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wreckerman
02-06-2005, 12:49 AM
Mom had a post here about group riding, and it got me to thinking we have a lot of folks here that are born again riders, and I know most of us have rode with 2, 4, maybe even 6 buddies, but how many have truely rode in a group say 10 or more bikes? Believe it or not there is a lot to doing this safely. First off do you know that a group is arranged in a packing order, know that's not to say that this is any kind of a law, but clubbers have been moving in large groups for years and there is one thing that they do respect and that is the group ride. So tearing a page from this I would like to share some tips.

Lead Bikes - this is usually your road captain and president of the group.
Next few bikes - are usually some of your more experienced riders, side note here it's always best when possible to allow buddies to ride next to each other.
In the middle of the pack - is were you put your least experience riders this takes the pressure off of them i.e. they just have to worry about the space in front of them and the partner next to them. All other details of the ride such as traffic turns, gas stops, road obsticles, are covered by the front bikes.
The misfits - the guys that like to yahoo their bikes or have parts falling off their bikes (poor maintenence) are toward the back of the pack.
The last bike in the pack - should be one of your most expierence riders, it also helps if he has one of the fastest bikes, he has several responsibilties one is make sure he is visable to the front of the pack, two is to pull over with any bike that breaks down access the situation and catch up with the rest of the pack to notify the leaders of the problem if needed.
When pack riding no one is ever left stranded, it is also a good practice that if one bike has to split off early or leave that another one go with.

Riders responsibilities - are to let the group leader know if you have any specific problems such as poor gas milage with a small tank, weak kidney's can't go 2 hours without stopping, and so on.... riders should always show up with a full tank of gas, and everything that they might need for a days ride. You cannot expect the group to stop because you need cash from the cash station or that you need a pack of smokes because you forgot to buy them.

Group leaders reponsibilities - include giving everybody a rundown of where you are going, whether you plan on grabbing a meal, and how many miles between gas stops, also to plan traffic signals so that the whole group gets through, if the group should get split up, the lead group should never turn off the highway, unless they leave a bike on the corner to let you know that a turn has been made.
This is just a rough outline but something that might help you on your ride.

Growlpipe
02-06-2005, 12:54 AM
Good read wrecker.

Horse
02-06-2005, 12:58 AM
Great advise and thanks for the followup to momsridin post "Help??I need advice...please"

Tony
02-06-2005, 01:44 AM
Good post Wreck!

anarchy
02-06-2005, 02:50 AM
excellent summary, wrecker...

Drebbin
02-07-2005, 10:04 AM
Thanks Wreck - good info - the only adjustment I'd make is to have the most inexperienced riders up front behind the 2-3 leaders. Problem is, unless you know who they are - inexperienced riders rarely admit it. THNX, DREBBIN

NY90
02-07-2005, 10:39 AM
Thanks Wrecker. Always important to get stuff like this out there.
Usually,a new and inexperienced rider would not know what questions to ask.So it is up to those in the know to offer any info availabe.
This covered the ettiquette of group riding and the pecking order but, do you have some info on the actual techniques of group riding?

02-07-2005, 12:05 PM
Thanks Wreck - good info - the only adjustment I'd make is to have the most inexperienced riders up front behind the 2-3 leaders. Problem is, unless you know who they are - inexperienced riders rarely admit it. THNX, DREBBIN
Great info Wreck.

I believe the Harley Owners Group Officers Manual takes the same position as Drebbin regarding where the "newbies" should be placed in the pack. I believe it has to do with "evaluating" their skills and subjecting them to less "rubber-banding" -- but, I'm not entirely sure.

All I'd like to add is: RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO SIGHTSEE! Keep your eyes on the bikes and traffic ahead of you -- at least 12 seconds ahead of you if at all possible.

MLC
02-07-2005, 01:22 PM
could somebody post an article from the hog group rides manual or any book or magazine articles that might be out there? i'm a pretty new rider and would like to read up on riding in a group. i have been invited on several trips this spring and summer that will have 10 or more bikes in each of these rides. maybe drebbin knows of a few books that i can track down and read up. thanks in advance.

gliderider94
02-07-2005, 02:08 PM
Excellent post Wrecker. I agree 1000% with everything that you said, but I would like to add a comment or two.

I've been riding seriously for nearly thirty years. I've ridden with ALL sizes and types of groups there are. Everything from two or three bikes on a cross country trip to leading a run of over 6500 bikes for a charity ride. I was road captain for a HOG group for nearly ten years. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING I have ever done had prepared me for riding with a real M/C club in a pack. Everything Wrecker says is exactly how every M/C club I know rides. It is close and intense. I mean nothing of a derogative nature when I say this, but, judging from the posts I've read around here lately, very few of you are ready for club style riding. I could not stress enough how much I feel the HOG manual of group riding is a VERY GOOD PLACE to start for those who do not regularly ride in large groups. There are a few things they do that I do not feel apply in an M/C setting, but all in all their program is designed to foster the skills needed for those uninitiated in group riding.


