Motorcycle Forums » Biker Chat

I have a question...

  • September 8, 2013 4:05 PM PDT
     For many of you who participate in group rides, how do they work?

    I'm curious about those who have new riders participate in the rides. Do the new riders ride in the back?
    Also, if a new rider is screwing up and making plenty of mistakes, do the veteran riders tell them how to correct their mistakes? 
    Are new riders watched out for?
    And, I would also like to ask, when new riders are joining in, are their experienced riders that ride as passenger just in case a new rider should be taken off their bike to ride as passenger due to too many mistakes that could cost a life? Or is it to each his own and the new riders aren't looked out for?

    I'm currently watching YouTube videos and I came across some group ride videos that have broguht some concern to me.

    Thank you for your answers!

    • 5413 posts
    September 8, 2013 4:34 PM PDT
    Hi Harley,

    A lot depends on the group you are talking about riding with. If it is one of the owners groups like HOG or another organized group then yes they most likeky do have certain protocols they follow for new riders....

    First and foremost, you should have basic riding skills before attempting to ride in a group ride. You should - as every new rider should - have taken a motorcycle safety course and have a few hundred miles of practice under your butt.

    When riding with a group as a novice rider be sure to let the ride leader know you are a novice rider. You will normally be asked to ride in the back of the pack with a sweep rider or two behind you.

    Most groups are not there to teach you how to ride but will help you out in the basics of group riding and yes when you stop they will point out things you may need to change to ride safely in a group.

    However if they find you do not have basic riding skills they may (and should) ask that you do not continue to ride with the group until you have the basic riding skills down.

    Again and I can not say this enough... a group ride is NOT the place to learn how to ride. That should be done by taking a basic riding course and practicing in controlled and low traffic situations - preferably with a buddy rider.
  • September 8, 2013 4:48 PM PDT
    Thank you, Lucky!!

    I'm not a rider, but I was wondering this, because of a video that I watched on YouTube. There was a video of a group ride with a new rider.

    Now in the video, the rider's mistakes were obvious to everyone (including myself) and not a single person pointed this out to him. By the end of this, the rider was dead, because no one pointed out to him that he was doing things wrong. I just felt that it was wrong.
    I don't know if this guy had taken any riding courses or anything, but as members of the group, someone should have said something to him.
    I certainly would have. Especially if it could have resulted in saving another rider's life.

    I do appreciate your response, though. I do hope to ride one day, so I was just curious about the group protocols and am glad to know that they do exist.
    • Moderator
    • 15688 posts
    September 9, 2013 1:08 AM PDT
    Yeah what Lucky said !
    • Moderator
    • 13493 posts
    September 9, 2013 4:44 AM PDT
    I always ride a the rear of the pack to keep an eye on things, and I school newbies, and idiots doing stupid stuff.
    • 846 posts
    September 9, 2013 5:31 AM PDT
    I second what Lucky said also. The only thing to add is charity rides don't ask your riding experince. I've come across two kinds or rides, one to a destination and back and the poker run. Again I can't reinforce what was said about the riding course and then increase your ablitiy before attempting a group ride. Remember you will be surround by other bikes and in some cases in close quarters. Each ride reguardless should have a ride meeting before heading out.
    The destination ride is straight forward there maybe a break half or not.
    The poker run is five stop most likely bars this means some of the riders will be drinking. These I tend to ride at the back of as I willn't have a drink till the very end if at all. I've seen a few cases where it's got the better of them. That is the reason i tend to ride in the back on those.
    • 44 posts
    September 9, 2013 6:44 AM PDT
    Harley I canot say it enough rider safety courses we will be participating in a large group ride at the end of the month and we always try to ride near the front and we are aways ridding with people we know and how the ride last year there were well over 1200 bikes on a two lane road you can see some video search "Bikers who care"Clarksville tennessee
  • September 9, 2013 7:56 AM PDT
    Thank you, Guys!

    It's awesome to know people still care about safety and even better to know that people still look out for others!

    I realize you can't babysit everyone around you, as you are riding, as well. I wouldn't ever expect that, but I would hope that everyone would tell a person about the mistakes that they see them making.

    I mean, if you're going to save a life, then why not call a person out on it? I've made mistakes before and didn't even realize I was making the mistake...I'm sure it's happened to everyone at one time or another.

    I would also imagine that these newbies are feeling some kind of pressure riding with all the vet riders. I mean, when you were new to the group, weren't you under a great deal of pressure just because you wanted to be just as good as the ones who have more experience?
    • 44 posts
    September 9, 2013 8:52 AM PDT
    Experience comes with time grew up on dirt bikes when I got into street bikes yea I wanted to be the best rider I could be the thing is there are some riders out there both new and old that have no business on two wheels as far as calling someone out opinions can sometimes cause problems in the right situation if you know what I mean
  • September 9, 2013 9:01 AM PDT
    That's true. I mean, I guess it wouldn't really matter how much experience you have riding, as much as it would mean to be fully capable of every part of it.

    I've seen many people on highways here that just give riding a bad name, because they are completely irresponsible when it comes to being on the road. I can't remember the last time I've seen a motorcyclist use their hand signals when turning or stopping. Do they not use them anymore?

