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Old 10-25-2009, 08:12 AM   #1
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Group Rides... thoughts

So another noob ride has come and gone, and yet another one went in the ditch. What are YOUR thoughts on group rides and why we seem to have issues with people going down?

You can look back at the last few (or many) group rides, and it seems we put one in the ditch every time. Why?

I am serious, looking for some constructive input from those that either led the rides, or were the ones that went in the ditch.

Swallow your pride, step up and let us know why and how to stop it from happening...


Are the groups too large? Not enough leaders/sweepers? Too wide of a mix in talent levels? Seems like a lot of times it is someone trying to catch up to a "faster" group...

My last two rides I had people go down. Last time it was a Busa rider who hadn't been on the bike in a long time. For some reason decided to pass the slow group in a bad spot and over shot the next turn. He himself said it was a bonehead brainfart and he just wasn't ready for the acceleration.

The one before, we came to a favorite stretch of road, and I decided (wrongly) to let the faster guys take off... after telling everyone to be careful and not try to keep up with the faster guys if you weren't ready. A new rider on a 250 got into a bumpy corner too hot and locked the rear up, then highsided, causing the guy behind him (who admitted to following a little to close) to lay it down in avoidance.

Both of these come from not paying attention or getting in the haze of trying too hard.

Any more "noob" rides I set up will not include mixed groups, and will not exceed the set speed we choose at the outset. No more taking new riders out, flying and having some end up wrecked from getting over their heads.

I dunno... just sitting out here wondering "why?

And if you were leading or set up the ride, do you feel responsible when some one goes down?
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Last edited by texlurch; 10-25-2009 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:22 AM   #2
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I ride with several different groups around town. When it comes to MH, I see a lot of riders go down on the group rides, hence the reason I tend not to group ride with MH people all that often. I say having a constructive riders meeting covering safety goes a long way. When I have gone on MH group rides, on the occasions that there has been a riders meeting, they have basically been like "Ok, this is where we are going.....are y'all ready.....lets go"

There is one guy I really enjoy riding with (currently in Iraq). He holds great rider meetings. He will stress the importance of riding your own ride, how now rider will be left behind. He will talk about cold tires, etc. He has a check list of....well, it seems to be a list 15-20 long. Could be less, I tend to tune it out since I'm an experience rider. But I do like the fact that he goes over his list every single time he leads a ride. Heck, he does even if he's not leading, even if he had nothing to do with setting up the ride.

So that would be my first suggestion, have a constructive riders meeting prior to every ride.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:23 AM   #3
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More thoughts..

I ride with a small group pretty much every weekend (when I am in town), and we don't have any issues... EXCEPT when someone new joins the mix, like the last time with the Busa... although we had another new guy and gal that did just fine.

I guess when adding new players, or doing public group rides, everyone needs to chill out more? Do dedicated "noob" type rides need to be kept smaller/slower just to ensure everyone gets home in one piece?

Me personally, I don't feel like a group ride is over until I know everyone is back home, safe and sound. I don't like the ones that lead everyone out to the country, then let everyone find their way back home... you?
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:28 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by FKNA View Post
I ride with several different groups around town. When it comes to MH, I see a lot of riders go down on the group rides, hence the reason I tend not to group ride with MH people all that often. I say having a constructive riders meeting covering safety goes a long way. When I have gone on MH group rides, on the occasions that there has been a riders meeting, they have basically been like "Ok, this is where we are going.....are y'all ready.....lets go"

There is one guy I really enjoy riding with (currently in Iraq). He holds great rider meetings. He will stress the importance of riding your own ride, how now rider will be left behind. He will talk about cold tires, etc. He has a check list of....well, it seems to be a list 15-20 long. Could be less, I tend to tune it out since I'm an experience rider. But I do like the fact that he goes over his list every single time he leads a ride. Heck, he does even if he's not leading, even if he had nothing to do with setting up the ride.

So that would be my first suggestion, have a constructive riders meeting prior to every ride.
Sounds like Dannyboy, and yes, he covers the bases..

I hate to group anyone like that , i.e. the "MH" group.. we have a ton of talented and seasoned people on this forum, but not all get out on the Public rides.

And even on the Gnome rides, I know for a fact they have a detailed riders meeting before every ride, but still have people taking dirt samples. Are people not listening? Don't care? Do we need to be more strict and make first timers stay in the slow group, no matter what?

