Harley Group Ride


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goldwingclueless
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Harley Group Ride

Postby goldwingclueless » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:28 pm



Last Saturday I participated in a Poker Run fund raiser ride for a newborn baby that needs surgery. This was me and my buddy's first group ride with people other than the usual crowd we ride with. All the bikes were Harley’s except for me and my buddy on our 1500’s and someone on a 1800. During the ride we had seen some things that made us wonder if this was “normal” for all for Harley group rides, “normal” for all group rides even with Metric Bikes or if this was something common with the local Harley riders.

Examples of such are:

• We did ride in a staggered formation (which is normal- with me it is anyway)
• When coming up to a Stop sign – they would make a fist with their left hand and hold their left arm out and bent upward at the elbow for 10 or 15 seconds before putting their hand back on the bar so they could use the clutch.
• When coming to a Right turn – they would use the bicycle hand/arm signal with the same as the “stop” hand signal they used – but they had an open hand with the fingers pointed up. Again for 10 or 15 seconds before putting their hand back on the bar and turning on their blinker – if at all.
• When coming to a Left turn – they would put their left hand arm straight out to the left. Again for 10 or 15 seconds before putting their hand back on the bar and turning on their blinker - if at all.
• When needing to go to “single file” do to a car or something along the road – they would stick their left arm straight up with the index finger sticking up (NOT the universal “finger” were all familiar with). Again for 10 to 15 seconds before putting their hand back on the bar and turning on their blinker – if at all.
• When going back to the Staggered Formation – it was the index and the pinky finger they would use while holding their arm up in the air for 10 to 15 seconds.
• When arriving to a curve in the road (any kind of curve – it didn’t matter if it was a sweeping gentle with a full open view curve or a bit sharper with a hidden view, they slowed down to 40mph and as soon as it went straight again they gassed the heck out of it to get back to 60 or 65. (This was for every turn we made also, as soon as they straightened out – they gassed the ever living heck outta the things).
• Also when arriving to a curve with any small bit of sand or gravel in the corner – they would stick their foot out and point to it.

My buddy and I talked about this on and off all Sunday trying to figure these actions out. To US and others we ride with, this seems kind of stupid for the following reasons:

• Keep your hands on the bars and use your signal lights and pay attention to what you are doing, what is around you and what is ahead of you. If a car would of pulled out in front of the "leaders" of the pack, 6 to 8 bikes would of been piled up on that car before people would of gotten then hands on the clutch.
• It is a curve in the road and you expect that there is gravel, sand or silt in the road and you adjust accordingly.
• Riding full throttle or full brake in a bigger group does not make it an enjoyable ride, as either your trying to play catch up to the people ahead of you or your slamming on your brakes trying not to run into them, because they are at the next stop sign, turn or curve in the road by the time you get there.
• NOT INFORMING PEOPLE in the group ride, prior to leaving that you are going to be using these hand, arm, foot signals is a danger. Me and my buddy figred out pretty quickly about the turn and stop hand/arm signals, the one that caught us off guard was the “single lane” signal. The first time they did this, we were both looking up in the sky wondering what everyone was pointing at. I didn’t know if it was plane crashing out of the sky or an eagle flying above or what.

SO… sorry for the long rant, I am just looking for other peoples thoughts or experiences as this was totally new for him and I.



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NVSB4
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby NVSB4 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:33 pm

There are lots of tongue in cheek things that I could say, such as "they have to use elementary signals due to the mental level of the riders", but the GWRRA Road Captains course also teaches a lot of the hand signals. Wingers usually don't use them due to having the CB to communicate with.
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Happytrails
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby Happytrails » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:22 am

Group riding doesnt seem to be all enjoyment like I imagined. Im always riding solo but sometimes I end up at the back of a train of bikes riding around. And to watch them it doesnt look very fun sometimes. Usually it seems like its the leader doing odd things.

I was following a group of about 10 Goldwings the other day. I tend to ride a little fast but I'm working on riding at a slower pace to enjoy the ride more. I figured I'd catch up with the group of wings. I did get real close but the were hauling the mail for sure. There leader left a couple towards the back of the group far behind. I wondered if those guys were enjoying the ride or not. If I had to guess I think this was a GWRRA group just north of where I live.
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themainviking
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby themainviking » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:38 am

