As you are well aware, hitting the open road with not a care in the world all by yourself is invigorating and freeing. So is traveling in a group, but it’s way different. Your awareness level is much higher because you’re not just keeping track of yourself – you need to worry about five, 10, 25 other people. You have to maintain a speed that’s agreeable to everyone else, too. There’s something special about group trips, to be sure, but you have to keep the rules of the road in mind. Here are some tips:
The Mirror is Your Friend
Always be checking your rearview mirror to assess where the other riders are at all times. If you can’t see someone, stop, but wait until it is safe to pull over. This practice should be employed by all riders in a group so no one gets left behind. At the very least, know the person directly in front of you and behind you. If you can, extend that awareness out to three or four riders. If you have been stopped for awhile and no one has caught up with you, turn back to investigate. If you decide to stop at a gas station unexpectedly for fuel or the restroom, someone in your party should go on ahead and alert the others.
Travel in Small Groups
Ideally, this is about six riders. You’ll want to team up with other like-minded folks, so as to keep groups fair. If you’re a fast rider, join the fast group; if you are slower and like to take your time, hook up with that group. Same thing goes if you like to make frequent pit stops…connect with small groups of people who think like you do. This way, you can still manage a large group of 20 yet in smaller, more manageable chunks along the way. No one frustrates the others, because everyone is going at their own pace. Have all these groups planned out before you take off on your road trip.
Front and Back Drivers
It’s simple, really: the rider who leads the pack is the experienced one who knows the route. The one who brings up the rear should also be pretty knowledgeable about the route, as they are the “cleaners” so to speak. If you fall behind the last driver, catch up! Know who the first and last riders are. They act as the herders to keep your group cohesive.
Just like with cars, it’s important to keep a safe distance between bikers in your group. This is especially so with the first rider, as he or she may have to make sudden movements due to a change in the road or direction. Leaving enough space between you will allow for such corrections to occur as safely as possible.
Keep a smooth, comfortable pace that works for you. Don’t get tempted to speed up just because the guy in front of you does. Act as you would if you were alone, and don’t feel pressured to go any faster than you’re comfortable with. When driving in a group, especially in congested areas, keep a staggered formation so each person can see in front of them.
Heed these group riding tips and you’re sure to have a blast. And remember: if you need to ship your motorcycle for any reason, rely on your trusted motorcycle transporters to get it there.