Or perhaps have a experienced leader/sweeper team up with the first timers, and watch to get an idea of their skill level? I hate to think of it as babysitting, but more like looking out for the new people you don't know...
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:28 AM   #5
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At the end of the day, neither the organizer nor the leaders can control the actions of each and every one of the people participating in a group ride. People make choices to ride above their head and there is not much that an external party can do about it.

The last couple of noob rides I attended that were promoted through another site had a different approach. We had plenty of experienced riders, and we split into groups of 6 to 8 riders with a leader and a sweeper. That seemed to work very well.

-Curt

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Old 10-25-2009, 08:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
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At the end of the day, neither the organizer nor the leaders can control the actions of each and every one of the people participating in a group ride. People make choices to ride above their head and there is not much that an external party can do about it.
but you CAN control who you take with you.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxgs View Post
At the end of the day, neither the organizer nor the leaders can control the actions of each and every one of the people participating in a group ride. People make choices to ride above their head and there is not much that an external party can do about it.
That is the basic issue for sure. So you feel like it is what it is and there is no cure? Surely we all can come up with something to try and keep people on the road?

If the leaders are setting the correct pace, then there shouldn't be an issue with having to ride over ones head to catch or keep up. But again, if the ride has different groups, you have the old "I am faster than that so I will catch those guys" thing.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:31 AM   #8
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Dedicated "noob" rides are always a good idea. But if you have a few noobs joining your group, I think stressing "ride your own ride" and "no one is left behind".....There are times I will go on a "spirited" ride in which a noob may be with us. But since the above two points are stressed, we don't tend to have any issues. There will be those of us hitting triple digits on the curves and 150mph plus on the straights.....and within that same ride, we may have someone doing the speed limit the entire time. Like I said, no one gets left behind.

Another suggestion, if the person in front of you is going to slow. Don't continually run up on their . This unfortunately sometimes has the unintended consequence of pushing that person to go faster. Just pass them up.....with a good sweeper, they will hang back allowing people to "ride their own ride"
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:32 AM   #9
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Sounds like Dannyboy, and yes, he covers the bases..
That is exactly who I am talking about
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:33 AM   #10
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but you CAN control who you take with you.
Too a point. Say a guy brings his buddy and says he's cool... but maybe he isn't? I guess it all comes down to personal responsibility and admitting you are over your head BEFORE it's too late.

Maybe theres something we can do as peers to get it thru others heads they don't have to prove anything?
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:33 AM   #11
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but you CAN control who you take with you.
That's a little more difficult on a publicly advertised and promoted ride.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxgs View Post
At the end of the day, neither the organizer nor the leaders can control the actions of each and every one of the people participating in a group ride. People make choices to ride above their head and there is not much that an external party can do about it.

The last couple of noob rides I attended that were promoted through another site had a different approach. We had plenty of experienced riders, and we split into groups of 6 to 8 riders with a leader and a sweeper. That seemed to work very well.

-Curt
Good point.....size of the group plays a major role in it. Once you start pushing 20 plus, it's time to start thinking about splitting the group.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:35 AM   #13
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I feel group rides are not the safest in almost all cases, when people are first learning and even some experienced guys, they should ride short distances close to there home with 1 family member or close friend, and of course this is after the parking lot stuff. Everyone should be able to operate every control on there machine instantly and blindfolded, literally, people need to understand how bikes work, turning and the brakes, etc. brakes arent on/off, U have to modulate the pressure and traction is a big part as well. The first thing every noob wants to do is go on a big ride with everyone, and that spells disaster, thanks but no thanks, I will stick to myself or a small group of experienced guys, the learning process is not days or weeks, but literally a lifetime, good luck to all
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:35 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by FKNA View Post
Another suggestion, if the person in front of you is going to slow. Don't continually run up on their . This unfortunately sometimes has the unintended consequence of pushing that person to go faster. Just pass them up.....with a good sweeper, they will hang back allowing people to "ride their own ride"
Another thing to stress in the pre-ride

You are responsible for keeping good gaps to those in front. Like you say, if you are constantly running up someones , then go around.

