Safely in a Group
a motorcycle solo can be a very therapeutic experience. All the
stress of work or thoughts about the week just drift away mile after
mile. But riding your motorcycle in a group can be an even more
you’re headed out for a weekend road trip or just a fun day ride to
your favorite lunch spot, there is nothing quite like spending the
day on two wheels with a group of friends. Here are a few tips for
riding in a group.
you start your engines it’s a good idea to discuss everyone’s
riding style and experience. If there are different riding levels
mixed in the group then you want to take note of that. If the group
has both very experienced riders and beginners, it would be smart to
make sure that all the riders are good with riding at beginner level
pace. If not, we suggest splitting the group up so that everyone can
enjoy their experience. It’s easy to set meet-up destinations
along the way and regroup when you get there.
live in a state in which lane-splitting is legal, definitely double
check to ensure all riders are ok with it. Not everyone is
comfortable with this so it’s a good idea to ask.
everyone’s gas tank size is another key point. Whoever has
smallest gas tank determines how many miles until you stop for gas.
next step would be to establish the lead rider, as well as who plans
on riding sweep. Having experienced riders at the front and rear
helps to keep the group together and keep everyone safe.
you have Bluetooth communication devices that’s even better, as it
makes the navigation so much easier and allows you to chat between
the lead and sweep rider.
lead rider has a very important job. Not only does he set the pace
for the group, but is in charge of navigation, choosing the correct
lanes and signaling throughout the ride. Even if your turn signals
and tail lights are perfectly functioning we still recommend using
hand signals to alert the group when you are turning or slowing
down. If you’re the lead rider, one of the things to remember is
that you have to set aside the way you normally ride on your own and
make sure you’re riding for the group. Stay safe and don’t make
any sudden moves that can put the other riders in danger.
sweep is just as important as riding lead. It’s ideal if both the
sweep rider and the lead rider know the directions to the
destination and can easily navigate in case some riders get
separated from the group.
of the biggest tips we can recommend is that you keep your distance
between riders. While you may see groups of riders riding very close
together out on the road that doesn’t mean that’s how you should
be riding, especially if you’re riding with a new group. Two bike
lengths distance between you and the rider in front of you and a
staggered formation gives everyone the space they need.
at your own pace is always important. If the group is riding faster
than you’re comfortable with do not try and keep up. If you fall
behind don’t worry about it. Lets face it, we all have cell phones
with Google Maps so you’ll be able to find your way if you get
left behind. Riding above your skill level or outside of your
comfort zone puts the whole group at risk. It is much easier to just
hold your line and stay at the speed you like riding.
in a group is not for everyone. Some people like to ride motorcycles
for the independence and freedom. If you like to ride fast and make
quick maneuvers then riding in a group is not for you. You can just
meet your group at the destination, that way you can ride the way you
want to and not put anyone else in danger.
able to experience your favorite roads and destinations with a group
will create fast friends and provide you with incredible memories
that will last a lifetime. So grab some friends and saddle up!
- Motorcycle Safety School
MSF Basic Rider
is designed for beginning riders of all ages. More than 7 million
motorcyclists nationwide have graduated from a Rider
since1974. Eight to ten hours of classroom-style instruction prepares
you for ten hours of hands-on riding exercises in a controlled,
off-street environment – typically, a paved parking lot.
Motorcycles and helmets are provided free of charge for your use
during the course. In the classroom, you’ll learn about the
different types of motorcycles, layout and operation of the basic
controls, and how to become a safer, more responsible rider. You’ll
then move to the riding range where your MSF certified Rider Coach
will guide you through the basic skills of straight-line riding,
stopping, shifting, and turning, gradually progressing to swerving
and emergency braking.
