Safety

Number one on our RIDES!

 

Group Riding Tips
  •  Group riding requires an extreme level of awareness and concentration.
Clear your mind of distractions and strong emotions (anger, frustration, etc.).
  • Know your limits and ride within them; never ride above your abilities.
Mental
Physical
Motorcycle
Environment
Experience level
  • Come to the ride prepared.
Arrive with a full tank of gas and an empty bladder
Bring appropriate riding gear for the expected range of conditions
  • Maintain a constant speed. This helps prevent the “rubber band effect.”
  • Always ride in a tight but courteous staggered formation or single-file line.
  • Your eyes should be watching a few bikes up the road from you, not fixed on the bike directly in front of you. Always look at least 4 seconds ahead.
  • Riding side by side is very dangerous and against the law in many states.  The only time bikes are to be side by side is when the group is stopped at an intersection.
  • Never come up on the motorcycle in front of or beside you.
  • In a staggered or single-file formation, do not pass the bike in front of you.
  • If an exit is missed, stick together as a group, proceed to the next exit, then return to the correct exit.
  • When in a curve, the rider on the outside of the curve is required to give room to the rider on the inside of the curve, in case the inside rider has to use the full width of the lane to safely negotiate the curve.
 

GROUP RIDDING 101

 

 

There's a special thrill that comes with riding in a group of friends on rumbling Harley Davidson motorcycles as well as some extra challenges.

 

Communicate

Good communication starts before the ride begins and stays on to the end.  Get everyone on the same page and keep it that way.  Know where to go if you get separated, who to call if you need help, and the basic hand signals your group is using.

 

Keep Formation

Don't ride side-by-side.  Looks cool on TV however it is a bad idea on the road.  Staggered riding gives you space to maneuver in dangerous situations.  Lead rider in the left third of the lane, second rider in the far right third of the lane and the next rider back in the left third of the lane, all maintaining a two-second following distance.  That's the way to roll.

 

Stick Together

It’s hard to stay together, especially when you go through intersections.  And it's a big stress factor for newer riders. But if it comes to it, don't risk your safety to stay with the pack.  Try splitting your group into groups of 6-8 riders, mixing new riders in with the vets.

 

Pass in Groups

Try passing in small groups on multi-lane roads, three at a time works well.  On two-lane roads, pass one at a time, and only if in marked zones. But no matter the road, you should only pass when necessary.  When you're riding with a group, it's almost always better to bide your time.

 

Intersections

Intersections are risky business.  Approach with caution and only pass through when it's safe and legal.  Blocking an intersection without permission could land you in serious trouble.  Use your turn signals in advance and keep an eye out for traffic.

 

Stop Signs & Red Lights

Line up side-by-side, two-by-two when you pull to a stop.  Turn your head, look drivers in the eyes, and use hand gestures.  Everyone on the road should be able to see you and tell exactly what you're going to do.  As you and your partner move ahead, get back into staggered formation.

 

Interstates & Freeways

Get on and off the freeway single-file.  Once you're fully in the flow of traffic, switch back into a staggered formation, but only then.  If you get separated from the group, don't rush to catch up. It's hard enough for cars to see you when you're not weaving through traffic.

 

Go With the Flow

Guidelines are hard to stick to in the heat of the moment, so a dynamic approach is always best. Give yourself enough time to read the situation, signal other riders in your group, and maneuver safely.

 

Source – HOG 2015 Touring Handbook

TACKLE THE TWISTIES

 

 

Most riders like to get off the freeways whenever they can to ride backroad twists and turns.  Here are a few tips to help you fly through the comers with the greatest of ease.

 

Cornering Basics

A Four-step Approach

 

Slow - evaluate the curve/corner as you approach and slow to a manageable speed before you start to turn.

 

Look - turn your head, not just your eyes and look in the direction you want to turn.  Turning your head helps you see what's ahead and also "cues" your body what your intentions are, making turning more intuitive.

 

Press - push forward on the handlebar in the direction of the turn. This initiates a lean in the direction you want go, see "Counter Steering" below.

 

Roll - finally, roll on the throttle, smoothly and steadily, as you go through the turn.  Maintain a steady speed as you go through the curve, don't slow down, then smoothly accelerate as you exit.

 

Advanced Tips

Line It Up - the most efficient path through a corner is to start on the outside of the curve, move smoothly to the inside as you round the corner, then back to the outside as you leave the curve. This flattens the curve, allowing you to execute the turn at a higher speed.  Or, if conditions are less than ideal, it lets you keep the bike more upright to conserve precious traction.

 

S-Curves - when one curve is immediately followed by another in the opposite direction, you may have to get a bit creative.  Enter the first turn the same way, from the outside, look for the straightest line possible through all the curves, hug the inside of the final turn, then exit in the same way with a smooth roll of the throttle.

 

Delayed Apex Turns – These are useful when you can't see around the curve very well.  Approach the turn a little more slowly, well to the outside, and go a little deeper into the turn before you start to turn.  If the path is clear, complete the turn as usual.  If not, you're now in a good position to ride around the obstacle or slow down further.

 

Counter Steering - if you ride a motorcycle, you already know how to counter steer, even though you may not realize it.  Simply put, it's the principle that to turn a moving motorcycle in a given direction, the rider must turn the handlebar in the opposite direction.  Your body knows this even if your brain doesn't quite grasp it.  If you ever find yourself fighting your way through curvy roads, drifting wide, or needing to slow down too much, it may be time to re-train your brain.  Try this, to initiate a turn, push forward on the handlebar on the side corresponding to the direction you want to turn.  Or, push left, go left; push right, go right.  You may be surprised how easily you slip through those curves.

 

Source – HOG 2015 Touring Handbook

WEATHER-PROOF YOUR RIDE

 

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In a perfect world, every ride would be greeted by sunny skies and pleasant temperatures.  We don't live in that world.  But that's no reason to let less-than-perfect weather wreck your ride.  Whether you're dealing with hot, cold, or wet, here are a few tips to help you have a good ride in bad weather.

 

Hot

Water is Your Friend - in hot weather stay hydrated.  Make frequent stops and drink every chance you get, don't wait until you feel thirsty.  Also, a wet towel or bandana around your neck can work wonders.

 

Cover Up to Stay Cool - resist the urge to ride in short sleeves.  Wear lightweight long sleeves (or a light-weight/mesh riding jacket) instead to deflect the sun's rays and help retain moisture.

 

Synthetic Protection - synthetic fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin will help you stay much cooler than a traditional cotton T-shirt, especially when worn underneath a riding jacket or other long-sleeved outer layer.

 

Cold

Break the Wind - Throwing on your rain jacket (and/or rain pants) is a simple way to retain more body heat when you're caught off guard by a drop in temperature.

 

Hand Aid - Cold hands aren't just miserable, they're dangerous.  Insulated and waterproof gauntlet gloves are beyond valuable, and ones with a breathable membrane are even better.

 

Warm on the Inside - Just like a cold drink cools you off, hot beverages can help keep you going in frigid temperatures.  Stop frequently to down some hot coffee, hot chocolate, or extra tall sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double-decaf mocha with light whip and extra syrup. Nah.

 

Wet

Slow and Steady -      on wet roads, keep your speed in check and don't make any sudden inputs when turning, braking, or accelerating. Increase your following distance and give yourself more time to react.

 

From the Inside Out - those plastic grocery bags everybody hates make great emergency liners for non- waterproof boots.  Your boots will still get wet, but your socks and feet will stay dry.  Stuff newspapers into your boots to help them dry overnight.

 

Slippery When Wet - surfaces such as railroad tracks, manhole covers, and crosswalk markers, to name a few, are extra slippery in the rain.  Avoid turning, braking, or accelerating as you cross them.  Be careful putting your foot down at intersections, where oil leaked from cars can compromise your footing.

 

Source – HOG 2015 Touring Handbook