One of the most exciting things that new riders always look forward to is riding in large groups as a motorcyclist. Large riding groups are often planned events that have some significant meaning behind them such as memorials, charity fundraisers, touring rides, or holiday events.
It is always exciting to see another biker on the road having a good time, and large riding groups help put all of those bikers in one place usually for a certain cause. There is a greater sense of camaraderie from large group rides than just a bop around town.
So you have finally found or heard a large group ride that you’ve been interested in, but you have never done it before. This guide will help walk you through a large group ride, and how to do so in a fun engaging manner.
Step 1. Learn About The Ride
Some rides require entry fees that you have to pay for. As mentioned earlier, these planned rides could be to fund a memorial for a family, raise funds for a charity, or commit to future events. Take the time to find out the purpose behind the ride, so that you can understand why everyone is coming together. You don’t want to go to the starting location and then realize the entry fee is larger than you can pay. While learning about the purpose of the ride, you can take this time to research the journey that the ride will take.
Are there any unfamiliar roads that you won’t feel comfortable on? There are many rides that assume each member has a certain skill level, and you don’t want to go on a ride where you won’t be comfortable with your skill and the road you are riding on. If that is the case, perhaps this ride isn’t for you, and you’ll have to join another ride better suited to your skills when it comes up.
Step 2. Head To The Starting Location Prepared
Before you arrive at the starting position of the group ride, make sure that you have a full tank of gas and all of the little things are taken care of. Make sure to check your tire pressure, refill up on some food and liquids, then head to the starting location.
Step 3. Get In Riding Order Position
As a new rider, it is better to stay closer to the front of the ride. The front of the pack keeps a much steadier pace than the back of the group, and as a new rider, you’ll be able to tell where the ride is going, keep a better pace, and won’t have to worry about catching up at any time. It is not recommended for new riders to be in the back of the pack because new riders tend to get nervous about falling too far behind, and increase their speeds when they don’t need to.
In addition, if you have a smaller sized bike than most others in the ride, the engine capacity and speed will affect your ability to catch up. Staying towards the front of the pack will help let you dictate the pace that the entire group ride has, and alleviates some of the main concerns that plague new riders.
Group leaders are arguably the most experienced riders in the entire pack, and will do their best to cater to the least experienced riders in the entire group. They will do their best to pick appropriate speeds, provide adequate stopping distances, signal their intentions, and won’t pull away from the group at any point. While they do try to cater to the least experienced riders in each group, you still have to ride your own ride and do your best to stay within your means.
When approaching turns, make sure to increase the distance between you and the bikes around you. A little extra space for turns up ahead will make sure there is enough room for emergency maneuvers and ample stopping opportunity if need be.
Step 4. Avoid Hooliganisms
Some new riders want to go on a big ride and show off their new bike and their fancy skills. While this might seem like a good idea at the time, it is extremely dangerous for the rider and all others involved. Try to avoid any hooligan behavior like speeding up and slamming on your brakes, popping wheelies, or bobbing and weaving in and out of traffic for no apparent reason.
Hooligan behavior endangers the rider, along with all those involved in the group ride. Keep the entire ride professional, and make sure to avoid those individuals wanting to test their boundaries at the wrong time and the expense of others.
Step 5. Avoid Fixating On Other Motorcycles
While it is easy to pay attention to all of the other bikers that are a part of the group ride, it is in your best interest to avoid fixating on other motorcycles. You need to practice good basic training skills and focus on the road and the ride ahead. Remember your basic training and don’t the other riders in the group affect your individual ride.
Step 6. Enjoy the Ride
The last thing that you need to do is just enjoy the ride. Large group rides offer an opportunity for tens to thousands of individuals to come together and share in the passion they all love. Riding a motorcycle. Large group rides are both exciting and dangerous at the same time and need proper precautions before engaging in them.
Remember that at the end of the day, you are the only person who knows your individual riding skill, and comfort levels for such activities. Take proper precautions and ensure that you are one hundred percent comfortable with the riding procedures, pathways, and individuals partaking in the event.
If at any point you don’t feel comfortable in the ride, there is no sense in sticking around. Peel off the pack if you decide that it just isn’t right for you, and ride in a future event when you feel comfortable. Until then, have fun and simply enjoy the ride.