Group Riding Tips & Etiquette
Group riding is a lot of fun but can be hazardous for everyone in the group if done incorrectly. Please read thru these tips and make sure you understand them. If you have any questions, please ask another rider, or a club officer before our next ride.
Dress for the Slide, not the Ride!
Proper riding gear is Highly Recommended!
Be Prepared Before Going to the Ride Meetup Location.
Before leaving home, make sure you are doing a safety inspection of your bike and all your gear. Check tire pressure and tire condition. Do an inspection of your entire bike. Make sure it is road worthy before heading out.
Stop by the gas station and fuel up before arriving at the meetup location. You should be ready to head out when you arrive.
Know the Hand Signals
All group riders should know and understand hand signals. If the leader gives a signal, riders following should repeat the signals for riders further back in the group.
If you need to communicate something to the group, give the appropriate hand signal and the rider in the sweep position will pass it back up to the lead rider.
Group Riding Formations
Our group rides will be in one of two formations. Staggered and Single File. The formation depends on the riding conditions at the time, and can change back and forth during the same ride.
Lane positions are important. Try and maintain your position when possible. If you need to move out of your position, move back as soon as you can.
Staggered Formation. This is the most common formation we will ride in. This will be our riding formation on freeways and straight or slightly curvy roads. You will ride in either the #1 or #3 position. Don’t ride side-by-side. Don’t attempt to pass another rider in formation unless they have signaled for you to pass.
Single File Formation. We will switch to the single file formation while in twisty, mountain roads where riders may decide to use the full width of the lane for turning maneuvers. Don’t tailgate the rider in front of you. Don’t attempt to pass another rider unless they have signaled for you to pass. Never attempt to pass another rider on a corner/curve.
The lead rider will give a hand signal when we are changing our formation. If you see the leader give the signal for a different formation, repeat the hand signal for riders behind you.
After the hand signal has been given, safely move into the new riding formation.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND!
Try your best to maintain a proper distance between you and the rider in front of you and the rider staggered ahead of you. Riding too close doesn’t give you enough time to react to things in front of you. Leaving too much space between riders allows other vehicles to get between us, spreading our group out. Lets try to stay together.
If you are not comfortable with the speed the group is traveling, it’s better to drop out of formation, give the thumbs up as you’re leaving the group, and trail the group at a safe distance. DO NOT drop back and ride directly behind the sweep. You can just meet up with us at the next planned stop. Let the Group Lead know your concerns about the speed and we will take that into consideration and adjust our group speed accordingly.
On twisty, curvy mountain roads, RIDE YOUR RIDE! Do not feel the need to ride above your comfort or skill level on these roads. If you prefer a slower pace, then by all means, ride at a slower pace. Twisty, curvy mountain roads is one place we are ok with riders leaving larger gaps between bikes. Ride at your skill level! When the road straightens out, safely close the gap with the rider ahead of you. Safety is always our number one priority!
Staggered or Singe File, it’s always best to look well ahead of the bikes in front of you. Don’t fixate on the bike directly in front of you. In curves, always look deep into the curve, at where you want to end up.
Stay aware of your group’s riders
Each rider should periodically check their mirrors to ensure no one is left behind or is having trouble on the road. Also, keep an eye on the leader so you don’t miss any hand signals.
If you pull out of formation, give the other riders around you a hand signal if you are having trouble, or are just leaving the ride for the day. A thumbs up means everything is ok. Thumbs down means you are having trouble and the group’s sweep rider will pull off with you and provide assistance. He/she will also communicate with the Group Lead and keep him/her advised.
If a rider leaves during the ride, the rest of the group should re-form the staggered formation by criss-crossing into the next vacant position. Although it would seem more efficient for the column directly behind the missing rider to move up, we do not recommend it because passing another rider within a lane can be risky.
Coming to a Stop
When the group is coming to a stop at a red light or stop sign, come to a stop in a side-by-side formation to take up less space. When the signal turns green, the bike on the left proceeds thru the intersection first, with the rest of the formation falling back into staggered formation. Try and pull away quickly (and safely), allowing more riders to make it thru the green phase. If you get caught at a yellow or red light, don’t run the light. Come to a safe stop. The sweep will communicate with the lead and the lead group will slow down/pull over to allow the rest of the group to catch up. Don’t speed trying to catch the lead group.
Stop Signs are a little different. Traffic permitting, we will try and have the full group stay together as we proceed thru the intersection. If Road Captains are available, they may assist with traffic control at some intersections. Always watch for other traffic on the road. If cross traffic is an issue, come to a stop safely before proceeding thru the intersection. Safety is always our first priority.
The best way to have fun is to stay safe and enjoy the ride. I know it’s cliche, but here goes anyhow…
It’s about the Ride, not the Destination!
If you have questions about group riding, please use our Contact Form and let us know. We are more than happy to respond and answer your questions.