#TeachingTuesday- Riding in groups
Riding in Groups – hints & tips
With the National coffee, cake and chat ( here you have all meeting hub list and map: https://www.facebook.com/487441974940156/posts/1078632982487716/ ) launching in just a few weeks, we thought it would be useful to share a few tips to encourage ladies who may not have led a ride group before but who want to have a go! It’s also important for anyone taking part of the ride, not just the leaders. It doesn’t have to be too formal, just a few key points for everyone to be aware of and to enjoy the ride.
Don’t let the thought put you off, by having a go, and doing it again you will enjoy it more and be more confident. My experience initially was sharing the lead with hubby when out with our friends. I always worried, what if we go wrong, what if we lose someone, what if…what if….. but what if never happened (well in the main, we have taken a few wrong turns…..but guess what, no one knows as they are just following!).
Then on one occasion, we arranged a group ride with friends (about 10 of us) and as my then new friend Liz was with us, newly passed and challenges of her own, I wanted to take the lead to show her that us ladies can do it. It really boosted my confidence by wanting to do it for her, so thank you Elizabeth Southwick for that (don’t think I ever told you!).
What to do before you
Ensure that you have a full tank of fuel (one of our group ran out in about 10miles, not very happy with him!) Carry sufficient funds for purchases throughout the ride e.g. fuel, coffee, etc. Check your bike thoroughly, especially tyre pressures. Charge your phone.
What to do when you get to the meet
· Meet the lead and back marker (if you are either, get each others phone number in case you lose sight of one another).
· Talk to each other, put each other at ease – it’s a ride out to have fun, not a race, not a big deal if you take a wrong turn, not something to stress about.
During the ride
· Remember YOU and you alone are responsible for your riding.
· Generally, don’t overtake other bikes.
· Keep up with the bike in front to avoid other road users squeezing in. But not too close, and ride staggered so if the front bike brakes suddenly, you are not directly behind them (don’t ride in the gutter or on the white lines though!).
Do not overtake the leader and don’t fall behind the rear marker. In the event of a breakdown the ride should stop to help the relevant bike – never leave a biker on their own.
Make sure that you feel comfortable riding in a group and you feel safe. If you think that someone rides too close, is better to discuss with the group leader so they can advise you and position much better within the group.
If you are the leader or back marker
Don’t have a group too big – you can always split it up. Let everyone know before setting off if you are using the marker system or not and reinforce some of these key points. Ask if anyone has anything you need to consider or be aware of.
· Share the end location and even routes with other riders who have phones/sat navs, they will feel more comfortable knowing where they are going.
If the leader loses contact with the rear marker the leader will wait for everyone to catch up. Once the leader sees the rear marker again, they know that everybody is together. Always observe the relevant speed limits, and travel at a speed that is safe for the road conditions. There may be a ‘whiplash effect’ of bikes at the rear going faster to keep up with the ride. To avoid this happening the leader should go slower than the speed limit so that the bikes at the rear do not go faster than is safe for the road conditions. Keep using your mirrors to check your line (ideally your back marker will have something bright; jacket, helmet or bike to easily see them).
Stop regular for everyone to catch up, fuel stops and toilet breaks. Not all bikes can run 300 miles on a tank of fuel 😊
Other things to consider
A learner or slower rider should not go at the rear, as said, they often have to go faster to “catch up” and if the group gets split, they should take the new lead on the rear part of the group until they reach the rest of the group (but only if you get separated say going through a town would this be necessary).
If you are in a large group, the ‘Second Man Drop-off’ system may be used on journeys (aka 1,2,3). This means at a junction or roundabout the leader may appoint the second rider to stop and mark a turning or junction whilst the ride carries on. To do this, the leader will point to the left so the next biker stays at the junction until they see the back marker. **only then can they rejoin the ride.
When it is your turn, stop safely in a way that does not obstruct other traffic whilst you are marking that junction. Remain there until the ‘Rear Marker’ catches up with you. There is now a new second rider whose turn it will be to mark the next junction.
This often puts riders off going in groups – it shouldn’t as its not always necessary (eg if you are in a smallish group).
And then overall, just enjoy it and be safe.
Useful links https://www.safedrivingforlife.info/drivers-and-riders/riders/riding-groups
Ride safe all,