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Tbones
05-04-2011, 01:05 PM
The following should not be taken as the "bible" all encompassing do all, see all rules of the road for a "good" Road Captain... I will try to list or highlight the "rules" of the road when riding in a pack and what the Road Captain is resposnible for... Not all Road Captains are alike and not all are what I would call a "good" Road Captain... Personally, I do not like to be a Road Captain, I can't enjoy the ride as much and I am phsyically and mentally exhausted at the end of the ride :)...

Responsibilities of the Road Captain;

1. Know where your going and how to get there and clearly state that to the "pack".
2. Convey the "pack" rules to any new rider to the group.
3. Ride with the "pack" in mind and adjust accordingly to the size of that "pack".
4. Make clear signals to the "pack" of intentions and road conditions.

Responsiblities of the "riders" in the pack;

1. Know and follow the "rules" of the "pack" and obey the Road Captains directions.

Again, this should not be taken as the do all, see all, rules... These are just some highlights of what the responsibilities of a Road Captain are based on my experience...

Whether your ride side by side or staggered in a "pack", the basic "safety" rules are the same. The Road Captain "rides" for the "pack", he/she does not ride for themselves... Depending on the size of the "pack", the Road Captain must adjust his "time" considerations for ever member of that "pack" to safely manuaver in any given situation... In otherwords, if the "pack" is four bikes, the Road Captain must ensure that whatever action he/she takes, there is enough time and space for every member of that "pack" to complete the action... The time and space increases as the number of riders in the "pack" increases...

I use hand signals in conjuction with turn signals and brake lights to convey to the "pack" on what is happening ahead and what my intentions are... I go over these hand signals with every rider in the "pack" before we head out to our destination or ride...

Here are the hand signals I use and what they mean to the "pack";

1. Left arm up, closed fist, arm pumping up and down in conjuction with my turn signal on. This tells the "pack" that I am going to pass a vehicle. When I intitiate the pass, I stay in the left lane until such time a oncoming vehicle or blind curve is coming or until the last member in the "pack" completes the pass and has moved into the righthand lane... The "pack" knows that if they see me in the left lane, they have clear road ahead to make the pass. If they don't see me in the lefthand lane, that means there is oncoming traffic or a curve coming up and not to pass until it is safe to do so...

2. Left arm up with my index finger pointing up - Indicates to the pack to fall into single file formation... For example, road construction or some other object in the roadway requires bikes to be in one lane within that lane...

3. Left arm up with closed fist - Usually used when the "pack" is "in the city" to close up and not let gaps occur in the "pack" for cagers to force thier way in within the "pack"...

4. Left hand down and back with an up and down motion in conjuction with my brake lights flashing on and off - Indicates to the "pack" that their is a hazard or caution in the roadway ahead...

A good Road Captain rides for the "pack"... In otherwords, he/she takes no action if possible unless the entire "pack" can complete the same action safely... For example, when passing I will stay in the left lane until I see the last bike in the "pack" pass and get back into the right hand lane, then I move over to the righthand lane... With very large "packs" this can be difficult to see the last rider... That is why the Road Captain has to ride to the size of the "pack" and ensure that the "rules" are known especially for large "packs"... In some instances, with very large "packs", there are more than one Road Captain and "packs" are split up to manageble numbers for the Road Captain to control...

I hate it when Road Captains don't take the "pack" into consideration... For example, when your the Road Captain and you pass a vehicle, you must keep your speed up until the last rider in the "pack" has successfully made the pass... I hate it when some dumb ass in the lead passes, pulls over into the righthand lane then slows down to the speed limit... This is very dangerous!!! By slowing down, you do not give the room needed for the riders behind you to safely return to the righthand lane because the "pack" is now squeezing into a limited space... The Road Captain must maintain passing speed until all the riders in the "pack" has successfully passed, then and only then do you return to the speed limit...

I hate it when Road Captains when coming to a city or town and are looking for a "rest" stop, fuel stop, food stop, whatever stop and at the last minute turns in... That's just a cluster **** waiting to happen... The Road Captain has to ensure everyone behind them has plenty of notice that the "pack" is turning... It is better to miss the turn, let the pack know that a turn around is coming or go to the next frigg'en stop... I've seen too many riders get caught up in sudden turns and people go down and get injured... There is absolutely, no reason to make a panic turn to make that turn!!!!

If every rider in that "pack" know the destination, then it is understood that if you loose contact with the "pack" for whatever reason, there is no reason to panic... The "pack" will regroup at the destination or stop... If a bike breaks down, the "pack" will continue on with someone staying behind or someone being sent back to find out what's happened...

