Motorcycling is primarily a solo activity, but for many, riding as a group; whether with friends on a Sunday morning ride or with an organised motorcycle rally, is the ultimate motorcycling experience. Here are some tips to help ensure a fun and safe group ride:
Arrive prepared. Arrive on time with a full tank of petrol.
Hold a Riders’ meeting. You’ll already have had the benefit of discussing and agreeing the route through Rider Connect but it’s a good idea to cover it again before you set off. Agree rest and fuel stops, and a couple of hand signals (see below). Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider, both of whom should be experience riders. It’s best to keep the group to a manageable size, ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group into smaller sub-groups, separated by a few seconds, each with a lead and sweep rider.
Ride prepared. At least one rider in each group should carry a first-aid kit, and all riders should carry a mobile phone, so the group is prepared for any problem that they might encounter.
Download the British Red Cross 1st Aid app onto your mobile phone – You never know when you’ll need it.
Ride in formation. The staggered riding formation allows a proper space cushion between bikes so that each rider has enough time and space to manoeuvre and to react to hazards.
Avoid side-by-side formations, as they reduce the space cushion. If you suddenly needed to swerve to avoid a hazard, you wouldn’t have room to do so. Periodically check the riders following using your rear view mirrors. If you see a rider falling behind, slow down so they can catch up. If all the riders in the group use this procedure, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up. If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up. For mechanical or medical problems, use a mobile phone to call for assistance. If a rider wants to leave the group, this is best agreed beforehand, so the others don’t assume you are missing.