For motorcycle riders, there’s nothing sweeter than hitting the open road with a group of your friends. No one knows that better than GEICO Motorcycle, host of the Hot Bike Tour (September 9 to 13, 2015), a 1,000-mile group ride from Iowa to Montana.
But group trips can be chaotic, so having some guidelines to follow is important.
“Riding in a group is fun,” says Corey Eastman of Bonnier Motorcycle Group, one of the organizers of the Hot Bike Tour. “But you should observe a few general rules to ensure that all riders are safe and stay within the group.”
- Before hitting the road, hold a riders meeting to discuss the route and where you’ll be stopping for fuel and food.
- Go over basic hand signals. There’s nothing worse than trying to yell, “I’m on empty. Let’s pull over for some gas!” at 60 mph, while wearing a helmet.
- Make sure your bike is in tip-top shape and the gas tank is full. You don’t want to be the person who derails a two-day trip on mile three.
- Pick a lead rider. He or she should have lots of experience, be good with directions and know the skill level of everyone in the group.
- Choose a chase rider who will bring up the rear and make sure people don’t fall too far behind.
- Don’t ride next to someone else. Instead, stagger yourselves within a lane. That will give you enough room to swerve around any obstacles or hazards.
- When turns get sharp or visibility is bad, switch to single file.
- Stay at least two seconds behind the rider in front of you. If the weather is bad or the road is rough, leave even more room.
- While riding, don’t become mesmerized by the bike in front of you. (That’s especially easy to do on long-distance trips.) Instead, keep your eyes on the road and remember your training.
- When the time comes to park, try to get everyone off the road as quickly as possible. And wherever you stop, make sure there’s enough space for your entire group. It’s no fun trying to cram 100 bikes into the parking lot of a small roadside diner.
Group riding is about teamwork and communication, so pay attention to the rules and everyone will be able to enjoy the ride.
Before you hit the road, make sure you have the right gear. Check out How to Pick the Right Motorcycle Helmet.
GEICO takes motorcycle safety seriously and can provide top-notch insurance coverage for your bike.