Group rides are in a way like formation flying, best to be done with similar, aircraft or motorcycles. Done both on many occasions the more dissimilar the greater the difficulty
Four is the absolute max I'll ride with
Whatever you do everyone needs to know the PLAN
When I started reading about "Road Captains" and "Sweepers" I turned back to the cover to make sure I wasn't reading a Harley publication.
Just a few observations -
* I loved the sentence that said, "The captain's main objective is to protect and lead the group to the destination with joy, satisfaction and safety." "Joy"? Really?? :stick Maybe something got lost in translation.
* I guess I'm biased because a big group to me is when I go out with two other riders. Any more than that and I feel like I'm herding cats (or I'm one of the cats being herded).
[B]* I was out riding several weeks ago and kept crossing paths with a group of Harley riders. The "Sweeper" was driving a big SUV and pulling a trailer. :dunno[/B]
* I like Ted's approach. Hand out a route sheet with stops for lunch and the final destination. Let people ride at their own pace.
* A group captain wouldn't want me in his/her group. I hate to ride in a staggered formation. (I'm retired Army. I spent 30+ years in formations.) I like to keep changing my line to see what the people behind me do. :nono
* I've done a few Edelweiss Tours. By the end of the day my nerves were shot . . . so many different riders with so many different styles. The next time I ride in Europe I'll ride alone.
Our club does monthly ride to eat where about 1/2 ride together to get there and half coming from other directions just show up. While the group may be self selecting so attracts folks of similar riding skill/experience, we have very few issues and it makes for a nice ride.
Most of the folks who show up are very experienced- they're regular rally attendees, ride cross country, commute regularly on bikes, etc and have for many years. We always have a couple pillion riders and female operators- equally experienced. Once is a rare while we get a relative novice and when that happens, our leader will pull a couple mph off the pace especially in twisties to eliminate getting a novice in a bit deep. No one complains about the pace and we ride the typical stagger- its a social group out having lunch with friends and that's what drives the atmosphere. We all understand if you want more serious play at speeds guaranteed to earn performance awards if observed, then the group ride isn't the place for it- but we don't stay under all posted speeds either, when out in the country.
We've had no safety issues or problems BUT our routes also take us on country roads outside of metro areas or even most small towns so we're not in traffic. And here in eastern NC, we have a lot less blind, decreasing radius turns than one finds in western NC.
Our group size rarely exceeds 8 machines and a dozen people.
I share reservations about really large group rides and wouldn't join one of those large side by side Harley parades on a bet- around here they're full of folks who put maybe 2000 a yr on their bike and only take it out when they know the ride won't cause an hour of chrome polishing- those bikes aren't even on the road in our mild winters. I also don't have any appreciation for someone else's unmuffled pipes in my face- there is no reason I can think of that would get me to tolerate that.
[QUOTE=Mika;830655]Riding is something that I do alone but some times we end up doing together. What do you do in ÔÇô Not a Group Ride Group Ride ÔÇô situations?
I would find some guidelines very helpful for these.
Example 1: At a rally finding yourself behind or part of an informal group heading out to a restaurant.
At the rallys I have attended I have found myself behind groups going to restarunts. When I have tried passing they have reacted in various ways. What is the best way to deal with this?
Example 2: On solo fall color rides I have found myself unintentionally part of a 'pack' of disperate motorcyclist, with no ride captain and cages treating us like one group.
How do the rest of you deal with these?[/QUOTE]
I ride most of the time with my wife Annie. Our rule is to stay far enough apart so that it does not matter what part of the lane we are in. Essentially we treat each other as if the other person is in a car and give space accordingly. It is not uncommon for us to be a 1/4 mile apart on a rural road or slab. Getting separated is not a big issue. We use radios and generally know where we are headed. If we encounter a group we either keep our distance, pull over or pass if the situation permits. Space = Safety.
Wow! Three separate "group riding" topics going on the boards in the last 12 hours. Must have hit a nerve.
We do it all the time.
I have been on group rides both at rallies and club rides. We had a great ride last year visiting covered bridges in W. Ct. Quite a variety of bikes and riders, I brought along a friend with a Bergman. The leader made all the difference.
I went on a breakfast ride a couple of years ago in Ma. and got lost with another rider. All in all I prefer alone but it is fun to run into other riders when out exploring at a rally.
The best group ride is three people ... and one of them doesn't show up.
Always plan an out
In any group ride at the start plan an out, if someone going to leave the group. then make a signal to let everyone know that someone volunteering to leave.
