Group riding is one of the greatest parts of belonging to a H.O.G. Chapter. The Southern Oregon No.1 Chapter loves to ride, and we have several Group Rides throughout the riding season. See our event calendar to find the next one.
Here is some basic group riding information to get you started.
We obey all traffic rules including the speed limit laws except in extenuating circumstances where it would be unsafe to do so (like to keep from being run over when even the trucks are going 90 MPH!).
We ride in staggered formation, 2 seconds behind the bike directly in front of us, 1 second behind the bike to our left or to our right. The safe riding distance is 2 seconds.
We fill gaps by moving directly ahead. We NEVER cross in front of the path of the bike behind us, except during passing.
When making a turn or passing, check your mirrors. Both of them.
Taking turns in a group requires that you be skilled enough to feel comfortable negotiating and carving turns at the posted speed limit or above. We ride through the turn staggered in a group, but we don't violate the space to the side of the bike in front of us, in the event they need to do an emergency maneuver.
If you've taken a Team Oregon class (if you haven't, you really should) you may have learned the OUT - IN - OUT rule demonstrated in the animation below:
The white lines in front of the bike show the moving straight line that is available to you through the turn if you need to straighten up and stop suddenly. You always stop straight up, with your handlebars square, to take advantage of the tires' maximum traction. Straighten up first - then slow down. Notice how these straight lines don't immediately cross the double yellow lines or the edge of the road, giving you some braking distance before you get in real trouble.
We ride similarly in a group, except that we stay in our half of the lane through the turn. The following animation demonstrates this:
However, notice that the 5th bike is following the path taken by the solo rider in the first animation. Since we don't violate the space to the side of the bike in front of us, the group was able to handle this less experienced rider, but he really should go get some practice so he can take turns like the others in the group, which brings us to the next point...
If you are a new member, new to riding, new to group riding, or are not yet skilled enough to be able to take a turn at the posted maximum safe speed limit, or higher, then PLEASE ride in the rear or the last group. This will let you and others in the group enjoy the ride more.
We ride in a group as individuals. We ride within our own skill ability & comfort zone. If you get caught in a situation where you are uncomfortable with the speed of the bikes around you, then ride at the speed that you are comfortable with. If you need to pull over and stop, then scan ahead for a safe location, signal your intent, and do so.
We always use our turn signals. We also use hand signals and these will be described by the road captains before the ride. They are also taught in any Group Riding class held by our Head Road Captain and Safety Officer. They can also be viewed and studied at any time by accessing our
Hand Riding Signals page
We NEVER leave anyone behind. That's why we have a sweep road captain. He/she will help you or help you to get help.
Check your mirrors often! If you notice the person behind you is missing, then please wait at a safe and visible location at the next turn to help that person find us. The following animation shows what we call the bread crumb (or cookie crumb) method: