When leading a group ride, it’s always a good idea to go over a few important bits of information that are not always obvious to any new riders who show up. These could be seasoned riders who’ve never ridden with the group before or newbies, so here are a couple of thoughts. Post up if you have anything you think is important please.
Pace: How fast are we going to be travelling in relation to the posted speed limits? Typically, +/-10 km/h
Formation: Single line or staggered formation? Typically staggered formation with at least 1.5 bike lengths between riders.
Leader and sweeper: Point out who the leader is and who the sweeper is. Remind people not to pass the leader and start their own ride, as well as telling them that the sweeper’s purpose is to make a hole in traffic when changing lanes as a group and assist anyone who falls behind so nobody ends up riding alone.
Buddy system: Pick a person in the group and stick with them for the duration of the ride. You are simply looking out for each other for safety and so that in the case of a problem, there is someone who may be able to go for help or give you a ride.
Hand signals: Go over the left and right turn signals and share the following;
- Hand held above your head with a single finger pointing upward means single file. Spread out to 2 bike lengths.
- Patting the top of your helmet or making circular motions with your hand means there may be police enforcement, so watch your speed more carefully.
Foot signals: Foot signals are used to signal lane position changes or road hazards as follows;
- Leg held out at a 45 degree angle means you are changing lane position.
- Leg held out with a pointed foot means there is dirt, garbage or other hazards in the road.
- If you see a foot signal, always repeat it for the rider behind you.
Gear: Ensure that everyone that shows up for your ride has at least a minimum level of protection. I typically insist that helmet, gloves, an armoured riding jacket and real motorcycle boots are worn. No hoodies or sneakers. I’ve seen enough road rash and would rather not see much more.
Passing: When passing other riders, always do so on their left and in a different lane. Never ever pass another rider in their lane. Never ever pass another rider on the right in their lane. If a rider is in the left lane, it’s ok to pass them in the right lane.
Shenanigans: You are leading this ride, so if you’re ok with people doing wheelies in a group or any other types of stunts, explain that. I’m typically not ok with this and always tell the group that if they need to behave like that, please drop out of the group and put a significant amount of distance between themselves and anyone who can run them over before they get up to anything, for everyone’s safety.