Motorcycle Article #2
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Another important aspect of the sport of motorcycle ride to take into consideration is
safety. There is a lot more to riding safely than you might think. Even riders
who have logged thousands of miles on the road can benefit by brushing up on
their safety skills. The conscientious rider will have visibility, positioning,
and S.E.E. strategies so ingrained in his or her mind that they become second
nature. That's when the riding really gets good. The benefit of wearing
protective gear when riding is obvious. It enhances riding comfort by reducing
exposure to the elements, road debris, flying insects, and more. It also reduces
the risk of injury. How much riding gear to wear is a personal choice, but
Custom Motorcycles.com strongly recommends wearing appropriate gear every time
you ride, including a helmet that meets DOT requirements, a long-sleeve jacket
or shirt, sturdy long pants or chaps, gloves, eye protection, and over-the-ankle
boots. We also recommend that riders have rain gear or cold weather gear with
Even if you've
never swung your leg over a motorcycle before, don't worry. There are new rider
courses designed to make those new to motorcycling feel comfortable and to give
you the knowledge and skills you need to ride with confidence. All you need to
do is show up, as there is courses out there that also supply the motorcycle.
Before you can fire the ignition and roll down the asphalt, you need to soak up
some basic information. And that means spending some quality time in the
classroom with an expert instructor. But this is no lecture. It's a fast-moving,
interactive seminar that will introduce you to the world of motorcycling. So
take notes and hold on.
The following will explain what to expect on a group ride and how a group ride
should work. Safety, keeping the group together, and other group riding issues
will be discussed. These are matters of etiquette and consideration for your
fellow riders. When followed, they will make for a better group ride experience
First of all, when you show up for the ride, have a full tank of gas. Top off
your tank when the group stops even if you aren't running low on fuel. This
ensures that you won't be the one to unexpectedly stop the group.
When in traffic, ride staggered (- _ - _ - _) not side by side. When you get to
tighter twisty roads, spread out single file (- - - -). Group rides are not
races. Passing in corners could scare an unsuspecting fellow rider and possibly
cause a mishap. Also, do not ride too closely behind the rider in front of you.
The MSF Class teaches a "2 second rule", and it's a good idea to follow it.
If you should encounter debris (i.e. dead animal, sand, pothole, gravel, etc.)
on the road, stick your foot out on the side of the bike that has the
obstruction. This will warn the riders behind you. Pass this info back through
Use hand signals and the directional for turns. Sometimes in a group ride,
people are distracted by all the bikes around them and may not see your blinker.
If another rider flashes their hand open and closed at you, it means that your
directional is probably still on.
Group rides consist of a lot of different skill levels. Some riders are
"Joe-got-his-first-bike-last-week" and others are expert racers. Remember a
group ride is riding at your own pace while accompanying other bikes. Nobody
wants you pushing your limits to keep up. If you feel that people are riding
faster than you in the corners or feel at all "over your head", please let the
riders behind you pass. Pull to the side and wave them by. A lot of people may
feel that they do not want to be "the slow rider". However, keep in mind that we
were all "the slow rider" at one time. Your fellow riders would much rather wait
a bit longer for you at the next stop than try to figure out how to get your
bike home for you.
You may be worried about getting separated from the group. There are a couple
ways to make sure that everyone stays together. Groups often use a
leader/sweep-rider method for keeping everyone together. When you get on a
particular route, stay on that route. When the leader comes to any
direction/route change, they will wait as the group collects, even if they have
to sit through a light cycle or two. The leader doesn't start off again until
the "Sweep-rider" is in sight and gives a thumbs up. The "sweepers" job is to
stay behind all riders and make sure that nobody gets left behind.
Another method used for keeping everyone together is the "last rider waits"
method. When the road changes direction (i.e. fork, turn, etc.) the last person
in line waits for the people behind them. If you are 4th in line with 5 people
behind you and the group turns left, but you don't see the riders behind you,
stop and wait. Don't worry about losing the group in front of you because, if
this is done correctly, there will always be someone waiting at the next
direction change for you.
The method of keeping the group together should be discussed at the beginning of
the ride. Time and mileage duration vary with each ride, but there are usually
rest stops for socializing or eating/drinking about every hour. People should
NOT consume drugs or alcoholic beverages when riding. Let the others know if you
have to depart early. This will ensure that nobody thinks that you are lost or
something. These are simple guidelines to a safe, enjoyable day of group riding.
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