Riding solo is fun but riding with a group of mates takes it to a whole other level.
Developing a sixth sense for group dynamics and learning to look out for every member of the group will help you enjoy it even more.
If you’re new to group riding it’s easy to get pushed into riding beyond your ability.
The best way to stop this happening is to ride with people you trust.
If you’re less experienced, real mates will respect your skill level and ride accordingly.
Equally, if you’re an experienced rider and a new rider joins the group, it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t encourage them to try too hard to stay in touch.
Get the group to ease back a bit and look after the newbie.
Remember you were in their position once.
A common problem for group riders is speeding.
We’ve all seen it happen, everyone starts off riding together but then one rider has a faster bike so they up the pace a bit, and then another responds and then another doesn’t want to be the odd one out so they give it a bit of extra throttle too and soon the whole group is going too fast, risking lives and demerit points.
So if someone new comes along and does something dumb, like speeding, just let them go.
Group riding isn’t a competition - if you want to compete, go to a track day.
Trust your sixth sense on this one and speak up.
If they want to ride with you again, they need to understand the group’s attitude and agree with it.
Of course there are going to be times when the group gets split up because of traffic conditions or road signals.
But when it happens don’t worry, just relax, stay in control and don’t fall into the trap of pushing harder to catch up.
Instead, agree on a couple of meeting points that you can use if the group gets too spread out and catch up there.
If you’re an experienced group, it often helps to ride in a staggered formation, with the lead bike taking up a position on the right hand side of your lane and the rest of you staggered at 3 second intervals on opposite sides of the lane. That way every rider has a clear view of the road and the bike ahead, and plenty of time to adjust and react to any issues.”
And if more than one of you feels comfortable taking the lead, it’s always a good idea to swap over at rest breaks to share the load.”
Different bikes, different riding styles, different people – that’s what makes group riding a blast.
So get organised, work out your route in advance, plan your rest stops, ride to the abilities of the least experienced rider in your group, stay focused on making sure no-one gets left behind and you’ll have an awesome day out.