I have ridden in many groups of various size. It can be anything from enjoyable to frightening, depending on many factors. One thing is fairly certain- few, if any every day motorcyclists have any formal training in group riding. This article is enlightening, but I'm about 100% sure that no one I know has read, or will read it! Too bad, as there is some good info here. Of course it isn't every day (or very often) that I ride in a group of more than 6 or so riders. The opportunity just doesn't come up- not that I'd leap at the chance anyway...
One of the most impressive groups I ever witnessed was a PA State Police squad of motorcycle cops riding on I-81. One leader, one sweep, and 12 or 14 riders in the main group- all side by side, everyone riding cohesively, pretty much as a single unit. It was pretty neat to see them.
[QUOTE=Royce;832806]The best group ride is three people ... and one of them doesn't show up.[/QUOTE]
I've ridden in group rides numbering from 2 to over 2,000 (Chicago-area [I]Ride-For-Kids[/I] events - done several of these mega-rides), as well as formation escorts during my law enforcement motor years.
I'm warming up to Royce's philosophy.
I will do an occasional charity ride. It depends a lot on where they start....based on past experience. If the gathering location is a tavern, I don't even consider the ride.
My first experience was a late fall toy ride in Springfield, Ohio. 1980's. Temps were in the 30's on an overcast windy day. The sheriff department led the pack. We gathered at a bar in the middle of nowhere west of town at 9 in the morning. I was the only BMW in a mixed herd of mostly V Twins. I was dressed for the cold ride, but many of the riders were wearing their colors, some in only a leather vest and no shirt. There was a lot beer and other adult beverage being consumed. The sheriff deputies did a great job of leading the herd about 15 miles to the fairgrounds east of town where the alcohol consumption resumed. I put my toy in the pile and left during the thank you speeches to avoid riding any further with the drunks.
I moved from that part of the world and only participated in a few small group rides before giving the charity thing another try.
More than 10 years later I took my grandson as a second rider on another toy run that started at a local tavern. Again I was the only BMW rider. This time, they did about 6 checkpoints (all taverns) on a 60 mile ride on a beautiful day. The booze consumption started at the gathering point and most of the riders had another beer or two at every stop. You could ride in a herd or get to the next point as an individual. After the 2nd checkpoint I did not want to be anywhere near any of this group so I quit the ride and took my grandson out for lunch far from their ride.
Recently, I have participated in a couple charity rides for the Salvation Army. One began at the local Wal-Mart and the other at a local multiple brand motorcycle shop. The local Gold Wing Riders & bike shop ran the events very well and safely. These were enjoyable experiences with small groups and individuals riding to the poker run check points at local ice cream shops and community parks in the beautiful hilly area where I live. The sponsors provided a lunch at the end of the ride. Most of the bikes were V-twins or Wings with a good mixture of most other makes. In both cases, they were friendly groups and I found other solo riders seeking someone to talk to.
On the tavern related rides, no one would talk to me even when I tried to initiate conversation.
I have to confess I've never been on a "charity ride" and don't even understand the concept. Giving to those in need is good and I do it. Just don't understand how riding a motorcycle in a group benefits those who really could use some benefit. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.
Participating in a group ride with frequent stops for beer; well if your organ donor card is filled out, that does make you a likely giver to a very worthy charity. The doc's will probably pass on the liver.
In the 40+ years of riding & general involvement in motorcycles, I have participated in only two charity rides. I found early on it was not for me. Now i still support many, and will [go] to the opening ceremony and buy the $20 Tee shirt [I don't need] and buy the $5 hot-dog [I don't need] ....but will pass on the ride each & every time. For the very same negative reasons already mentioned. And as also mentioned, I found myself to be the only [or one of a very few] BMWs in attendance.
That said. I do hope they continue as I do believe they raise funds that are necessary and appreciated, as well as put to good use. It is my opinion though that if the beer / bar stops, are ever stopped? The participation will diminish a-bunch.
[QUOTE=BCKRIDER;845489]I have to confess I've never been on a "charity ride" and don't even understand the concept. Giving to those in need is good and I do it. Just don't understand how riding a motorcycle in a group benefits those who really could use some benefit. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.
Participating in a group ride with frequent stops for beer; well if your organ donor card is filled out, that does make you a likely giver to a very worthy charity. The doc's will probably pass on the liver.[/QUOTE]
My posting about charity rides was to show how they could benefit from at least some of the group riding "rules" in the original post.
You are to be commended for supporting those in need without any incentive. On the other hand, many people seem to need the encouragement of a social function or opportunity for personal benefit. I perceive a motorcycle charity ride as no different than a fundraising banquet, concert, walk, run, product sale, 50/50 sale, lottery, charity bingo or other variation of a social or personal benefit function that helps people make a decision to give. I confess that I bought a MOA Foundation ticket last summer because I had the chance to win a new bike. I may have given a more modest donation without the incentive.