There are two activities that are pretty much peak experiences when it comes to riding a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. One is riding alone on the Dallas back streets, feeling the independence and raw power of your machine and soaking up scenery. The other is riding with a group, sharing the journey with others who feel the same way you do.
We have events almost weekly that bring riders from McKinney, Plano, Frisco and all DFW together. Riders from all skill levels and walks of life start at our Allen, Texas dealership and hit the road as a group. We hope you'll join us at our next event. If you do, following these tips will keep everyone safe.
PLAN BEFORE YOU GO
Know your destination, where you’ll stop, what you’ll do if you get separated and how you’ll communicate if there’s a problem. Share cell numbers and pre-plan where to meet up if someone gets separated, so that person isn’t riding aggressively to catch up.
You’ll be amazed how what seems self-explanatory to begin turns into a ton of questions once helmets are on and engines are roaring. Talk about what you’ll do if you have mechanical or medical issues. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page.
Even if you’ve ridden the route so many times you could do it in your sleep, others in the group might be new. During group planning time, ask for questions and wait. Don’t start the engines until you’re sure the whole group is ready to roll.
Fill up your tank. If it’s hot, wear a hydration vest and drink plenty of fluids before your ride. If it’s cold, don’t underestimate how cold your fingers and knees are going to get. Make sure someone in your group has basic first aid supplies and tools.
DESIGNATE A LEAD RIDER
Choose an experienced rider who is familiar with the route to ride at the front of the group. They’ll set the pace, watch for hazards and use hand signals to let other riders know what’s coming up. Choose a tail rider as well to stay at the very back and monitor others in the group. If anyone in between has problems or is riding dangerously, they can help.
RIDE IN FORMATION
This might be the most important rule for staying safe when you ride in a group. Ride staggered, so if the lead rider is on the left side of the lane near the center stripe, the second rider should follow on the right side of the lane with at least a one second gap in between. The third rider follows two seconds behind the lead rider, in the left part of the lane and so on. The whole formation makes a zig-zag pattern.
KNOW AND USE HAND SIGNALS
The lead rider will communicate with the group using hand signals. Check out this video if you want a refresher course on the basics. See also -- 6 Safety Tips for Motorcycle Riders.
What about you? What have you learned about staying safe while riding with a group? What advice would you offer someone experiencing it for the first time?
Harley-Davidson® of Dallas is your one-stop shop when you want to buy a new Harley-Davidson®, see used motorcycles for sale, buy motorclothes® merchandise or join one of our Dallas motorcycle events. Stop by our Allen Texas location to find out more.