How to organize a group ride. - Road Glide Forums
Organize Rides Here Use this space to organize a Glide Ride in you area!

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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 10:21 AM Thread Starter
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Arrow How to organize a group ride.

Starting this thread to get the collective knowledge of those who have organized, road captained or ridden in group rides.

This will become a very valuable resource for those that get asked to set a group ride up.

Please contribute. Tell us all what you have seen, both good and bad. Tell us what you do to make everybody as safe as they can be, and yet let them have fun.

...and I used to think my Sportster was heavy...

A Harley will get you through times of no sex, better than sex will get through times of no Harley.

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 10:54 AM
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I organize for a gruop i head up in RI. I work with another fella that is a road captain. So its always he and I first and second bike. I like to ride the route myself it at all possible. That way you know what the road is like, traffic concerns, road work etc. Its best to try to ride the road at the time you plan to come through with your group, but obviously not always possible. I have riders RSVP so i know who is coming. Not all of our riders are all day riders. Not all of them are experienced riders, so all of that has to come into play. It sux babysitting, but if you want to plan and lead, sometimes thats what has to be done. I plan rides that are scenic and fun to ride. Plan stops at unique places if possible. Instead of eating at a chain restaurant, plan for a mom and pop place that serves stuff you cant get locally. This is some of the stuff i had off the top of my head. Planning will be detirmined mostly by the company. If you have a group of four friends that can ride hard all day, you can plan a dif ride than one experienced and 3 newbies.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:07 AM Thread Starter
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Gonekat, thanks! Really good points. There are all kinds of guides out there in HOG Chapters and such, but often we are involved in groups that are less than formal. I get asked to Road Captain charity rides several times a year, and riders are from all walks of the two wheeled world.

One of the things I find is a problem now for me is my fuel capacity with the RGU. I sometimes have o remind myself that there are still "peanut tanks" out there.

When I pre-ride I go with 3 gallons on-board...

...and I used to think my Sportster was heavy...

A Harley will get you through times of no sex, better than sex will get through times of no Harley.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:18 AM
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Few ideas I've garnered over the last few years:
  • Sweeps are hugely important. They should be one of your best riders, if not the best
  • Easier to manage smaller groups, so plan on having multiple leads and sweeps, and make sub-groups in the range of 7-10. I've found eight to be ideal.
  • Always review basic road commands, and emphasize the riding style you want.
  • You can never educate riders on staggered riding and one and two second rules enough.
  • Leads and sweeps should always know the route in advance
  • Route sheets for the other riders are nice, but not always important.
  • Always end at a destination. Circular routes with people peeling off can be disasterous.
  • Always end the ride before the drinking begins. Nothing worse than being liable for others stupidity.
  • Break sub-groups into relative experience levels
  • If you're going to tolerate speed demons, give them a destination and let them loose on their own. Too much of a hassle trying to argue with them or keep them under control.
  • All participants must be able to handle the minimum ride requirements. To me that means being able to exceed the speed limit on all given roads you'll be riding, if necessary.
  • While riding your own ride is a great concept, if you have riders that aren't comfortable with the pace, give them the ability and road commands that allow them to drop back to a slower, more comfortably paced group
That's all I can think of at the moment.
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:30 AM
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I did the whole HOG thing back in the day. I was a Road Captain and an Officer in the Chapter. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me. I think there needs to be different rules (or lack of rules) for different groups. HOG Chapters need rules. You're riding with people who range in their abilities. There is too much controversy over the proper way for HOG Chapters to ride so I won't comment.

I ride in small groups. I don't like any rules but I need to ride with people who have a mutual respect for the road. In general, I don't ride with newbies or people who cannot completely control their motorcycle in any situation. Yesterday I rode with a new group and had an issue with one of the riders. He was competent in his riding abilities but he was crowding me. Thanks to advise from the forum members, I will be able to handle the issue properly on future rides.