Basic Rider Course teaches the basic mental and physical skills
needed for riding. Here in California, this course provides a waiver
of the DMV riding licensing test.
is a List of the 14 Hands-on Riding Exercises in the Course:
T-CLOCS pre-ride inspection
location and operation of important controls and major parts
elements of good posture
the Friction Zone
& Stopping Drill
the friction zone, throttle, and brakes to control the motorcycle
out and stop with precision and control
to Initiate and Adjust Lean
More Quickly & Tight Turns from a Stop
a demonstration of the reaction/braking parts of total stopping
understand effects of speed on braking distance
relate the results to intersection strategies
in a Curve
Curves & Lane Changes
an Obstacle & Swerving
assess basic skills using a cone weave, normal stop, turning from a
stop, U-turn, quick stop, obstacle swerve, and cornering maneuver.
demonstrate basic motorcycle control skills and ability to avoid an
demonstrate ability to use the proper technique to negotiate a
course concludes with a classroom knowledge test and hands-on riding
skill evaluation. Once your Rider Coach hands you the
course-completion card, you'll be happy knowing that you’ve gone
the extra mile to develop your own safe riding techniques.
more benefit is that most insurance companies provide a discount on
your insurance. Be sure to ask your agent.
We have the pleasure of
meeting many new riders I think everyone will answer this question a
little differently but I would like to share my thoughts on this with
journey to two wheels starts differently. Everyone will tell you
something different and really you just need to see what is going to
work best for you. One thing most everyone agrees with is that you
ALWAYS wear proper gear because at some point you will fall. We all
do, that’s part of the fun!
my opinion, if you are thinking of learning to ride, I would
recommend taking a motorcycle safety / training course! This is a
great learning experience, they have great instructors and small,
easy to ride bikes. A lot of people that take these courses have
never even sat on a motorcycle so don’t be intimidated!
you passed the motorcycle training course you are ready for the road
according to the law (in California). Check in with yourself again.
Do you consider yourself to be a confident driver when you’re in a
car? That is usually a good indicator of what type of motorcyclist
you will be. The number one most important question to ask yourself
is this: does the thrill outweigh the fear? If you are scared
shitless every time
hop on your bike then you should NOT ride motorcycles. If you get
more and more confident every time you ride and you love it more and
more, then you are on the right track. Push yourself, but not too
hard. You do not want to be a liability on the road! You will end up
out of your comfort zone probably several times as we all do. You
just need to broaden your comfort zone a bit more each time!
a motorcycle is dangerous no matter what way you look at it. Having
respect for that is crucial. Aside from just learning to ride your
bike is the “other people on the road aspect”…. that is a whole
other thing that you need to decide if you are comfortable with. A
lot of moto accidents are caused by collisions with cars and you need
to be aware of how to ride in a way that is defensive while also
being respectful to other people on the road. This is NOT for
everyone and if you love riding but are not comfortable on the road
with all the other cars then stick to dirt and have the absolute time
of you life on beautiful mountain trails and open desert roads. I
have been riding for many years and I still have “O Shit”
moments, but I am not scared. I have found myself in scary situations
but I am 90%-95% confident on any roads. It is important for everyone
to get to that point at their own pace.
sure that you get on a motorcycle for the right reasons. Some people
will tell you to just fuckin’ go for it and figure it out as you
ride. To each their own! This might totally work for you as well, but
I say; take is slow and enjoy the ride!
your bike for a trip
primary goal when packing for a multi day riding trip is to not be
killed by all the bullshit you strap to your motorcycle. Here’s a
couple tips that might make things safer and more convenient for you
and the people following behind you.
your gear feels loose, it is.
You should be able to grab anything strapped to your bike and give it
a decent tug. If it easily moves around, that’s what it’s going
to do once you hit the road. Use high quality straps, and avoid
bungees for anything major or heavy. There’s nothing wrong with
deploying more straps than you need. They may come in handy later
anyway. Think of the amount of air pushing on all that gear as you
blast down the highway for hours at a time. Make sure all zippers and
closures are tight, and face them away from the wind if possible.
your load at every stop.
Tighten down straps, look for loose ends dangling near the tire, etc.
