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Army Strong. Ride Long
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Well, in light of the huge post we had last week about group riding, I hesitated starting this one, but I couldn't resist.

Sunday I was out for a ride with some friends enjoying the beautiful Native American summer (can't say Indian summer anymore - oops). Just three couples on three bikes cruising along Rt. 30 towards Gettysburg (Great place to ride if you've never done it BTW - the battlefields that is). Rt. 30 is one lane each way with a center turn lane in most spots. A group of bikers was getting ready to leave one of the local watering holes that bikers visit regularly - as both a thirst quencher and as a rallying point. At least 30 bikes. The tail gunner proceeds to move out on to Rt. 30 and block traffic heading east bound as the group pulls out of the parking lot, also heading east. Now mind you, this is a pretty busy road; one of the only major roads heading in the east/west direction. I saw this pretty far off and started to slow down as I was the leader of my pitiful trio of two wheelers. The cager in front of me either didn't know what was going on or didn't care and although he slowed down, he tried to move around the tail gunner, passing him to the left. The TG continued to move North causing the car to keep trying to go around him until the car and the biker were in the west bound lane of Rt. 30 with oncoming traffic heading right for them. Finally the last biker cleared the parking lot and the TG flipped the car driver off and hauled butt to catch up to the pack - pipes-a-blaring through the Caledonia State Park. The car sped up and started playing tag with the group until he turned off. Lots of balls there for the driver.

This is just an observation of what I saw. I think the TG biker had the best intentions of keeping the group together and safe, even though what he did was technically illegal. The cager, although inconvenienced by having to wait was totally out of line trying to pass. What would it have cost him to wait - 2 minutes? Instead he risked his life, his passenger's life, the TG's life and maybe drivers coming the opposite direction lives' too. It would have been no different than having to wait for a tractor trailer pulling slowly on the road. Of course, the truck is much bigger than the car, so he would have slowed down for sure. Bikers are pains-in-the-butt and I'm sure he'll tell a different story about how bikers cut him off and were a-holes almost causing a wreck.
 

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I see both sides to this arguement. Hopefully this thread can stay civil. There are some intense opinions on both sides of the fence.
 

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I was a participant in a group ride a few weeks ago with a total of about 25-30 bikes. The beginning of the ride and the end of the ride was police escorted. At the beginning the leader mentioned that the ride was supposed to be escorted but things had changed and a portion would not be and therefore might have to block intersections. He said he would signal to riders to block intersections when needed. At first I wasnt thrilled about that idea cause it is illegal. After riding though I could see where there could be issues if the bikes got separate and then tried to catch up etc. I found that all the people that had to stop as we went were patient and even tooted their horns or waived as we went by.
 

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Novice Tank Roller
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Yeah, I see both sides of it too. I wonder how long it will be before some stupid legislator passes a law limiting the size of motorcycle groups on the road to eliminate this "problem". :-o

Sorry...I guess I'm just cynical about the government. :(
 

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If your group is THAT big let the police block traffic. You're just asking to get run over, especially on a busy road. I don't know why these bike groups think they need to leave as a group and everything. Just go when traffic clears and everyone will catch up down the road. Sure beats sitting in the middle of the road with cars coming at you.
 

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Novice Tank Roller
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I was a participant in a group ride a few weeks ago with a total of about 25-30 bikes. The beginning of the ride and the end of the ride was police escorted. At the beginning the leader mentioned that the ride was supposed to be escorted but things had changed and a portion would not be and therefore might have to block intersections. He said he would signal to riders to block intersections when needed. At first I wasnt thrilled about that idea cause it is illegal. After riding though I could see where there could be issues if the bikes got separate and then tried to catch up etc. I found that all the people that had to stop as we went were patient and even tooted their horns or waived as we went by.
that's one of the main reasons I tend to stay away from them. They are a lot of fun to be part of, but if the front of the pack goes too fast, then you get a lot of racing/speeding toward the back in order to keep up. I've seen it get dangerous with some of the speeds, and at some intersections because of gaps opening up.
 

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Two things here from my past experience....

...I have been tail gunner on a group ride and had to play tag with car. This was when I was on a 250cc SCOOTER!!! (Talk about up close and personal). This will always happen so you better have a REALLY experienced rider as tail gunner.

...secondly why do large group rides NOT have multiple leaders? How hard would it be really to limit 10 bikes to a leader with every leader (and I'd like to see every rider) being briefed on the route? You set up multiple rendevous and you will always group back up. But this way if some get seperated then no stress cause they have a leader and they know where next stop is.

Seriously...I have wondered that last part for about 4 years now.
 

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Two things here from my past experience....

