If you've never experienced the joy of group riding, you should call some friends and set up a group ride. Group riding is one of the best ways to ride. Not only do you get to have friends around when you ride, you'll also have them when reaching your destination. It's also a good way to stay safe while riding, too, because it will help you stay more visible to other motorists.
Below, we've gathered a few of the most important tips to keep in mind while you're riding in a group.
Preparation is a crucial part of group motorcycle riding because any lapse in preparation will affect the entire group. Before you leave for your trip, make sure your bike is well-maintained and ready for travel. The tires should be properly inflated and in good condition, and the engine fluids should be topped off. You'll also want to make sure you have a full gas tank and whatever water or snacks you'll need along the way. You don't want to be the one who holds up the group because you forgot something basic.
Plan Your Route
It's helpful to have the route planned out in advance of your ride so that everyone is on the same track and knows where to go. Any confusion on the route could lead to people getting separated and lost, problems that are headaches to fix. Everyone should be aware of the route, and when the lead rider makes a decision, everyone should follow. Getting separated is usually a worse problem than getting momentarily off track as a group.
You don't want to just ride in one big blob when you're riding in a group. The best formation to ride in is a staggered double line. The double line formation allows the group to stay much tighter than it would be in a single file line. You will also be able to ride in a tight formation without riding two-abreast in one lane, a practice which is illegal in some areas. You should ride about 2 seconds behind the rider directly in front of you. The rider that's in front and to the right or left of you should be about one second ahead of you.
Many riders like to use radios to keep in touch. While that's certainly an effective way to communicate, it's best to also learn some hand signals so that you can communicate if someone's radio goes out. Make sure everyone in the group knows simple signals like "pull off," "stop," "speed up," or "pass this vehicle."
Stay Within the Group's Riding Limits
One of the most important parts of group riding is respecting the riding skills of everyone in the group. In any group of riders, there will be some gap in riding skill between the most and least experienced riders. If you want to be safe, you'll need to stay within the limits of the least experienced rider. After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Pushing an inexperienced past his or her skill level could open up them-and by extension, the rest of the group-to a serious accident.
Group riding can be even more fun than riding by yourself. Give it a shot on your next ride!