Again, this is just the highlights... My point here is, when you find yourself in a "pack" with a good Road Captain that has his/her shit together, remember to shake that persons hand for the job he/she did... It takes a lot of concentration, knowledge and experience to be a "good" Road Captain and when you find one, it makes the ride for you much more safer and enjoyable... Take care... T

ultrat
05-04-2011, 01:28 PM
GOOD STUFF... I could not be R/C,, Im way back somewhere ..... like at the tail end..

Glenalt
05-04-2011, 02:00 PM
Thanks T. I won't be RC because I like the ride too much but I appreciate one who is a good one. I bet you are one of the best.

Tbones
05-04-2011, 02:16 PM
LOL well I wouldn't go so far as say I'm one of the best but I will say that when I am a Road Captain, I take that responsibility serious... I can also say that no one has been injured or killed due to my actions as a Road Captain...

We all know chit happens and it is impossible to anticipate everything that can possibly happen but if the Road Captain can make the ride more enjoyable and safer by doing everything he/she can do with that in mind, then you lessen the odds that something bad will happen...

fisherman124
05-04-2011, 02:23 PM
i like the back , the leaders we have suck , they do more talkin riden than when we stop , they slow down to thirty to talk in a fiffty , when trucks are on your asses , last minute turns , thats always , or they do 90 and pull over to wait , best times are when theres just a few of us , once you get to many , every stop the throttle seems to roll on , then we have 3 different groups , the 90 , the ones that cant keep up , and the ones that aint that stupid lol , dont get me wrong i like to crack the throttle , but not in a tightly closed group ,

Tbones
05-04-2011, 02:30 PM
Based on what you've said, I wouldn't ride long with those leaders... They are riding for themselves and not for the "pack"... Always a dangerous proposition when your riding in numbers larger than four in my opinon... That's why I said when you ride with a "good" Road Captain, shake that persons hand and maybe buy him/her a dinner :)...

I prefer to ride in groups of four or less, I get the most enjoyment out of the ride with that number... Afterall, why do we ride? We ride for the freedom and the experience of the road around us, the scenery, the smells, the feel of the wind in your face etc., we aren't riding to be constantly stressed out or in fear... Again, these are just my opinions, I could be wrong :)... Take care... T

Roy
05-04-2011, 03:28 PM
I like being in the back to see whats going on, T seams like you have bin doing this for some time an real good at it, keep up the good work your fello riders are counting on some one like you to show them the way for a safe an enjoyable ride thums up people like you to keep us all a live.

Butch
05-04-2011, 04:01 PM
GOOD STUFF... I could not be R/C,, Im way back somewhere ..... like at the tail end.. I'm with you, in the back of the pack, look in your mirrow and you will find me back there somewhere.

Tbones
05-04-2011, 04:39 PM
I'm with you, in the back of the pack, look in your mirrow and you will find me back there somewhere.

I'm with you bro, I prefer the back myself... I can lay back when I want to and just take in the ride, I'm way more restful when the ride is over and a whole lot more relaxed... That's why for the most part, I'm a lone eagle... I like to ride when I want to ride, how I want to ride, where I want to ride without having to worry about or wait on others but then it's also a good time with a few bro's that know how to ride and you trust them as they trust you... It's all good :)...

fisherman124
05-04-2011, 10:34 PM
I steppred out tonight for a bit , said to a fellow rider what i read here , and he agreed , our leaders suck , to much time worried bout the next stop than bein safe for all ,iam into some distance between stops , not the # of stops you make , i can bar hop in town , AT 6 miles and hit 6 places , that aint a ride to me , 20 to 30 between places is a nice place to stop , J/m/o

Jaystronghawk
05-05-2011, 03:10 AM
Well as one that gets stuck leading too often can say this was a Great Post .. A Group Ride can be a Blast if done right .. While still say about 70% of my miles are done solo have enjoyed many miles riding with the right group .. No matter how well you lead some just don't get it ... :)

Found this an interesting read and while it's far from new the same old rules apply for a good safe group ride ...

http://micapeak.com/info/thepace.html

Mad Dog Jim
05-05-2011, 10:24 AM
Another advantage of not patching and always being a hangaround... ride in the rear! Unless the chase car is drunk...

One thing left out in the riding for others train of thought, speeding. You are forcing riders to either fall back or get a ticket with you. A good RC should do the limit! As well as maintain a constant speed and be able to hold a line. I know, sound fundimental, but I've seen some RCs that are not that great at riding. I guess that's because it's usually a popularity vote rather than a skill set that gets them there. I dig what PGR does. To be a RC you have to pass the advanced rider course.

Tbones
05-05-2011, 11:46 AM
Absolutely Jim, the RC has to be able to ride a constant speed otherwise the pack is acting like an accordian... Riding the speed limit is good too but, I usually run the pack at 5 mph over the speed limit, no particular reason for it, it's just what I do... That's out on the highways, in town, it's the speed limit...

