GROUP RIDING GUIDE
Table of Contents
Touring Association - National Office of Rider Education
National Rider Education Directors
39 Kentucky Drive
Newport, Kentucky 41071
Acknowledgments This Group Riding Guide, is being published to help the new or potential GWTA members become acquainted with our present riding procedures. Some of the enclosed information has been obtained from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and from various articles written by other motorcyclists.
GWTA, GWTA Officers, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and the authors, disclaim any liability for the views expressed herein.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reprint of this GWTA Group Rider Policy handbook is granted when full credit is given.
|The following are suggestions only and
are not to be considered rules.
They are guidelines and not mandatory in order to be members of GWTA, however, the more we as a group think and ride alike, the safer and more fun the rides will be.
|Riding in a group is strictly voluntary and should be done only if you feel comfortable with your motorcycle and the riding habits of your particular riding group.|
|It is recommended that a good quality helmet, eye protection, boots, gloves and protective clothing be worn at all times, by all riding. Also, that the motorcycle be in a safe condition.|
"Group Leaders" and "Back Doors"
Responsibility of Leaders:
Back Door (Tail End Charlie, Tail Gunner)
Defensive Riding Practices
TAKE AN MSF ERC CLASS
Team Riding Techniques
Starting The Ride:
During The Ride:
Lane Changing and Passing
Stops and Final Destination
Ride Organizers (for each specific ride)
Ideas and locations for rides come from you, the Chapter Member. Everyone has a favorite ride. Share it! Remember, the Ride Organizers do not have to be a Group Leader on their ride. Your chapter should have a ride meeting prior to riding season, to schedule most of the activities and prepare a ride calendar. This gives the members an opportunity to plan ahead for the season. It also gives other chapters the opportunity to participate in your rides and events.
There could be multiple groups, Group Leaders and Back Doors, but only one Ride Organizer per ride.
Chapter Ride Coordinator's
All of these guidelines are meant to make your ride more pleasant and safer. Any time we put more than one motorcycle in close proximity to another, we have just increased the risk factor. We live in a very structured society. Rules should not be anything new to any of us. They make moving the herd just a little easier. If it takes your co-rider, or your rider a little longer to get his/her stuff together all in one bag, edge him or her on with a gentle nudge "get your helmet on and lets get ready to go". There are other phrases that can be more explicit, but do so at your own risk. After all of this, it does not mean that you cannot participate in Chapter rides if you do not like group riding. Leave ahead of the group and do your own thing, start after the group has left and sight see to your hearts content. You know the destination, you know the speed that your co-rider likes best. Do it the way you will enjoy it the most.
Motorcycle C.B.'s are notoriously under powered. If you can "reach out" for a mile you are really lucky. The C.B. has become an inter-bike method of communication. They really work good for short distance talking. However anyone with a decent mobile radio will "walk all over you" if they are close by. A base station will "blow your windows out", even if you don't have any windows. Around town they can become a real nuisance what with big base stations blasting away.
But, for good to excellent communication while driving down the highway, they can't be beat. Works better than hand signals. The dealer installed models, fit right in that little knook or cranny, and integrate right along with the radio, tape player and intercom.
Setup: On the Gold Wing, most installations are handled at the dealership. But no one checks the SWR (that's one of those neat little C.B. terms that means Standing-Wave-Ratio). On most auto or home installations, a ratio of 1:1 is ideal. However, on a motorcycle most of your communications are completed within 200-300 hundred yards of each other and a ratio that flat causes the radio to over-modulate, or in laymen's terms, garble your speech. So, we adjust the antenna to about 1:1.5 to 1:2 SWR, and try it out. In most cases, it actually makes everything sound a lot better. We won't get into adjusting the SWR in this guide.
Now we have the thing all set up. It worked in your garage, between some "good buddy" in your neighborhood who gave you a radio check and certified that you were "hittin him with 10 pounds", or something like that. So, just how do we communicate? No, riding down the road, we don't ask for a break on the channel when riding motorcycles. First of all, you'll be lucky if anyone other than the group you are riding with even hears you. Go up on channel 19 sometime and listen to the intellectual conversations between some of the "good buddies". One theory is that you give some one a C.B. radio and their IQ drops at least 50 points, effective with them plugging it in. Not so with a motorcycle C.B. When no one else in your group is talking, you just call out someone's name, "Hey Joe, you by the channel?". If Joe has his turned on, he'll reply back with something.
To Transmit: First key the mike. But wait just a second or two for the radio to come up to power. It's not like a telephone with a two way conversation. They call the C.B. a two way radio, but it only works one way at a time. So, key the mike, pause, now in a normal tone, or better yet, lower (deepen) your voice just a hair, and talk plainly. Enunciation is the key to good clear radio speech. (Just like the man on the five o'clock news). Speak slowly and plainly, try to use simple terms that are easily understood. Remember there's wind noise to contend with, especially with open face helmets. Your passenger, just may be talking at the same time, and you know your priority. Hold the key for just a second when you are finished, then release it. Don't try to "quick key", or key just as soon as someone else lets off their key. Allow a little time in between transmissions. When two people are conversing, don't try to jump in with some smart comment, most of the time you will "double" with them and nobody understands anybody.
Try listening to other people, using the helmet speakers and then with the fairing mounted speakers. I find that the fairing speakers are far superior, when I am wearing my open face helmet. After all, these speakers are about 5 times larger than those little bitty ones in your helmet.
The microphone in a full face helmet is usually the best, after all, you don't have the wind noise quite as much as with an open face helmet.
Try talking to the bike right ahead of you, and then the farthest bike away. You may be surprised to find out that the guy who is the farthest away hears you the best.
Don't try to talk over a real powerful station that is talking at the same time. It just does not work. Physics and all that stuff. One problem is called skip, or DX in radio lingo, these are really powerful stations transmitting hundreds of miles. To cut them out, just turn up your squelch, that's the other knob on your radio. Some times you hear DX, some times you don't. It has to do with sun spots and weather conditions. The squelch control cuts out all of the low powered noise.
Normally, in a group ride there are times like first starting out and coming to rest at a gas or food break, we give up the C.B. to the Group Leader and his Tail End Charlie. It's just a matter of safety. After all, we are coming to a stop and we can take the helmet off and talk like real people.
Revised October 20, 1997
For more information please contact:
13950 Herring Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80908
(719) 495-1968 voice/fax