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Group riding technique and rules of the road

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Keeper of the Asylum
Feb 28, 2003

:tab Here are the general rules TWT encourages when running group rides. They are not complicated. Learning them really does makes things go a lot smoother.

Ride Rules

1. Wear the gear! At a minimum you must have a DOT approved helmet, gloves, and jacket. We'd be much happier to see good boots and riding pants ;-)

2. NO squidding! This means no wheelies, stoppies, burnouts, etc,... We do not want to attract undue negative attention.

3. No passing on the right! If you are behind a slower rider, pass safely on the left. It is preferrable that they know you are coming so you don't freak them when you pass by them.

4. Speeding is done at your own risk! Sure we all ride a little quick at times. If you get a ticket, don't bother blaming me. If you come upon group members that have been stopped, keep riding and find a place to stop farther up the road. LEO are not going to be thrilled if a lot of other bikes start pulling up.

5. Ride your own pace! I know you've all heard this before. Take it serious!! You will not get left behind. I stop the group at all turns in the route so we can regroup. It is rare for the group to wait more than a minute or two at most even for the slow riders. I will not continue until I get a thumbs up from the last person to arrive. Really, I want everyone to take this serious. Picking people and their bikes up out of ditches is NOT FUN!!

6. Group formation. On straights, we ride in a staggered formation with at least a one second gap between the person ahead of you. DO NOT CROWD THE RIDER IN FRONT OF YOU!! If you are all over the back of the person in front of you, you need to go ahead and pass them when it is safe. There are deer out in East Texas and if they have to swerve or brake to miss a deer, you need to have time to react! The staggering is only required for straights. When you hit the curves, take whatever line you think is best to get you through the corner safely.

7. No booze!We do not tolerate drinking until the end of the day when we are off the bikes. May sound kind of strict, but that's the way it is.

8. If one gasses up, we all gas up! I know this rule bugs some people. However, it will never fail that a few people will wait to get gas because they don't "need" gas yet. This totally screws up everything because they get out of sync with the group and we wind up having to make more stops and waste more time than we would if everyone will just fill up at the same time. I will hound you about this!!

9. Passing other traffic. I expect you to pass other vehicles in a safe manner. This does not include passing through a corner on the double yellow! If the bike in front of you passes, DO NOT assume it is necessarily safe for you to pass as well!! I have seen way too many close calls because of this behavior. Remember, we don't want every car we pass to be pissed at motorcyclists because we are obnoxious ;-)

10. Keep track of the rider behind you. You should be checking your mirrors every time you get done with a set of curves to make sure the person behind you has come through without incident. The idea is to make sure no one gets left behind as a result of mechanical issues or an accident. If you turn around, then the person ahead of you will eventually turn around, and so on, until the whole group comes back. We will do whatever is necessary to get all bikes and riders home.

11. Breaking away from the group. There will be riders that need to cut the day short for whatever reason. If you are one of these riders, you need to make sure that the ride leader knows you will be leaving and when. This is important because otherwise, it will be assumed that something bad has happened to you!

:tab Those 11 rules may seem like a lot, but they are not. Most are common sense. I do expect everyone to abide by them though.

:tab There are also some bike to bike signals that we use for communication. You may already know many of them, but here is a review just for grins:

Hand signals

NOTE: the tapping on the top of the helmet with the palm of your left hand is more commonly used to warn of LEO presence. If you see this, you may want to slow down. Also, not shown is the common signals for left and right turns. Left arm bent at elbow with hand straight up -> turn right. Left arm straight out -> left turn.

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