...I have been tail gunner on a group ride and had to play tag with car. This was when I was on a 250cc SCOOTER!!! (Talk about up close and personal). This will always happen so you better have a REALLY experienced rider as tail gunner.

...secondly why do large group rides NOT have multiple leaders? How hard would it be really to limit 10 bikes to a leader with every leader (and I'd like to see every rider) being briefed on the route? You set up multiple rendevous and you will always group back up. But this way if some get seperated then no stress cause they have a leader and they know where next stop is.

Seriously...I have wondered that last part for about 4 years now.
I agree. Why they don't have ride captains I have no idea. What if the leader of a large group goes through a yellow. Do the rest go through the red light just to stay together?
 

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Two things here from my past experience....

...I have been tail gunner on a group ride and had to play tag with car. This was when I was on a 250cc SCOOTER!!! (Talk about up close and personal). This will always happen so you better have a REALLY experienced rider as tail gunner.

...secondly why do large group rides NOT have multiple leaders? How hard would it be really to limit 10 bikes to a leader with every leader (and I'd like to see every rider) being briefed on the route? You set up multiple rendevous and you will always group back up. But this way if some get seperated then no stress cause they have a leader and they know where next stop is.

Seriously...I have wondered that last part for about 4 years now.
Makes just enough sense to work! ;) Don't know why people don't do that. Much safer. At the very least make sure EVERYONE knows the route you are taking!
 

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I agree. Why they don't have ride captains I have no idea. What if the leader of a large group goes through a yellow. Do the rest go through the red light just to stay together?
When my friends ride as a group, if we get seperated by lights (and it happens, often), we simply regroup a little ahead. Those who got through pull over at the next safe spot, and the rest play catch-up. I know that doesnt really work as well for large group rides. I'm always nervous going through reds as part of large charity group rides, though the last time i was on one, there was a cop at the intersection directing traffic (it was for a triathlon also going on) and he waved us all through, so that was nice.
 

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frequently disturbs class
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I've been on a few big GRs where riders play traffic cop at corners. The reaction from cagers is about 75% negative, even when it makes little difference in their rate of progress.

Ride leaders and tail gunners that provoke anger in cagers are putting the whole line at the mercy of the PO'd cage monkey. It's a bad strategy even if it seems justified.
 

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Army Strong. Ride Long
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Discussion Starter #14
I think those of us that like riding in a group like the feeling it instills in us - the sound, the power, stuff like that. Most of the time I like riding alone or just 2-up collecting thoughts, etc.

NCDave makes a great point! Maybe if we police ourselves we can head off any stupid state lawmakers policing things for us.
 

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Love my 1500!
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Extreme Gizmologist
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...secondly why do large group rides NOT have multiple leaders?
As someone who leads a lot of rides, I can say that most clubs have only a small number of riders actually willing to lead. Funny dynamic. Lots of riders willing to be tail gunner but few want to lead. Me, I'd rather be in front although its a nice change of pace to be in the back of the pack.
 

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Nobody Home
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"I think those of us that like riding in a group like the feeling it instills in us - the sound, the power, stuff like that." post #14


Herd behavior in animals

A group of animals fleeing a predator shows the nature of herd behavior. In 1971, in the oft cited article "Geometry For The Selfish Herd," evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton asserted that each individual group member reduces the danger to itself by moving as close as possible to the center of the fleeing group. Thus the herd appears to act as a unit in moving together, but its function emerges from the uncoordinated behavior of self-serving individuals.[1]

1. W. D. Hamilton (1971), "Geometry for the Selfish Herd," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp. 295-311
 

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"I think those of us that like riding in a group like the feeling it instills in us - the sound, the power, stuff like that."


Herd behavior in animals

A group of animals fleeing a predator shows the nature of herd behavior. In 1971, in the oft cited article "Geometry For The Selfish Herd," evolutionary biologist W. D. Hamilton asserted that each individual group member reduces the danger to itself by moving as close as possible to the center of the fleeing group. Thus the herd appears to act as a unit in moving together, but its function emerges from the uncoordinated behavior of self-serving individuals.[1]

1. W. D. Hamilton (1971), "Geometry for the Selfish Herd," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp. 295-311
I thought the idea was to just not be the slowest. :)
 

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I miss you, Deron
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This is exactly why I prefer small groups. I can see the fun of a large group, but those kind of situations make me very uncomfortable.
 

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I personally am not interested in riding in large groups. Heck, it is hard enough to keep 2 or 3 vehicles together and whenever I am in a caravan like that I always make sure that every driver knows where we are going, the route we are taking, and when we expect to get there; then everyone has a cell phone and knows everyone else's number. In other words... we plan on getting separated and prepare for it accordingly.
 
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