Novices don't understand that there are "two" lanes within the lane you are traveling... The lanes are most commonly referred to as the line and the gutter... I always get twitched when I see riders running down the center of the lane... That's where all of the road grime, dirt, greese etc. collect from auto's and trucks... I just want to run up and slap em on the back of their helmet but that would just scare the shit out of them and they'd panic and take me out :)...

I didn't go over all of the riding skills one needs to have riding in a pack, mostly because I'm lazy and didn't want to bore everyone with a book :)... I just tried to hit the "high points" and figured others would fill in the gaps as you and others have :)...

One important "safety" tip that novices don't know or don't care is, being in shape for riding distances... Riding a motorcycle is a "sport" and you need to prepare yourself for distant riding... In otherwords, hopping on your bike after the winter and taking a 800 miler is ok if your young but, it's always good to work up to the ride... Get yourself in shape so your not fatiqued... A fatiqued rider in a pack is dangerous not only to themselves but to those around them...

Every ride in the pack is part of the whole and they need to act accordingly... They need to know the RC's "rules" of the road and signals... It is each riders responsibility to know those signals, what they mean, and duplicate those signals for the rider behind them...

Riding side by side takes skill and knowledge and above all "trust" in the rider next to you... Seasoned pack riders know when entering a blind corner, the "gutter" rider backs off and goes into a staggered formation... This allows for each rider in the pack to have the entire roadway to manuaver thru that corner... I can't tell you how many times there's been something in the middle of the road somewhere in the curve and you need to swerve around it... Once thru the corner, then the gutter rider resume's his/her place next to the line rider... Long sweeping curves that you can see the end of the curve can be taken side by side but riders need to know what they will do if something happens in the curve... Me, I just back off and go staggered so I can have the entire lane to use...

Riding in a pack can be enjoyable and a kick in the ass... There's nothing like riding in a pack of 50 to 100 motorcycles rumbling down the highway... It's just plain kewl :)... The largest pack I've RC'd for was 25 bikes and believe me, that's a stressful frigg'en job to be constantly riding for 24 other riders :)... Call me a "nerd" but I think folks who do a lot of riding in packs should have communications (radio's)... In the "MC" world, usually the RC and the Prez are in the front, followed by the other officers accordingly to their rank with the Sargent of Arms taking up the tail in the pack... There are also road guards assigned for in town riding... Radio's would help a great deal in my opinion... The RC, road guards and Sargent of Arms should all be in communications with each other... With today's technology, the mic's and radio gear are lightweight and small... Yeah I know, not the "biker" thing to do but it would make controlling the pack much easier...

Ok, well I've bloviated enough... Hopefully, some of this info will get out to "novices" as well as seasoned riders that haven't road in packs much... If you find yourself in a pack with a bad RC, the best place to be in that pack is the tailend :)... Take care... T

Jaystronghawk
05-05-2011, 12:35 PM
Only thing guess can add is have a good Sweep, Anchor, Tail Gunner, which ever you wish to call the Rear Rider can make the difference in a good successful Group Ride ..

flh8074
05-12-2011, 01:02 AM
:)... Call me a "nerd" but I think folks who do a lot of riding in packs should have communications (radio's)... :)... Take care... T

The wife and I started using intercoms last year. I won't go into the brand and all, unless someone wants me to, but I gotta tell ya, just between 2 bikes, it adds a dimension to riding that is both enjoyable and damned useful. The kind we have are open channel, meaning no keying up a mike....just talk like you're on the phone, over the top of each other if necessary (for when Bambi jumps out!).

Tbones
01-12-2012, 04:35 AM
=bump= for our new members...

Razor
01-12-2012, 12:40 PM
All I will say is that first of all I would trust you Brother "T " leading the pack anywhere. Your contribution here on this forum is a testament as to your leadership ability . There are many here on this site that I would hold in my heart the Honor of sharing the highway for as many miles it would take us. Without getting into it..this spring will be the beginning of a journey for me. I hope to be able to meet the face behind the keyboard of many of you.

flh8074
01-12-2012, 03:04 PM
Man, I suffer from CRS, bad. I read this whole thread without looking at the date. I clicked "new posts" like I do everyday, and remembered none of it from last May, and I even posted! T, you might not prefer to be the RC, but your getting yourself elected!!!
All I could add is, if, after trying to do all of the above, and it just isn't working, either in the front, middle, or rear, most of the time it's better to agree to meet at a predetermined location later, like the motel or campground. We have good friends that we just can't ride with, at least on a long road trip, for the exact reasons T. has cited, and there's only 4 of us! In our case the issue is speeding, along with pulling out into too small of a hole for everyone to go. It makes the non riding part of the (i.e. evenings) trip a lot more enjoyable if none of us are packing around big 'ol resentments about the days' ride.
Then there's my longtime local buds that fit together like ham and eggs. Nothing can replace the enjoyment of sharing the same riding style, and traveling with good friends.