Your wheels and chain are hungry. More than one chopper hero has gone
down when their shit got caught in the back sprocket. Make
sure any loose ends on straps are tied up tight and can not rub
against any of the spinning bits. Use
the buddy system and always keep an eye on your riding partner’s
gear, and make sure they are watching yours. If you see something
getting loose or close to the wheel, lopsided, etc, wave ‘em over
so they can fix it. That small hassle is way better than a big one if
the offending gear gets wrapped around your chain at 80mph.
the load as low and evenly as possible.
Keep the heavy stuff like tools down low as possible to avoid
changing the dynamic of the bike. Heavy stuff up high always tries to
work it’s downward or off to one side, so pack it low and
symmetrical. If you put all the weight on one side, it’ll all be
hanging off in an hour. Put some stuff up on the bars/risers where
you can see it, but not too much or it’ll affect the way the bike
handles. Don’t put so much up there that you have a hard time
seeing over/around it. That may sound dumb, but we see it all the
time. Doh! Reduce
your kit. One
of the best pre-flight measures you can take is to spread out all
your gear on the floor or workbench before loading it. Then put about
half of it back where you got it. The
less you bring, the better your chances of keeping it all together.
the load with your buddies if you are riding with friends. Chances
are a group of four riders doesn’t need four individual stoves, so
divvy up stuff like that instead of bringing more than the group
Levels of Storage
able to access what you need with the least amount of hassle on the
road is a skill that takes a little forethought. Dividing it all up
into levels of storage reduces the chance of losing something or
digging to the bottom of an otherwise nicely packed bag. Here’s the
way I do it:
Immediate : This
is the stuff you can grab without opening anything. It’s what you
should keep clipped on the outside of your bag or on yourself:
wallet, registration paperwork, multi-tool, pocket knife, sunscreen,
phone, flash light, sun glasses and clears, shop rag or bandana,
smokes, lighter. I usually wear a vest on a trip, not so much for
fashion (I’m helpless in that department anyway) but so I can have
all this crap on me and not sitting on any of it. No one wants to
wait on you to get your credit card out of the bottom of a giant
duffel at every gas stop and every time you dig into that gear there
is a chance you’ll hurry through it and leave something undone.
need to get at stuff like tools, oil, spare gas, and a water bottle
with very little effort. So this stuff goes in outside pockets or top
layers of your bag. I usually include a towel, trunks and flip flops
in this category when weather looks nice. If there’s half a chance
of rain or drastic weather changes, I’ll have rain gear and extra
layers ready to go and easy to get to in a hurry. Likewise, if you
start out early in the morning and need to shed layers in a couple
hours, think ahead about where that stuff is going to go. I like to
roll up a flannel or jacket and clip it to the front of my handlebar
bag so I can open two buckles and unroll what I need.
really only need your tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking kit or change
of clothes at the end of the day. This stuff can be buried a little
deeper and harder to get to since you shouldn’t need it in an
emergency or on the side of the road.
Adapt your Bike for Carrying Stuff
or buy a strong sissy bar and strap an appropriate amount of stuff to
it. I’ve witnessed dudes putting a heavy gas can on a sissy built
out of 1/2 rod and end up wearing it all a few hundred miles later
when the thing gives out. Buy some decent throw over saddlebags and
make sure they have mounts that keep ‘em out of the rear wheel. If
you have a stock-ish bike, there are usually lots of aftermarket
racks available. You need to carry at least basic tools so buy a
decent tool bag that won’t give out from the weight. Don’t strap
to things that get hot or have sharp edges. The best way to sort your
kit is to go on the longest multi-day trip you can afford and camp
along the way. By the morning of about day four you will be donating
junk you didn’t really need and you will have figured out what
things belong in each level of storage. Don’t be afraid to watch
some weathered road dog pack their kit in the morning, you might
learn a trick or two. Remember, the tighter your gear is, the more
time you have to enjoy the trip. Being thoughtful about how you pack
not only keeps you safe, it keeps you from earning the “Yard Sale”