Thanks Wreck - good info - the only adjustment I'd make is to have the most inexperienced riders up front behind the 2-3 leaders. Problem is, unless you know who they are - inexperienced riders rarely admit it. THNX, DREBBIN

It dosen't take long to tell who the inexperienced and experienced pack riders are. There is a lot of complicated stuff that can and will happen in any large group ride and ALL OF IT happens at the front of the pack. You want your newbies in "the craddle" as we call it, where they just have to ride and follow the guys in front of them and not have to think too much.

Also, most HOG chapters regularly host what they call "new riders" runs. These rides are specificly tailored for those not familiar with the skills set needed to ride in large groups and they have a very good way of disseminating the information needed to sucessfully run a group ride of any size.

That having been said, please keep in mind that the HOG method is a set of "best practices" to be applied to a group of riders made up of all levels of skills. There are a lot of things that the clubs do differently simply because the make up of the pack is one of generally far more skillfull riders then the usuall HOG pack. I've seen far more dangerous bad habits and many more accidents or close calls in the HOG pack then any other pack riding situations I've been in simply because HOG has a high degree of new or inexperienced riders. But, it is still the best place to learn. In a HOG ride you will be educated by the leaders for any bad habits or incorrect practices they witness. In a club pack in all likelyness you will be warned once then get your ass kicked the next time.

HOG stresses a stagered formation which prohibits at all cost "side by side" riding. They also stress a spacing (front and back) between bikes that is proportionate to the speed of travel. This is done to allow each rider an ultimate degree of manuvarable space should a sudden avoidance situation arrise. The M/C packs ride side by side and TIGHT!!! We ride with an average distance between bikes (front to back) of about two to four feet (the closer the better is stressed). This done no matter weather we're doing 25 MPH through a urban neighborhood, 80 MPH on a cross country day long freeway run or winding the dragons tail. It WILL scare the living crap out of you at first, but you will become used to it. Sometimes I don't really like it, but that's just the way it is.

Have fun, be safe, do what your comfortable with.

MLC
02-07-2005, 02:36 PM
I just found the links over in mom's thread about group riding. my read for the day. it looks like good info. thats the kind of stuff i was looking for. Thats one of the reasons i like this forum, good friendly advice helping all us newbies. great jokes and light heartred fun but when a serious question comes up you'll get an honest mature answer. thanks to all.

Harley-Ray
02-07-2005, 02:44 PM
My first group ride was a HOG function last year. It was huge, hundreds of riders leaving in many groups of 100+. Groups so big that the end rider could not see the front rider. We road staggered, as stated earlier.

I only had my bike 1 week prior to the ride. I did fine, but it was a little nerve wracking. I wasn't used to riding so close, (to me it was close), in hindsight it would have made more sense to have more experience on the bike and riding in groups before this outing. I found group riding fun but it was tiring, when you are so close there is no margin for error so you constatntly need to be on your toes.

The reason I posted this is so someone who is thinking about their FIRST group ride knows a little about what to be ready for. In addition to the great info Wrecker and Gliderider provided.

NY90
02-07-2005, 03:42 PM
I've been riding seriously for nearly thirty years. I've ridden with ALL sizes and types of groups there are. NOTHING and I mean NOTHING I have ever done had prepared me for riding with a real M/C club in a pack. Everything Wrecker says is exactly how every M/C club I know rides. It is close and intense. I mean nothing of a derogative nature when I say this, but, judging from the posts I've read around here lately, very few of you are ready for club style riding.

Have fun, be safe, do what your comfortable with.

Although never a club member,(That might change shortly) I have ridden with close friends for many years. Guys that I trust my life with. Those are the rides where tight formation is not only comfortable but required.
Any rider knows exactly what action or maneuver the other will make at any given situation. Years of experience is all it takes. No classroom training.
Once I rode with a club that picks a destination or must attend an event and there is no braking involved. Traffic is nonexistent. Between cars, around cars, zebra stripes, what ever it takes to get there at full throttle. That was my last ride of its kind.
I met a few of these guys at a Rolling Thunder gathering recently and the concensus was that we are all getting too old for "this shit". :D

Now I ride with a certain cluster and we always have a few new riders each week. They scare me! One wrong move and I leave them behind. Being courteous is one thing. Being dead, is another. :angry:
Ride Safe,90

02-07-2005, 05:06 PM
The M/C packs ride side by side and TIGHT!!! We ride with an average distance between bikes (front to back) of about two to four feet (the closer the better is stressed). This done no matter weather we're doing 25 MPH through a urban neighborhood, 80 MPH on a cross country day long freeway run or winding the dragons tail.
You left out one of my favorite M/C pack stunts.

HAMC guys that I used to know traveled with HUGE SCREWDRIVERS that they dragged on the pavement at night: Maybe ten bikes, all dragging steel, sparks flying everywhere, and a nice sharp point for whatever needed sticking.

johnnyb57
02-07-2005, 05:45 PM
yea group riding can be fun, but going on an organized ride you got to look out for the boob who's going to pull some sort of childish stunt that he's going to screw up and take someone with him,or not paying attention and wack you in the rear...happens all the time so choose whos in front and in the rear of you carefully if you can...basicly you have to py alot of attention to whats going on all around you, the other thing that can suck is if someone wants to be difficult to where you go, stop, eat, and drink, kind of like adult day care if you ask me..Sometimes its better to just go alone...But on a lighter note go for the experience its a good time, and you'll be alright...