JackDupp
01-12-2012, 04:26 PM
The following should not be taken as the "bible" all encompassing do all, see all rules of the road for a "good" Road Captain... I will try to list or highlight the "rules" of the road when riding in a pack and what the Road Captain is resposnible for... Not all Road Captains are alike and not all are what I would call a "good" Road Captain... Personally, I do not like to be a Road Captain, I can't enjoy the ride as much and I am phsyically and mentally exhausted at the end of the ride :)...


Had that job a few years for a hog group, but for some of the same reasons you
had, I gave it up, in fact, faded from view for good. Won't mention the group.....::smile:

http://i1085.photobucket.com/albums/j434/duppjack/NF-630x488.jpg

Tbones
01-12-2012, 07:57 PM
Man, I suffer from CRS, bad. I read this whole thread without looking at the date. I clicked "new posts" like I do everyday, and remembered none of it from last May, and I even posted! T, you might not prefer to be the RC, but your getting yourself elected!!!
All I could add is, if, after trying to do all of the above, and it just isn't working, either in the front, middle, or rear, most of the time it's better to agree to meet at a predetermined location later, like the motel or campground. We have good friends that we just can't ride with, at least on a long road trip, for the exact reasons T. has cited, and there's only 4 of us! In our case the issue is speeding, along with pulling out into too small of a hole for everyone to go. It makes the non riding part of the (i.e. evenings) trip a lot more enjoyable if none of us are packing around big 'ol resentments about the days' ride.
Then there's my longtime local buds that fit together like ham and eggs. Nothing can replace the enjoyment of sharing the same riding style, and traveling with good friends.
LOL sorry bout that bro, when you bump a thread it can fool folks :)... I just thought it would be easier to bump this thread for the new members and guests instead of writing it again :)... I'm just lazy :)

Tbones
01-12-2012, 08:03 PM
All I will say is that first of all I would trust you Brother "T " leading the pack anywhere. Your contribution here on this forum is a testament as to your leadership ability . There are many here on this site that I would hold in my heart the Honor of sharing the highway for as many miles it would take us. Without getting into it..this spring will be the beginning of a journey for me. I hope to be able to meet the face behind the keyboard of many of you.
No leader here bro :)... I hate being a RC, I am mentally and physically drained at the end of the day... I much prefer to just ride at the rear of the pack and just enjoy/relax :)... I find a pack with 4 to 8 "seasoned" riders is just bout right but as much as the pack has to trust me, I have to trust those behind me that they are paying attention to what I'm doing :)... We'll see how good a RC I am this summer when the Washington State members get together for our first annual run :)... Clint said he'd take over as RC during the ride so that's kewl, I'll be able to relax some of the run :)... I'm not too concerned about it, all the members on this run are seasoned riders so I know it's gunna be a kick ass time... If you're planning on heading West during the summer, let me know and I'll meet you half ways... Other than the run at the end of June, my schedule is wide open :)...

Razor
01-12-2012, 10:22 PM
That would be awesome " T ". I am not to sure how far west I will go as right now Arizona is the destination out west . I have family there and also in Dove Creek Colorado . But it would be great to make something happen if at all possible . I have a friend in southern Cali that I would like to see so you just never know .

Mad Dog Jim
01-12-2012, 10:25 PM
I hate being in the middle. RC or Sweeper is my bag

Tbones
01-13-2012, 07:01 AM
That would be awesome " T ". I am not to sure how far west I will go as right now Arizona is the destination out west . I have family there and also in Dove Creek Colorado . But it would be great to make something happen if at all possible . I have a friend in southern Cali that I would like to see so you just never know .

When are you planning on being in Arizona and Colorado? I haven't been to Colorado in years, might be a good putt :)...

Tbones
01-13-2012, 07:04 AM
I hate being in the middle. RC or Sweeper is my bag
Kewl, you can take one of the legs of the run as a RC... That gives us three which will make the run nice... We can rotate out after each days run which means I can get two days of riding in the back :)... Wolf will ride with me, we don't want him as an RC :)... He can do it but he hates it so I'm usually the one taking the lead and keeping us on track as to where we are and where we're going :)... If anyone else wants to volunteer and be an RC, the more the merrier is my motto :)

Razor
01-13-2012, 01:29 PM
This spring God willing I am going to head out that way . I am thinking April .

santajim
01-13-2012, 09:56 PM
Good thread T. I have been a Road Captain for 2 HOG Chapters and like you I take the responsibility for others ride and life very seriously. Good Read. Favorite position is sweep I can see what is going on all the way to the front and it is an awesome place to take pictures from(mama takes pics )