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Old 07-21-2016, 12:27 PM   #1
Morgstang
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Interesting Group Ride Article.. Please Read...

Found this on Facebook...pretty basic things but may be a good read for us as a refresher course...it can certainly help me with my group riding and leading...

Disclaimer: I did not get permission from anyone or any organization to post this. I post it because i happen to agree with the article. Steve Sands is a member of the Houston Desmo Owenrs Group whom I respect and appreciate his skill/experience in such matters. It's good guidance for everyone, even old, bold riders and especially new (to group) rides. It's a long post so my apologies to the Admins. The Joy of Group Riding | Commentary By Steve Sands

Group Riding

Ahhh, the joy of riding with a group of fellow motorcyclists. Spending a chunk of the day with a band of like-minded riders, cruising across your piece of America, celebrating the freedom of cage-free mobility. Not only is it fun, but itís also safer to ride with a group, right? Well, there certainly are some advantages to being with a group, but it also creates some risks too. Letís consider two subjects that impact the risk level, the type of ride group and the rider skill level.

First, the ride groupÖ Exactly what kind of group is it? If it is a cruising group, such as a group of Harleys or Gold Wings, it will be a social, enjoy the scenery kind of ride. Those bikes donít go fast well, so it has to be that way. If it is a group of sport or performance bikes, you can bet it will be a faster pace as people on these kinds of bikes typically buy them because they enjoy the thrill of self-induced g-forces.
Make sure you understand what kind of group it is and if their riding approach is what you are looking for.

Assuming you want to ride with a sport/performance group, what do you need to know about group riding to maximize your fun and safety?

First, not all sport/performance ride groups are the same. Do they ride strictly for a social purpose? (Not likely). Do they ride on the street like they would on a track? (Ever hear of the BORC?) Is it a social ride, but with some liberal application of throttle from time-to-time to widen your grin? This is what most sport/performance bike groups do, but there can still be a big difference between the balance of social and throttle from group to group. Recognizing that within a group, there may be some who are more focused on the social aspect and others who prefer a bit more time at speed, some clubs will split the ride into separate groups so that both groups can enjoy the ride without feeling that they are being forced to ride faster than they want or being held back by those who prefer a more moderate pace. These sub-groups may be referred to as Advanced and Novice, Seizure and Leisure, or by other combinations. The club will want to understand your skill level so they can slot you into the proper ride group. Once assigned to a ride group, make sure you know who your ride leader is, what bike they are on and what their riding gear looks like so you know who to follow.

So what group should you ride in? Well, letís analyze your experience. How long have you owned your bike? How many times have you ridden it in the last 6 months? What kind of riding have you done? Commuting, touring, track events, Hill Country? How many group rides have you participated in? Do women and children run from you when they see you coming down the street? You have to be honest with yourself on this aspect. What you may want to do and what you should do may be in conflict. Just because you may like riding fast, doesnít mean you are good at it. What the decision really comes down to is what is your skill level? And to be clear right up front, being experienced doesnít mean you are skilled. Hopefully as you gain experience you gain skill, but that isnít guaranteed. For your safety and that of the others riders, you need to get in the group where the ride pace doesnít exceed your skill level. Ride pace doesnít just mean straight-line speed. More important considerations are your ability to take corners and collision avoidance. Taking a corner at a speed faster than you or your bike can handle is a great way to create new relationships with health care personnel. Inability to stop in time is a great way to get up close and personal with the rider in front of you.

So what does more experience and skill provide you? Two important things: the ability to judge corner entry speed and maintaining adequate rider spacing which is critical to avoiding collisions with the rider in front of you. If youíre riding on unfamiliar roads, how do you know what speed to take a corner at? Well, you donít, so you start looking for clues. Are there speed warning signs? Here is how I use the typical yellow speed warning signs you see upon approaching a curve or corner. If the warning is 50mph or higher, I leave it in 5th and just lean. If it is 45mph, Iíll shift down into 4th so I have a decent rev range to work with and also can use engine braking if Iíve misjudged the speed and need to slow down a bit. If it is 35mph, I shift down to 3rd and into 2nd if it is 25mph. If it is 15mph, then it is a serious turn. If it is Hill Country or Arkansas, I shift down into 1st, no questions asked. For most other 15mph turns that are typical flat Texas roads, 2nd is still usually okay, but on any turn, track or street, you need to be looking through the turn to see where it is going so you have the complete picture of what you need to do to properly execute your corner. Entry speed, braking point, lean angle, traffic management, trackout and throttle management are all decisions you need to make for every corner and the more you see of the total picture the better decisions youíll make. Keep your head up and be ready for anything. The correlation between speed signs and gear selection mentioned above is for me, how I like to ride and the type of bike and torque capability my bike has. The correlation may be different for you, but the point is to use the available signage information to help you make a judgment on proper corner entry speed and choose the proper gear. If there is no signage, you need to rely completely on your ability to see through the corner. If you canít see through it, slow down until you can. It should be obvious, but Iíll say it anyway, if you are not sure, a slower speed is better than a fast one. Slower speeds give you more time to react and that can be critical.