So, my advise is to ride with people who you know and to ride with people you trust. There's no need for leaders or sweeps when everyone in the group is a skilled rider. I usually tell everyone to ride their own ride. Don't try to keep up if you're not comfortable and use your head. The people I ride with have the same attitude as me. It works well for us.

Also, if you're not a skilled rider, try riding with people who are better than you. If you stay with people who are average riders you'll never get any better.


EDIT: I JUST READ THE POST ABOVE MINE. HE WAS POSTING AS I WAS TYPING. WE PRETTY MUCH GIVE THE OPPOSITE ADVISE. I THINK THERE WILL BE MANY OPINIONS IN THIS THREAD. THERE'S NO RIGHT OR WRONG BUT WE ALL NEED TO DO WHAT IS BEST FOR US. BTW, I'VE MET ZzzzEN DOG AND HE'S A GOOD GUY AND AN EXPERIENCED RIDER.

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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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BD and Zzzen Dog. Thanks! See that's what makes this a great way to learn. I can agree with both of you! Been in both shoes at one time or the other.

In my part of the world, we commonly see a charity or foundation look to the free spending bikers as a way to raise money. It becomes a real nightmare to organize and pull off one those rides.

I don't do the HOG thing either, and yet there are some of the rides they do I'm tempted to go on. I always end up sweep or trail because of my EMS status...and willingness to wrench on anything. Most everybody is well into the second beer when I get to the end usually.

With my small regular group we have ridden so much together that we know what the other rider is going to do, and we compensate automatically...and ride hard as a result. I can't imagine getting up close to some I see on charity rides or poker runs for that matter.
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...and I used to think my Sportster was heavy...

A Harley will get you through times of no sex, better than sex will get through times of no Harley.

2011 FLTRU
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SE Pro Super Tuner to make the above play nice together.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKNCr6 View Post
With my small regular group we have ridden so much together that we know what the other rider is going to do, and we compensate automatically...and ride hard as a result.
I think you've helped make my point. You become intuitive when you ride with the same people on a regular basis. You trust them and can predict their actions. My friend Ron and I always draft each other. We will ride directly behind the other about 1" apart. We only do it on open highway and when there will be no sudden stops. We can do it because we know and trust each others abilities. We also know when it's ok or not ok to do it. Sometimes we'll get side by side and put our foot on the others' floor boards or highway pegs. Again, it comes down to skill, ability, trust and logging 100K+ miles together.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDMastiff View Post
I did the whole HOG thing back in the day. I was a Road Captain and an Officer in the Chapter. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me.

So, my advise is to ride with people who you know and to ride with people you trust. There's no need for leaders or sweeps when everyone in the group is a skilled rider.
Former Road Captain myself who has nothing to do with HOG anymore. Too many rules and riding with vastly different skill levels in huge groups is just a recipe for disaster.

+1 on the ride with people you know. One or two outliers / unknowns in the groups is okay, but I just give them plenty of room until I can determine their riding skills.

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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:48 PM
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Commonly used group riding hand signals.

http://www.ridemyown.com/articles/sa...dsignals.shtml

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-11-2011, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Has anybody figured out a way to get people to ride with a mentor? As in if this is your first group ride, or you are apprehensive...here we are going to tuck you in with so and so...

I don't wanna be the so and so...but it would help new riders learn to negotiate a group.

Another thing I learned is to never ride in an organization role with a passenger. Had a really cute nurse one time that was part of the charity...she wanted to ride with me...and see the road. Wow... She panicked every time we got 2 degrees off from vertical...man could she latch on. She showed up in a very short pair of shorts...which didn't do my concentration any good either... Now I ride alone when I'm workin' the ride...

...and I used to think my Sportster was heavy...

A Harley will get you through times of no sex, better than sex will get through times of no Harley.

2011 FLTRU
SE Heavy Breather
V&H Monster Ovals
SE Pro Super Tuner to make the above play nice together.
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