Chicago Region BMW Owners Association boasts over 250 members... the largest and most active BMW Motorcycle Club in the region. Meeting on the SECOND Thursday monthly, 7:30 pm 'til 9 pm at Elmhurst Elks Lodge, 711 W. St. Charles Rd, Elmhurst, IL 60126.
Group Riding Thoughts Collected Here:
Based on the idea that two is company and 3 is a crowd, Lots of riders like to be out with a budd but 3 riders or more may be so uncomfortable as to outweigh the rewards. Wouldn't be nice if riders could ride solo most of the time and only need to see each other at critical moments, like turns and fuel stops? It keeps the group in enough contact to address breakdowns and prevent wandering off. I learned how to make this happen back in the 80's during a 5 day trail riding class given in the single track wilds of Michigan by the MSF.
But, some back story: Lots of info can be found on the internet, various tomes of riding instruction, and the common lore of various groups. Not all of it is to every rider's liking or talents. Some of it is patently unsafe. All of it has residual problems that seemingly can never be ironed out completely. Therefore, in order to get started, it is best to refer to the.... PRIME DIRECTIVE: RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE. This seems counter-intuitive to a group ride until it is explained. What this phrase is code for is it it is each rider's personal responsibility to be safe for him/herself at all times.Sure, we all want to have a good time and enjoy each other's company with nary a cross word past our lips nor any hard feelings and like that. But what it comes down to is that no matter how poorly the ride goes, breakdowns, lost riders, you name it IF no body got hurt and no crashed bikes had to be trailer-ed home THEN it was a great ride. No matter how poorly the ride is going the Prime Directive is the deciding factor of how well the riding went. ERGO: Every group riders' meeting should start with a reminder of the Prime Directive. Amen.
Unless every rider in the group is extremely well known to all the others with lots and lots of recent group riding experience with each other, a riders' meeting ought to happen for every group ride. If for no other reason but to remind all the riders of the Prime Directive. Prior to the internet, riders meetings might be more involved with details having to be given at that time rather than a group email before the start. Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to have a riders meeting with an iteration of the Prime Directive and the space and time for a last second ride Q&A.
So. How to ride mostly solo in a group? The answer is to spread out as much as comfortably possible. Back on the wild single tracks of Michigan, it was very dangerous to be anywhere near another rider in case of mishap. Most riders didn't even want to be within eye-shot of another rider. In that case, how did a group manage turns where any number of trails might converge? Here's how it was done. The group would form up at the trail start and the lead rider would disappear into the trees. At a predetermined time, perhaps 15secs, the 2nd rider would start to follow. Each rider thus left with a time cushion to himself. Each ride was now solo. The lead rider coming to a desired turn would stop in such a manner as to present himself to the following rider. The lead rider would wave to the second rider. The second rider would return the wave indicating that the first rider was seen and that a turn was noted. Then the first rider could continue while the second rider waited for the following rider to repeat the process. Beautiful of course, when it works! Amazingly, it works damn good so much of the time that doing it any other way feels idiotic. So, what does a rider do when it doesn't work, like for a breakdown?
Let us imagine that you are waiting for a following rider for a long time after the leading rider has left. The procedure is to remain waiting at your turn/spot for as long as it takes regardless. Obviously something untoward has happened on the trail behind you. Following riders have come across the problem and are dealing with it the best that they can. Maybe they will send a rider to come and get you? If you leave and can't be found, you have compounded the problem. Eventually, the lead rider will be waiting so long for a follower that he will turn around to see what is happening. he will collect you when he comes back. You might have to remind him which of several trails you arrived by. Thus, you don't both get lost back tracking to the rest of the group. REMINDER: According to the Prime Directive, you are still having fun. Nobody is hurt yet that you know of. Most of the time, it turns out that a rider had a puncture or got so stuck that riders needed to accumulate to get him unstuck. Great Pix and much jocularity all around. NOTE WELL, the very same group tactic works even better and easier on the street.
On The Street: Riders are often quite separated yet remain comfortably in sight of each other. Each rider has enough space and time to manage traffic, gawk at scenery, speed up or slow as conditions warrant, change lanes if necessary, fish candy out of a pocket or tankbag, etc. It is usually easy to see turn signals come on with accompanying hand signals and see bikes making turns well in advance. Riders rarely need to ride within 4secs or more of each other. Such separation allows local traffic to safely filter through the group. There is no good reason for 2 riders to be so close to each other that they feel that they are in each others' pockets (unless they are already paired up and like it like that, Amazingly to me some pairs do?) How does one work this when it doesn't seem to work anymore?
Part of the group catches a long red light or a train crossing and they lose sight of the preceding riders. Or a series of town traffic lights string out riders at every light and the front riders are invisible to the back riders with the middle riders not seeing much fore nor aft? And there is a turn coming up. UNLESS a rider can see the previous rider in his group, he must continue on a straight line while looking for his previous group rider at every cross street. If the street jogs a bit, he should continue keeping the integrity of the intersection as straight as possible. Worst case scenario, that rider has to stop in a safe place nearby and wait for somebody to come back and collect him along with however many riders have accumulated with him. SEE:PRIME DIRECTIVE.
