Motorcycle Group Riding Etiquette

Editor@Throttle|Updated: October 25, 2018 7:55

Group riding Etiquette

As riders, we all know that riding in group is complelety different from riding solo. Riding in group is more about following rules, taking care of formations and adjusting to riding styles of fellow bikers. The success or failure of a group ride largely has to do with the riding etiquette (or lack thereof). While some groups share what’s expected of members when it comes to following traffic laws, riding staggered, hand signals, etc., many times what ultimately determines the fun the group has is decided by the often unspoken group riding etiquette rules.It is the co-ordination among fellow bikers that makes group riding a memorable experience. 
Here are some tips to follow on group rides :
1. Strictly adhere to time
There is no such thing as being fashionably late when riding with groups. When riding with a group, especially a new group, it is extremely important to be respectful of everyone’s time. Most riders have limited time on their motorcycles. There are few things more annoying than waiting around at a smelly gas station for a straggler. And nothing will get you uninvited to a private group ride more quickly than being chronically fashionably late.  
2. Come prepared with the route details.
Unless the route is a complete mystery don’t ask repeatedly, “Are we there yet?” If you want play-by-play information such as how long until the lunch stop, bathroom break, or the destination, invest in a GPS or print a copy of the route and bring it with you. Many ride leaders put a good deal of work into creating and sharing the route in advance.  
3. Know where to ride in the pack.
Rider placement in a group is important and different groups do things differently. Some groups prefer to put the most relaxed or inexperienced rider behind the ride leader and other groups prefer to put her at the rear in front of the sweep. It is advisable to keep your ego to yourself while riding in groups.
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4. Gauge break lengths by the group leader’s actions. 
If the leader hasn’t communicated how long the break will be, observe his/her actions. If he/she takes off the helmet, chances are you can take yours off too. Conversely, if he/she leaves the helmet on that's a good indication it’s a quick regroup or “gas-and-go” break. You should leave your helmet on too or risk getting death stares from your fellow riders as they wait for you so the adventure can continue.  
5. Be ready to saddle up at the end of a break.  
After the leader has announced it’s time to saddle up,do not decide to go for any breaks. If you need frequent long breaks then take the initiative to form and lead group rides with other like-minded bikers. Ensure that you don't take many breaks while riding in group.

6. Don’t get in front of the ride leader.
A ride leader is the one who as planned rides and is in charge of the group. Riding in the same sequence as decided goes a long way. This way no one needs to bother where you are placed and the rde becomes more enjoyable and fun. This is in fact a very important point to remember to keep the group harmony. 

7. Be flexible.
There are times when things don't quite work out the way they are planned. Whether it’s finding out the lunch spot is closed, the route gets detoured, or someone gets a flat, attitude is everything when riding with a group.Hence be flexible in your attitude and find out ways in such situations.
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8. See something, say something (privately)
When leading big groups it can be hard to see all the way to the last rider. If you see something the ride leader needs to know, pull him/her aside and share it privately.

For example, if you notice that some riders are having a hard time with spacing or maintaining their speed, it could be an indication that they’re fatigued and the group needs a break. The leader needs to know. Also if you see something that impacts the group’s safety such as drug or alcohol consumption, speak up. You never want a group excursion to end with an ambulance ride or worse! Tact and diplomacy are the key; how you say something is as important as what you say. 
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9. Ride your own ride.
Remember to set your own pace and ride your own ride. Unless you’re being held hostage by a rogue motorcycle gang, you only have yourself to blame if you find yourself riding above your abilities. If you fall behind, many groups have a policy of regrouping at designated spots or waiting at turns so most of the time you will not be left behind.
However, if joining a new group ensure that you are familiar with the route and know where the ride ends. If you get seperated it is a cause of worry for everyone.

10. Saying thank you goes a long way.
A lot of work goes into organizing a ride, creating a route, producing GPS files and maps, picking lunch destinations, promoting the ride,and leading it. Expressing your appreciation for the organizer’s hard work is one way to be invited again. Be sure to thank the sweep as well. 
Riding in groups is a fun activity if you adhere to simple practices. Group riding allows you to explore some beautfiul destinations and create bonds with fellow bikers for a lifetime. So if you are a newbie and want to explore your motorcycling abilities, group riding is something you need to definitely look out for!