Designated sweepers should never, ever pass anyone.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:36 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by maxgs View Post
That's a little more difficult on a publicly advertised and promoted ride.
Which is what lead me to this discussion. I mean, we all are fairly smart people (well, other than me) and it sure would seem like we could come up with some way to make these rides safer and more fun for everyone.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLYIN'DUC View Post
I feel group rides are not the safest in almost all cases, when people are first learning and even some experienced guys, they should ride short distances close to there home with 1 family member or close friend, and of course this is after the parking lot stuff. Everyone should be able to operate every control on there machine instantly and blindfolded, literally, people need to understand how bikes work, turning and the brakes, etc. brakes arent on/off, U have to modulate the pressure and traction is a big part as well. The first thing every noob wants to do is go on a big ride with everyone, and that spells disaster, thanks but no thanks, I will stick to myself or a small group of experienced guys, the learning process is not days or weeks, but literally a lifetime, good luck to all
Good points all, but if you never go on a public ride, you lose the chance to meet new friends.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:38 AM   #17
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I haven't ridden many group rides, but from my perspective as a rider somewhat newer to group rides, I find that a pre-ride meeting is very helpful, but obviously does not prevent accidents from happening. From the rides I've been on, MH rides have been the most organized, and there have been far fewer accidents on these rides. I think a lot of riders have the mentality to want to catch up, I mean, isn't one of the major reasons why some people ride is for that rush of adrenaline when you're going fast? I think too often some riders forget the basics when caught up in that adrenaline rush. They might forget to look through the turns, might try to follow the lines of the rider in front of them, or just out of being nervous that they're newer to group rides. I was really nervous with my first group rides, especially with a group I've never ridden before, and I sometimes forgot those basic fundamentals because I was so caught up in the whole deal. I think everyone will agree that riding requires a lot of concentration, and when that concentration is broken, there's so many factors that can lead to accidents happening. So yea, that's just my perspective on it all from being a newer rider to group riding and riding solo just gets really boring sometimes.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxgs View Post
The last couple of noob rides I attended that were promoted through another site had a different approach. We had plenty of experienced riders, and we split into groups of 6 to 8 riders with a leader and a sweeper. That seemed to work very well.

-Curt
The last true "noob" ride I did we had an experienced rider for every noob and we crawled before we walked. I know it was beyond boring for the experienced people, but everyone seemed to enjow it at the end of the day.

I agree that dedicated noob type rides need to be kept smaller and more focused on the noobs.
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Old 10-25-2009, 08:42 AM   #19
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That is the basic issue for sure. So you feel like it is what it is and there is no cure? Surely we all can come up with something to try and keep people on the road?

If the leaders are setting the correct pace, then there shouldn't be an issue with having to ride over ones head to catch or keep up. But again, if the ride has different groups, you have the old "I am faster than that so I will catch those guys" thing.
I think it's very difficult to have a group ride with 60+ bikes, like yesterday, and not have a single incident. Frankly, having just one bike go down was statistically very good for such a large ride. There was a huge range of skills out there yesterday from championship level racers to folks that had never ridden the forest.

It seems, on the larger rides, that the incidents are happening not in the faster groups as you might expect, but often in the slow and inexperienced groups. Other than riding slower than they already do, there isn't much else a leader can do. Riding slowly doesn't necessarily help, either. Gaps in the group still form and folks will still exceed the leaders pace for a period of time until they catch up. No amount of information in a 15 minute pre-ride meeting is going to overcome ineffective use of the throttle or brake, or other rider shortcomings.

It's a dangerous hobby that people need to take seriously. If you want to ensure nobody ever gets hurt, it's probably best to organize a bike polishing event.

If you really want to improve rider skills and increase rider safety, the best recommendation I have is to bring them to the track. The instruction and supervision in a safe environment can build effective skills very quickly.



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Old 10-25-2009, 08:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin View Post
I haven't ridden many group rides, but from my perspective as a rider somewhat newer to group rides, I find that a pre-ride meeting is very helpful, but obviously does not prevent accidents from happening. From the rides I've been on, MH rides have been the most organized, and there have been far fewer accidents on these rides. I think a lot of riders have the mentality to want to catch up, I mean, isn't one of the major reasons why some people ride is for that rush of adrenaline when you're going fast? I think too often some riders forget the basics when caught up in that adrenaline rush. They might forget to look through the turns, might try to follow the lines of the rider in front of them, or just out of being nervous that they're newer to group rides. I was really nervous with my first group rides, especially with a group I've never ridden before, and I sometimes forgot those basic fundamentals because I was so caught up in the whole deal. I think everyone will agree that riding requires a lot of concentration, and when that concentration is broken, there's so many factors that can lead to accidents happening. So yea, that's just my perspective on it all from being a newer rider to group riding and riding solo just gets really boring sometimes.
So that being said, do you feel like it might have been better to split off the "new to the group" people so they wouldn't feel so much pressure?

Would it have helped you?
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