RIDING IN GROUPS – The Basics
Enjoy the ride AND get home so you can enjoy another ride later on
Riding in groups can be incredibly enjoyable. Unfortunately, it can also be a recipe for disaster when you forget the basics.
Before you set out have a chat about these questions.
1. Where are we going?
All members of the group, not just the lead rider, need to know the destination and the basic route just in case the group is separated. Eg, when we leave Penrith we are going up the Gt Western Highway. Turn off at Hartley for Tarana and Oberon and on to Bathurst – then back to Lithgow and down the Bells to Richmond.
2. Where do we stop?
Some riders can do 750 klms only stopping for fuel while others need to stop every 100 klms for a smoko or to avoid stiff arms or a sore neck. You need to plan around the limitations of each rider and their bike. Eg, if you are on a BMW GS1250 and riding with someone on a Honda Firestorm , a Harley Fatboy, a Kawasaki Z1000 and an old Goldwing, the group will have to stop every 150 klms for the Firestorm to get fuel. As a group, you need to plan your smoko and meal stops around the Firestorm fuel stops.
3. How long will it take?
Some rides will be only a couple of hours and others will be a couple of days. Make sure you all have the right gear for the varying weather and the bikes are prepared for the length of ride. Eg, You will meet at Berowra and head to Peats Ridge, Broke and back down the Putty Rd to Windsor. When you include the time from home to Berowra and from Windsor back
home the ride can take a full day. You will need food and water or enough money to buy something on the way. Even if it is fine and clear at home take your wet weather gear as the weather in the Hunter Valley can be completely different to Sydney. Basic checks such as tyre pressure, chain tension and engine oil will be needed before you set out. Its best to do these checks in your garage before you leave because you might need to make an adjustment.
4. What happens if I break down?
Mobile phones have reduced the stress of breaking down. BUT, add a few mountains and the mobile service can disappear, even close to the cities and major towns.
The easiest way to manage a breakdown is to make sure you keep an eye on the rider behind you. If they disappear, slow down so they can catch up. If they don’t catch up, turn around and find them. The rider in front of you should be doing the same thing so eventually everyone will
be heading back to look for the breakdown.
5. Ride at your own pace
On a day ride, the most common crash for the inexperienced rider happens when they try to keep up with the lead riders. This is often seen as a single vehicle crash on a corner.
Always ride at your own pace. Your skills, your reaction times and your bike are different to other riders. You have strengths and weaknesses and possibly a medical condition you need to consider. This is particularly important on the way home after a day of riding. You will be tired and your reaction times will have slowed down which means you will need to brake earlier for corners and for traffic and travel a few kph slower.
A good tip for riding at your own pace is to keep at least a 10-15 second following distance between you and the bike in front, even in the towns and cities. This forces you to make your own decisions and not rely on what the rider in front is doing.
If the rider in front disappears into the distance, that is OK. You know where you are going to meet up.
6. Have a “phone buddy” for the day
Unfortunately, crashes do happen. Many of these rare crashes occur on country roads in the afternoon on the way home. There have been many occasions when the crash occurs and there are no witnesses which makes it very difficult for emergency services to find the injured rider. There have been cases where the rider was not found until more than 24 hours later.
The idea of the “phone buddy” is that if your buddy is late to a meeting spot don’t just ride off with the rest of the group. Its your job to try and find out why they are late. If you can’t find them you need to contact the emergency services. Also, its your job to contact them when you get home to make sure they also got home.
Remember, a successful and enjoyable ride for the group is when you all get home in one piece.
Enjoy the ride
Copyright – Survive The Ride Association of NSW