And speaking of reaction time, that takes us back to rider spacing. A common skill issue is not leaving adequate space between you and the rider in front of you. A related issue is not being able to stop quickly enough or execute an evasive maneuver to avoid a collision. Having space between you and the guy in front of you gives you more time to think and creates options for maneuver. If you are 20ft off a guyís rear tire and he nails the brakes for an armadillo, you are probably going to be in as bad as shape as the armadillo. Leave yourself at least 50 ft, preferably 100ft as a minimum and as the pace picks up, leave still more room, because what you need is time and that is what more space gives you. Another reason to maintain good spacing is that it helps minimize the likelihood of you target fixating on the mistake the rider in front of you just made by giving your brain the time needed to realize what is happening, come up with an exit plan and avoid following the rider into the ditch.

If you have to take evasive action, are you capable of doing so? While you may be comfortable at speed on the straight, are you comfortable making a panic stop to avoid something in front of you? Have you ever practiced panic stops? Go find an isolated piece of road and run the bike up to 55mph and try stopping it in the shortest possible distance. (Warning: If you donít have ABS, be very careful in doing this to avoid locking up the front wheel and going over the handlebars.) Get to know how far it takes to bring your bike to a dead stop from speed. (You want a real surprise? Try this exercise from 80 mph and see how much further it takes to stop. Itís sobering.) This will help you appreciate how much space you need to leave in front of you as you ride and the panic stop practice will help you perform a good stop if you are faced with a collision situation. Donít underestimate the importance of stopping and evasive maneuvers. If there is a problem in front of you, stopping and evading becomes much more important than how fast you can go in a straight line.

At the end of the day, the success of your ride is on you. You need to decide how you will ride. Motorcycle riding can be a ton of fun, but it takes constant focus and discipline to make it safe. Ride at a pace that allows you to maintain that focus and discipline so you have fun and get home safely.
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:35 PM   #2
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But, But, Keith, if I am 100 feet behind you, how am I supposed to admire your tramp stamp?
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Old 07-21-2016, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shuhboogie View Post
But, But, Keith, if I am 100 feet behind you, how am I supposed to admire your tramp stamp?
Im riding without a shirt sat...dont miss it...
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgstang View Post
Im riding without a shirt sat...dont miss it...
Ehh. Riding without a shirt is nothing. There are hundreds of guys on youtube riding without shirts. Now, if you ride without pants.
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:19 PM   #5
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Hey dont forget to remind me about something that i forgot what it was...
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:28 PM   #6
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Ha..ha.. nice read
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:29 PM   #7
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Wait I thought you didn't do FB.
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Old 07-21-2016, 03:32 PM   #8
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Im only on a motorcycle group facebook page i think...it was setup for me by one of the leaders...
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Old 07-21-2016, 04:29 PM   #9
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Personally I prefer to hang out in the back with larger groups. smaller/faster groups I'm more towards the middle. Unless I'm leading, which is rare.

Being close together i feel "pressure" from behind if a rider is too close; maybe I'm holdin them back? or if they are a second late on the brakes... i dont want to know what it feels like to get pegged by a bike. With little room on the front side; there is higher chances of fixation or catching rocks/debris, etc outlined above.

Being in the back, with of space, I can turn down the alertness level which lets me relax, enjoy the scenery when slabbing, have time and space to react, and still be able hit the twisties fast.

perfect scenario: small group of well acquainted, experienced riders running a good spirited pace, decent spacing like a japanese bullet train thru the mountains...
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Old 07-21-2016, 04:54 PM   #10
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Well said...i try to stress the importance of finding your place in line...weve had up to 24 riders and the ride still goes very well...
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Old 07-21-2016, 05:34 PM   #11
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I usually am less stressed up front than I am at the back. The pace is quicker, but the skill level is higher. You can usually count on the fact that either the guy behind you will be able to ride your pace, or that you'll leave him so far behind you that you won't have to worry about him -packing you. I have left rides because they have been too slow and inexperienced to be safe. I have not left many rides because they are too fast
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:04 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Repth View Post
I usually am less stressed up front than I am at the back. The pace is quicker, but the skill level is higher. You can usually count on the fact that either the guy behind you will be able to ride your pace, or that you'll leave him so far behind you that you won't have to worry about him -packing you. I have left rides because they have been too slow and inexperienced to be safe. I have not left many rides because they are too fast
Now i know why you havent been back...lol...hi Repth how ya been?
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:10 PM   #13
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Now i know why you havent been back...lol...hi Repth how ya been?
No way, you do a great ride.

Yeah it's a little slower than I'm used to but it's still a great, fun pace, and very safe. I've been good, enjoying the roads up here in Austin. I might try to string together a ride with all my Houston buddies on some given Sunday in the next couple months. How 'bout you?
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Old 07-21-2016, 06:12 PM   #14
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Let me know when...
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