Without knowing who these riders were, I cannot say if what I am gonna write is correct, however, it sounded like it was a H.O.G. Chapter, and they group ride to the lowest skilled riders level, as do GWRRA. GWRRA says they are there for "Fun, SAFETY, and Knowledge", and H.O.G. has a similar mind set. If all of these hand signals and all this caution seemed juvenile for you, perhaps you should not ride with them, again. I, also, believe that the extra caution taken by these groups is just excessive. That being said, I have seen people run into the back of other people who had their signal lights on. The arm signals get everyones attention, and get everyone actively participating instead of just mindlessly following, which believe me, does happen in group rides. I hate group rides of any size. More than about seven bikes has too much opportunity to go sideways. I am a qualified Road Captain for H.O.G. and also for GWRRA. The absolute best safety feature is attention. If everyone is paying attention, the chances of mishap are very much minimized, however, if the ride is going smoothly, many riders tend to drift into LaLa land and stop paying attention. It is the nature of relaxation. So, riding in the manner you have described keeps everyone on their toes. :P :lol: :D
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julimike54
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby julimike54 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:46 am

themainviking wrote:Without knowing who these riders were, I cannot say if what I am gonna write is correct, however, it sounded like it was a H.O.G. Chapter, and they group ride to the lowest skilled riders level, as do GWRRA. GWRRA says they are there for "Fun, SAFETY, and Knowledge", and H.O.G. has a similar mind set. If all of these hand signals and all this caution seemed juvenile for you, perhaps you should not ride with them, again. I, also, believe that the extra caution taken by these groups is just excessive. That being said, I have seen people run into the back of other people who had their signal lights on. The arm signals get everyones attention, and get everyone actively participating instead of just mindlessly following, which believe me, does happen in group rides. I hate group rides of any size. More than about seven bikes has too much opportunity to go sideways. I am a qualified Road Captain for H.O.G. and also for GWRRA. The absolute best safety feature is attention. If everyone is paying attention, the chances of mishap are very much minimized, however, if the ride is going smoothly, many riders tend to drift into LaLa land and stop paying attention. It is the nature of relaxation. So, riding in the manner you have described keeps everyone on their toes. :P :lol: :D


I'd say from my observations that you are spot on. Hence I'm not big on large group rides also. One of the largest was a toy run, with police escort and all flavors of scoots, it was maddening to go 40 then 20 on a freeway. Won't do that again, I'll just go to the end and watch them arrive.
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby dingdong » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:54 am

What they were doing might seem excessive to some. However, communication in group rides is a necessity to insure safety for all riders. It is not exclusive to "Harley" group rides. The ride captain should have explained this before the ride though. Part of his job. That said, I don't do group rides except occasionally.

Have a look.

http://www.ridemyown.com/articles/safet ... nals.shtml
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tfdeputydawg
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby tfdeputydawg » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:00 am


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robb
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby robb » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:36 am

Those are hand signals used by many groups, even the Yamaha and Honda riders group I'm involved with. We do a lot of Road Marshal for charity events and are instructed by Law Enforcement that we must at the ability of the least experienced riders when a ride fee is paid.
I can say that riding 10 bikes back there is a lot of road I can't see and a raised has lets me know the road is insufficient for staggered riding. Same goes for an outstretched leg to alert debris in road.
Bet you did not see much wave to other riders since that is a no-no on an organized ride.
Just to pass test to get my motorcycle endorsement years ago I had to demonstrate knowledge of hand signals.
When riding with other Wingers very little hand signals are used. We don't ride too organized, averaged age is about 70 so its at your comfort level. We ride for enjoyment and fun and trust each others ability to ride. Our hand signals are for the porch sitters, kids in yard and anyone else who needs a wave.

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NVSB4
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby NVSB4 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:38 am

I guess I have a little different view on group rides.
My chapter is very active, has a group ride every weekend and usually has between 12 - 30 bikes.
We tout "ride your own ride", but after so many, we know the limitations of each.
We break up into groups, so the ones that want to go faster are in the first group and the ones that go "leisurely" in the last.
A good Road Captain and Tail Gunner will vary the ride for the slowest and will never separate the group.
The main thing is that we all end up at the same place.
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goldwingclueless
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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby goldwingclueless » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:26 pm

Thank you for everyone that has chimed in with their opinions, experiences and insights. I see and understand different points of view now. I also now see how my riding alone or with the normal group of 5-7 guys has limited not only my experiences, but the others in our normal group as well, as I know they also either ride alone or with the normal guys. I can't say if I will ever ride with that specific Harley group again as it was a 3hr trip to get at the starting point. I do however have a new perspective to reflect on if/when I ride in a large group again.


Thank You.

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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby Monsignore » Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:56 pm

This type of group behavior, if you're prepared for it, can be maddening/confusing. If you choose to participate such another large group ride, I would suggest presenting yourself to one of the organizers and state that this is one of your first rides with a group this big, you're excited to be part of such a big group, eager to help the charity recipients, then ask if there is anything specific you should know about riding in a group this large.

And if you find the culture of this ride is making you feel unsafe, you're not gonna lose any cool points if you decide to exit early. "Ride your own ride," as they say.

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Re: Harley Group Ride

Postby suvcw04 » Sat Aug 13, 2016 12:44 pm

That part about full throttle back up to 60 or 65 . . . . . that's pretty much topped out for a Harley. They slow in the curves to let the engines cool down.




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