new/less experienced riders in the rear. That way our tailgunner can watch them and offer advice, etc when called for. However you do it, I think the real trick is to have the lead and drag bikes in sync, that way you keep the pack good and tight. And when riding in a group, ride to the least experienced riders capabilities. You don't want anyone riding over their comfort level.

Knock on wood, but in 3 years in a club, we've not dropped a bike yet.
 

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Well I think the key there is just experience. If you are in a club that has many group rides a year, you just get more practice at it.

To be fair most if the group rides I was referring to were once a year type deals with diffrent riders each time. Lack of knowledge on rules, and inexperience are a good start at having problems.
 

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KM, you are absolutely right there. Last years Bikers for Babies was the scariest ride I've ever been on. For all the reasons listed above, plus selling beer at 9 am before the ride. I was amazed no one got hurt.
 

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Also you got the show offs. Look how fast I can go, look how close I can ride next you and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I still prefer keeping a group tight...been TOO many times when some noob left a gap, and an a-hole from a sidestreet tried to pull out in between. Luckily, no incidents, but just close calls...keep it tight, and dont give the cages an excuse to pull out in front of you.
 
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