ALL OF THIS hinges on the idea that each rider is responsible for the following rider. As a rider sees a leading turn signal come on and turns on his own signal and gives a hand signal, he needs to see his follower do the same. IF he cannot, he must make the turn safely and come to a stop in as same a place as he can manage while still being visible to his following rider whenever that rider might appear. Even if he must quickly park his bike in a safe place and hurriedly dismount in time to get back to a visible place jumping up and down waving vigorously to get his follower to turn. If he misses that rider, he has to catch the next. The rider who missed the turn is now 'lost'. If your group has a good way of handling this problem, please post it up and enlighten us all! (Aside: I was out with the Rockford Wingers, all of whom were linked by CB and were well within site of each other in a rural area. I was stunned to see one of the middle wings in front of me go straight at a turn where the previous rider was visible and waving mightily! Proving that nothing can be made to work real good for very long.)
Essentially, this his how it works on the street. If there is a gas stop, it is the responsibility of each rider to make sure that the following rider turns into the station. If that means that the rider has to stop at the apron of the station instead of riding up to a vacant pump to signal to the following rider to turn in then he ought to do so.
What could possible go wrong? Essentially any damn thing. Does not matter if each rider has the GPS route or a paper route sheet or radios or phone links. Paper maps and sheets blow away, electronic devices fail regularly at the most inconvenient if not decidedly most dangerous moments. I have seen i-phones bounce out of holders on pretty smooth rural roads. Sohelpmegawd, it is hard to fail with good hand signals/flashers and a simple plan. Minimal experience is needed to make it workable even for new users. Put the new users up near the front so that following riders might easily be of help. Forty riders spread out over 2 miles having some familiarity with this system/procedure can ride all day, meet where they need to meet, and cover most problems as just so much fun. And no matter what happens, if in doubt, refer to the PRIME DIRECTIVE
Q&A right here. Add your thoughts and inspirations. Criticize as your bile rises.
ps; I don't really give an eff if you had a good time or not. All I wanna know is, "Did you get home safe?" OK. Maybe I wanna know, "Did you learn anything to share?" If you really did LOL, tell your ride leader. He/She never gets to see any of the really funny stuff.
pps: Your riders' meeting ought not to be missed as small details will pop up there which 'might' be critical along the way.
ppps: Group riding shares a lot of concerns with a Mount Everest expedition. Read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer just like you read the "Right Stuff" inserting biker where you read 'climber/astronaut'. Even if you don't see the connection, it a good book anyway.
Last edit: 2 weeks 3 days ago by fran kokes. Reason: usual typos, errors, phrase-ology, inefficiencies, et al
runs 2-3 minutes
sent to me by a member who bothers to check the forum every so often.
One pretty good way to get a Passenger mounted on the bike. Like all the ways possible, a few repetitions to get familiar and iron out some of the kinks will have yet another option in the repertoire. Looks useful for bikes with a high top case and/or duffle load.
Heads-up: Scheduled for the July 2019 meeting is a presentation on "Passengers" also known as "2-UP" or "2UP". Sometimes a passenger is known as a "Pillion" (pronounced as pill-yun) named after the small seat or cushion found on the back of some motorcycles. Many motorcycle training classes no longer address this topic. Although a wide variety of info is available online, finding something that meets one's needs can be problematic. Nor do the popular and well respected safety manuals address the topic in depth. Thus Fran Kokes will offer whatever can be done in about an hour.
There will be demos given in a parking lot while daylight is sufficient including various ways to mount/dismount the bike while still maintaining a degree of competent cool-ness. Body position, hand-holds, and all manner concerns will be addressed. 3 motorcycles with experienced couples will be available to help first timers and riders with specific concerns on how to iron out some technique. Or at least tip-over with much more grace and panache and perhaps earn a round of applause from happenstance onlookers.
When the daylight disappears, we will move inside where as many questions will be answered as time permits.
Because this topic will be the first of its kind for the club, members are invited to post to this thread whatever they would like to see addressed at the presentation. And this thread might be a clearing house for sharing info post presentation.
Story Time: I managed to drop my first passenger. Many things came together for this fun. it was my first bike. I had been riding it for about 3-4 days. My first passenger was the mother of my best friend. No protective gear was involved. Many things which I firmly believed were "intuitive" to riding 2-up turned out not to be so. As a new rider, I had no idea where to find training literature or training experiences if any existed that might be better than good ol' trial & error. Over the years, I gained a lot of experience of many varieties. I have been dropped a few times and did the dropping a few times. As a parent, I got to watch my daughters ride pillion with some very dubious characters. As a parent, I got to intro my kids to the fun much to my spouses consternation. If nothing else, I have learned that nothing can be approached with any hope that intuition will out. And some training can prevent the worst of newbie errors and allow people to progress much faster to advanced errors.