I did my first large group ride ever this past Sunday. I actually had a blast (that's my little Ducati on the left). The guys that wanted to go ultra fast led out front and everyone in between formed their own little groups. I felt entirely comfortable the whole time.
I have heard, read or talked to riders of the big group/charity rides and learned:
1. One Harley club INSISTED the riders all ride side by side, two bikes alongside each other, as their preferred group ride pattern. NO WAY! It may be legal in Wisconsin but it compromises all the riders.
2. Lead rider taking off and riding his own pace and all the others to follow. NO WAY! In a group ride and leader/captian sets the pace certainly, but to disregard the other riders means 1/2 pack and back the riders are going like hell to catch up.
3. Communication from front to back in the group can be a real challenge. Leader/captian must at least have a designated tail rider/cleanup.
4. Everyone on the ride is responsible for their own ride, for sure, but they must also compensate for the group.
5. Slower/inexperienced riders should NOT be at the tail end of the group. In fact, it is better the slower/inexperienced riders at at or near the leader/captain.
Group Riding Techniques
Very interesting reading, this, and the other referenced thread. Our little Space Coast Leaderless Group rides are a very informal thing, which IMHO are an invitation to trouble. When we meet in the morning the group discusses possible destinations for a ride usually to breakfast somewhere within 50 miles. Whoever leads that day just gets on his bike and... off we go. No brief, no nothing. I've made halfhearted attempts to introduce some structure to the process without success. Funny thing is... it's working.
To up the game (and improve safety) I offer the following 2 references. First is our own:usa MSF's paper on Group Riding, and second is an excellent thread published on the Ride the Rock website.:ca
Taken together, these two products treat the subject very well. The first post in the RTR post is the meat, the others are the potatoes (read "Opinions"). And, the MSF paper clearly illustrates the meaning of 1" and 2" spacing. Those riders who do not observe proper spacing, usually by being too far apart, jeopardize the continuity of the group, making the formation appear to be an uncoordinated, rag-tag group, or groups, of riders. This, in turn, makes for an ungodly long kite-tail for the leader to manage, leading to cage infusion/confusion and the probability of separation at traffic lights and other stops. :bolt:banghead
I went on my first and last group ride about 8 weeks ago... .it's just not as safe as riding alone or with a fried.