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We rode to dinner the other night with our biker group and then afterwards took a nice scenic cruise. This group is made up of resort residents ( allot of old farts and all Harley owners ) here where we live and we spend allot of time on the road together. After the ride I started thinking of our group ride we just had and realized just how comfortable I am riding with these people ( there are normally 7 - 9 of us ). First of all they are great friends but more importantly they are great riders. We seem to be all like minded and our group have agreed upon rules that we all follow - no drinking before or while riding, keep the formations tight and always ride the speed limit. Always - no speeding.

Jack is always our leader on his heritage and is one of the best I have ever rode with. His speeds through curves, lights, turning corners, etc is always right on the money. We do not get spread out or have to ride the hell out of our bikes to catch up with others. He moves through curves slow and exits the turns slow so everyone goes through in a group versus rabbiting his bike once around a turn or curve ( causing the other rides to have to nail their throttles to bunch back up ). As Jack has told me " I ride according to the least experienced rider in our group so they never have to push their bikes ". It's pretty hilarious to watch us line up before a ride as everyone has their favorite spot ( and biker ) to ride close to. I am very comfortable in the # 4 slot and prefer being right behind my buddy Bruce. We do a great deal of riding together ( away from the group ) and I know how he rides and his mannerisms on the road so it makes me feel more comfortable. I also trust him as he is one hell of a great rider. The women on our rides who ride 2-up are excellent at giving hand signals at intersections, road debris, turns, etc. It just seems we enjoy our rides so much more together because we have a mutual trust for each other but also because we know each others riding habits and preferences.

But I have to admit the leader is a huge part of any good ride and Jack is a big part of our group rides going off so smooth. He knows he has two people behind him on 750 Shadows ( my wife and I ) so is cautious with his speed when exiting turns and curves. He knows it isn't fun peddling the hell out of a 750 trying to catch a big engined Harley. :) I have rode with some miserable leaders in the past, ones who picked up speed way to fast after turns or curves and always seem to be pushing or running over the speed limit. My rides are for enjoyment, relaxation and to enjoy everyones friendship, not run a race.

Just wanted to throw out my thoughts on these group rides because I know many of you will start the season soon and will be riding in groups. I still love my rides alone or with just my wife, but you cannot beat a great group ride when everyone is on the same page and rides smoothly.

Have a safe one out there gang and enjoy.

Chris
 

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I know what you mean Chris. When we gather at the Honda Homecoming we have a great leader also. We all go over hand signals before a ride and he is also great at keeping the group together ( anywhere from 10 to 20 bikes).

Riding in these groups is always great fun. Not only being with a great group of riders, but enjoying the secenery also.

On a sad note, I will be riding with the PGR on Tuesday for Cpl Cody Putman's funeral, who was KIA in Iraq. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and his 3 year old daughter.
 

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Chris,

Great read. Am truly glad to hear that “the ole farts” still ride and more so, you enjoy a good safe group ride. I am traditionally a lone rider. Mainly because I hate to have a destination like most rides tend to have. I have participated in several PGR missions and it can be scary at times, but for the most part, they are short rides and I get through it. I rode this year in a well organized ride for the juvenile tumor foundation and it was about 30 miles and very well run, but of course we had the police blocking pesky things like intersections. I was recently on a ride that was organized by sdbrit68 and he brought along an experienced ride captain who made the ride exceptionally safe and enjoyable.

I will take on several other group rides this year, but I think that it would be nice to have your situation of having a regular group, one whom you can get comfortable with and one whom you feel safe with.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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Taranis said:
Great post. I'd love to find a group like that to ride with. Most of the group rides around here involve bar-hopping. :roll:
See if there is a CMA chapter in your area. Most hapters do monthly rides.
 

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When you drive by a Dairy Queen or other type ice cream place and you see some Gold Wings....turn around and go back. Get some ice cream and talk to them. Just because they ride a Wing doesn't mean they don't have other bikes. :shock: :lol: Some of these people belong to 2 or 3 different groups. Bar hopping is OK, but it's only to eat...NO booze! :wink:

For Chris,

Staying in the same position can be a problem....one gets too comfy with everyone around them. You let YOUR guard down too much. How to fix it?? Change position, different lane, up one spot or two OR back one or two. Maybe even try the tail-gunner position for a few miles maybe lead for a short segment of the ride. IF you don't like the "new" position for whatever reason, wait for the next stop and ask someone else to take over. Then you can assume your "liked position" if necessary.

Changing positions give you a better idea for what THAT position shows the rider and how much it differ's from yours( taking corners for instance). Is it mandatory to do this???? NO, but helpful to gain experience for group riding and gaining confidence for YOU.

Bullzeyet
 

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Thoughts on group riding

Careful with the "old farts" stuff, Dragoon!! I know what you mean though. I always preffered to rode alone or with 1 or 2 others until I joined the PGR in Feb. of 06. I've been on many missions since then and all were very well organized and a staggered formation was maintained at all times. However, I just rode on a welcome home escort to Philly ,PA. that we, along with a bunch of other groups, picked up in Delaware going up I-95. 50 or more bikes in front of the busses and over 100 more behind. LEO was there blocking on ramps and did a wonder job as always but some where along the line we just took over ALL lanes when we got into PA. and there was no formation at all. I wasn't at all comfortable with being in the middle of 3 or 4 lanes of bikes, front and back, doing 55-60 and sometimes 65 mph or better with no where to go if something went wrong up front. I didn't like not knowing who was on either side of me or what their skill levels were. It could have been a real mess but thank God all went pretty well. It was a blast but if just one bike went down it could have turned into a real bad scene. Group riding, especially large groups, isn't something for the new guy. Start with a small group and learn. Be careful, ride "Your ride" and if you're not comfortable drop out. Sorry to ramble on. Just my 2 cents!
 

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A lot of good points...

I am the First Officer in our club and have a great Second Officer and two great Road Captains to rely on for group rides. We ride staggered formation and ride the speed limit. We cover basic safety and group ride rules before a ride starts. Least experienced riders should stay near the front of the pack. Small groups are best of less than a dozen bikes but we've done rides with 40 - 50 bikes in a pack.

We have tried to schedule one group ride a week open to everyone in the club to keep us all in practice and give opportunity to everyone to get out on the road. Usually they are short 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour rides. Occasionally we do a day trip.

When you have a bunch of people that love to ride and can respect one another you can have a wonderful time whether it's two, four or fifty bikes.
 
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