Here are a few reminders as we get into the main riding season. Most were gathered from a couple of threads last year.
The Bike: Make sure your bike is up to snuff maintenance wise. Check tire pressures often as well as tire wear (I don't think anybody has tires that dry rot before wearing out, we'll kick you out of the club if you do ). Check your bikes vital fluids, chain lubrication, stop & turn signal lights... the basic maintenance stuff.
The Rider: If you haven't ridden much over the winter, make sure you hydrate a few days before you go out riding on a warm day and keep doing that throughout the summer. This is especially important as we get into July & August. Your muscles will need to get "back in riding shape" too so don't hop on your bike and ride 350 miles the first time out.
Your Pace: Also remember to slowly work your pace back up. I know if I don't ride for a few weeks it takes a bit to get back to my riding pace (yeah, I know I'm getting old).
Safety: Let's keep in mind some of the safety guidelines we've had in place for a long time. None of these are new. Please think about them to make sure we're doing everything we can to make the ride a successful one. The only thing worse than spending your ride day at the side of the road waiting on EMS and a truck/trailer to take back a broken bike is to be the one who’s going to ride in the EMS to the hospital. Remember two words: CRASHING SUCKS.
1. Find out his/her riding experience and whether they've been out where the ride is going.
2. Go over where the ride is headed and that the group will stop for everyone to re-group at road changes. Also mention any planned stops such as gas and food.
3. Go over the riding style you'll be riding and how the group will separate a little as people ride their own pace. If a wide range of riding styles is present, consider separating into clearly defined groups. The point of the ride is for everyone to enjoy themselves.
4. Make sure the new riders understand that they need to evaluate their own riding skills and ride at a level well within their limits. While we'll help them improve their skills wherever we can, we're not instructors or mentors. They are ultimately responsible for their own riding, not the ride leader or any other rider.
5. A good rider is a safe rider, not a fast one. Being a faster/slower rider doesn't mean anything other than what it is. Some people ride quicker than others. It has nothing to do with their ability to fit into the group and there are no trophies at the end of the day. If you end up being the “designated sweeper” all the time, it’s much better than being the “designated crasher” because you always ride over your head.
6. If a ride is planned as being at a certain pace, don't expect it to be otherwise. I.e. if a two-up pace is planned, the pace will be kept down to a moderate level or less. If a spirited pace is planned, the pace will be kicked up a bit. If it is planned to be a spirited one, make sure new riders understand that and emphasis that they need to “ride their own ride”.
7. Slow down in the straights to re-group everyone. If you're been working through traffic or nice curves, slowing down to the speed limit will not be sufficient for others in the rear to catch up if there are a lot of riders.
8. Check your mirrors for the person behind you. Remember though, this is not a safe practice for you to do in the twisties. Your focus needs to be on the road ahead. Use the straights to get the rider behind you in your mirrors again.
9. It's okay to leave your ego at home & prove to everyone that you don't mind NOT being the fastest guy in the Club....
10.Resist the temptation to pass just to be ahead of someone, when you have no intention or ability to ride faster than the one you just passed.
10a. Don't pass someone and then park it the next corner.
11. (more of a personal preference): In a group, I want to be behind someone wanting to go as fast or faster than I do and ahead of someone wanting to go as fast or a little slower than I. I'll wave someone on to pass me if I'm not keeping up with the rider in front of me and the person behind me is right behind me. If they want to pass and go on, they have a safer way to do it. I don't want to slow anyone up or if I'm in a mood to go fast (relative term), be slowed up. That's if a ride is planned to be a brisk pace that is.
12. If someone gets pressured into riding faster than they feel comfortable with, please notify the ride leader and also one of your chapter's officers. While we are a sport bike club and enjoy a nice spirited ride, no one should feel pressured to ride out of their personal comfort zone or unsafely. The possible consequences are far too great.
While we can’t eliminate all accidents, we can help to decrease the odds of a wreck by going over the safety guidelines the TSBA has adopted over the years. If we do the things listed above (and they’re really not all that complex, mostly common sense stuff), we’ve done everything within our control to help prevent someone else from crashing. The rest is up to them. However, we do need to make sure that we’re communicating before the ride.