Tips on how to ride in a pack and not be an idiot
When it comes to motorcycling events, not much has changed in terms of getting to them. At first thought, it might look easy to ride in a large pack of bikes, piloted by people you don’t even know yet. It could be the most fun you’ve ever had, or a complete utter ball-up! Our advice below leans more towards beginner club riders, but these lessons can also be valuable to today’s newbie rider also.
- Decide before you ride
Are you an experienced enough rider to hang with these guys? Can you and your machine keep up? If you’re thinking way too long on this, maybe it might be best to ride near the back. Plan and know the route, so if things go funny, you an at least split off and ride at your own pace. This is just as important if you’re a fast rider too. The rule of thumb, groups tend to go a bit slower, so if you want to stay with the pack, simmer down and take your place and hold your line.
2. Use your head.
In a group of unknowns, you may have no idea what you’re up against, who you are next to or who’s coming up behind you. Clubs ride for hundreds of miles and ride two-up with only a few feet apart, but that doesn’t mean you can. Bikers you don’t know may have a different style of riding, split off from the pack to form smaller, tighter and faster little groups. It makes sense to do this with your mates, but trying to pull this off with strangers can turn into a harder ride, and at worst, a dangerous one.
3. Hold your line.
Get yourself into your natural slot and keep pace with you and the next rider. Don’t be a jackass by doing something that throws everyone off. The last thing you’d want to do is getting too close and not leaving enough room to recover. When splitting lanes, go single file and stay behind the bike in front of you.
4. What to do if your bike quits on you?
The first thing you have to prioritise is your safety, and the other riders of course. Signal immediately that you’re pulling off so the riders behind you know what you’re doing. If you are riding with some mates, hopefully they notice what is wrong and will also pull over. Fingers crossed its something you can fix right then and there, but if you need some juice, or some else’s expertise, choose who can help you and don’t hold up the whole pack. Otherwise you’ll be known as ‘that guy’, and you’ll never hear the end of it!
5. Be kind, think of others.
You have to think about yourself, but also the needs of the pack. You might feel like having a break, or a quick little smoke - but best to wait till the next stop to avoid breaking up continuity of the run. Even things like slowing down, you have to remember, if you’re ridding a newer bike with good brakes, that 60-70 year old bike won’t stop as fast as you, so don’t just hit the brakes like a madman, give notice and those behind you will appreciate that! With all that, at OFR, we wish everyone a safe ride! Enjoy it, that's what it's all about!