    And, yes, that is true. I wouldn't want to approach them in a cocky manner, but at least in a polite one and let them know of the things that could cost them their lives.
    • 1855 posts
    September 9, 2013 9:06 AM PDT

    One reason I don't bother with poker runs or group-type rides anymore, though I will often show up, register (donate), and then go on my merry way.  I recall the last run I was  on (quite a few years back); the guy in front of me kept looking behind him and nearly colliding at times with the rear of the bike in front of him.  At the first check point I told him, "you can be comfortable knowing I'm behind you, honest you can. I've been doing this a long time, I'm not going to hit you.  You really should pay attention to what's in front of you or go to the back of the pack".   He didn't like that but lucky for him (or me) another rider agreed with me and made the same suggestion.  Anyway, I've also gotten a bit more cantankerous in my older skin and I've come to the conclusion that whatever ridiculous thing transpires, it's gonna be my fault. 
    BTW, welcome to the CF family.

  • September 9, 2013 9:13 AM PDT
    Thank you for agreeing!

    As much as I would love to take place in a group ride, I would need to be comfortable with the other riders and know them personally, just because I know that they do tend to have to bunch together at times.
    I am all for these rides, benefit rides, and whatever else, but the part that worries me is that one minor screw up could cause them their life and possibly other's their life as well.
    But, then you also have the people who think they know things so well, that they tend to leave safety out. They become to confident and then BOOM!
    Once I start riding (I'm 19, so I have plenty of time), I intend to be riding for years before I even think to indulge in group rides. I would much rather be safe than sorry.

    I'm sorry you no longer do the group rides anymore, because of the stupidity of someone else.

    And, thank you for the welcoming!!
  • September 9, 2013 12:10 PM PDT
    Welcome from Texas and another lady.I know your strong desire of not being happy riding in back.I fought hard for my MSF time and against all who thought that a woman should be a backrest not enjoying her own bike.The safety class quickly teaches that no matter level of desire nothing is as easy as it looks.Classes move quickly from one drill or skill to the next, and at times you may not feel you have mastered the previous skill before moving on to the next drill or challenge.After successfully completing MSF classes to get endorsement the real work starts of ongoing practice within the safety of empty parking lots. Slow speed manuevers are where we gain our skills and get to gel with our bikes. Muscle memory is valuable and only gained through practice.I had to learn trust in my bike and trust at my own input at the controls.I really backed away from group rides until I knew and trusted a small group of ladies who knew my lack of experience.They refused to allow me to ride in back but tucked me in spot number two behind the ride captain.They wanted to know if I was having trouble early.They gave me a few pointers, took frequent stops or pull offs to check to see if I had any concerns.This small group of ladies were older,nondrinkers who planned the ride with me in mind.They knew the roads I had been practicing on with my shadow rider coach and went during a low traffic time keeping the ride to four hours with some rural gentle sweeping roads. Guess I had several thousand miles in the saddle before my first very own large group ride, such as a toy run.I pressed myself hard the first six months to ride different areas and traffic patterns at different times of the day as my skill levels improved.I still find new challenges after getting my second bike and logging over 25k miles.I remind myself not to ride unless I'm 100% alert.I am the only one who will watch out for my own tail, that also applies when deciding when to get off the back of a bike if you ever feel unsafe.Nothing wrong in calling a friend asking them to pick you up if you sense things are heading the wrong direction.It's easier to say,"I'm glad I did." Than,"I wish I had." Stay safe, will enjoy hearing about your journey.
  • September 9, 2013 2:01 PM PDT
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    I do intend to take the courses and stuff.

    I was actually just speaking to a relative of mine who rides, and he is willing to let his sister and I ride his in our yard, so that should be tons of fun! It's not a heavy bike or anything, so that's also a plus.

    One thing that we go by is that if you can't lift the bike, you can't drive the bike.

    I will definitely keep you posted about my journey :)
    • 1855 posts
    September 10, 2013 3:59 AM PDT
    FWIW, a Honda Rebel is a great bike to learn on. And a 125 dirt bike is pretty cool too if ya got a roomy back yard

  • October 31, 2013 11:33 AM PDT
    Hi Harley,
    Been in and out of the bike industry as well as a long term (35+yrs) rider. I said that so that I can say this: I Hate Group Rides! They were often a necessary evil when I was in the biz and I would ride sweep (last) to, as RevBigJohn said, to keep an eye on things and school newbies and idiots. The problem is the group is only as strong as it's weakest link or links. It's always amazed me how some folks don't actually work at being a better rider. When you get a bunch of folks together they tend to make their presence known. The advice you received from the other folks here is not only correct, but sound. Please pay attention, whether riding in a group or not. BTW, not riding a bike you can't pick up is kinda of an old wives tale. With proper technique, I've shown some pretty petite gals (and guys) how to upright Goldwings, H-D's and other big bikes. I'm sure there are videos on youtube you could watch and be impressed with what you see. Have fun girl!
  • November 3, 2013 11:47 PM PST
    grass can be slick as ice sometimes....careful ridin in it..... I believe in dirt bikes to learn on.....get out somewhere and ride it like you stole it....several bent parts and a couple of square feet of scab later you'll be well versed in ridin........ and when you're out on the doesnt hurt to keep in the back of your mind that everybody wants to kill ya......
    • 2961 posts
    November 4, 2013 10:53 AM PST
    Same with manhole covers & roadpaint & wet corners n windblown wet leaves,all slick,all require skill you will only get while riding, usually all by yourself.
    By the time I started doing any group rides,I joined up with a local riding club & learned the ropes.Yet I already had about 10-15000 miles under my belt.Also I stuck with very small groups 4-8 riders,a really large one for me was about 25-50 riders.Also I was fortunate to have some neighbors to ride with in a small group & get tips from.
    Lots of good advice already here & I can see your concerns are well founded,hopefully by the time you group ride you will have already put a lot of miles on with some close riding friends.

    stay safe & enjoy the ride