Kawasaki Ninja ZX Forum banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
729 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Today, during the transition from the main freeway (210 E) to the 2 N (Angeles Crest Highway -- 60 miles of moderate twisties), I had to slow down for a red light to make a left turn onto the beginning of the Angeles Crest Highway. There is a gas station at the bottom of the hill where the bikers fill their tanks. I watched four of them start out on their journey, and I thought to myself . . . "What bad timing . . . I hate red lights . . . I want to catch up and ride with that group". But, when I finally got a green light and turned onto the A.C.H., I immediately got another red light. By the time my second light turned green, the pack was almost out of sight. I made a few warm-up turns on the A.C.H., and then I came upon a white S.U.V. (labeled Forestry service) stopped in the middle of the road with significant damage to the front grill . . . Yes, that is where this story is going . . . One of the riders lost traction around the corner and he and his bike both slid into the path of the oncoming S.U.V. I asked the Forestry service lady if she had a radio, and she showed me the mic and indicated that a call had already been made. I thought about going back to get the CHP officer who was citing a Mercedes Benz a couple of turns back, but I figured help was already on the way. It was probably about 20 minutes before the first medical responders arrived, and the only thing constructive I could do was keep telling his friends not to move him because there might be a spinal injury and he needs to be immobilized. . . . The friends just wanted to ease the discomfort of their fallen comrade, who was conscious and asking for help. The injured man heard me and seemed to fully understand my explanation about how the injury could be exacerbated -- which now just makes me feel terrible, because all I should have said (within his earshot) is don't worry, you'll be fine. It never occurred to me that he was dieing, until the paramedics started C.P.R. chest compressions and his friend screamed out the name of the fallen.

Sorry for being a little graphic, but I needed to share what happened tonight because it was very traumatic -- this post is a therapy of sorts, but it also made me think:

"Doesn't the leader of the pack have some responsibility to slow down because his flock is trying to keep up and emulate him?"
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,204 Posts
Group rides don't have a lot of rules, especially when there are different skill levels and everyone wants to ride their own ride. The main thing is for the fastest guy to wait at a change in route for the others to catch up until everyone's there and clear on the route to be taken. When someone (one or more) doesn't show up within a reasonable time, the guy at the front should turn around and look. Nothing wrong with the whole group going back if they think there could be a problem. If someone obviously runs out of fuel, it's best to keep going until you can find some to take back. I don't believe in the concept of a 'sweeper', a rider who rides at the rear like a babysitter, instead of riding his own ride, too. That just makes the slowest person nervous with someone obviously faster impatiently riding his tail.

Everyone should know what to do when someone goes down; Never move the person or remove their helmet until emergency personnel arrive and do it. Step 1 is to either call 911 or designate someone to go get help. Help direct traffic around the accident scene. Comfort and reassure the injured person. Attempt to stop any profuse bleeding. A human can bleed out in less than a minute and there's not time to wait for EMTs to arrive if bleeding is severe. Assist the emergency folks and provide any useful information. When everything has settled, notify relatives of the injured. It's no fun, but it's best to keep emotions in check and keep a cool head for clear thinking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
Hammer, i agree with everything you said except the sweeper part.

On our rides, the sweeper is a very experienced rider who knows the route well. Our regular guy is in his forties. He happens to ride a 14. He hangs back almost out of sight of the ride. He rides his own ride. He can ride the corners as fast as he wants. He never tailgates the slowest rider. He may not even catch up with the group at stop signs.

The fast paced rides don't usually have a sweeper. These rides tend to be a smaller group of up to eight riders. These rides are sometimes called "no limits" rides. I've only been on one. This ride was mandatory with the MC I was with at the time. No limits means no rules. No waiting at stop signs. Fast in the corners and fast in the straights. These rides often turn into a race. Very dangerous to be sure. A rider was killed on one of these a few years back. He was trying to keep up and ran off in a corner and hit a tree.

It was a long time before the leader of that ride led another ride at any pace. The kid's death really messed up the leader's head. A good sweeper is hard to find. Sportbikers have a very competitive spirit. I was in the back of the back on many of my early rides. I gradually gained experience and moved up to the front 3. My bud calls me his "wingman".

The mod paced rides are the most posted rides around this area. Slower in the straights with maybe a "burst of speed" here and there. Also "Fun" in the corners is characteristic. Stunting during the ride is frowned upon. No passing in the corners. No gear and no riding with us. This really isn't a problem. Newbie riders without gear won't be able to keep up anyway on these mod rides.

It's safer in the front than it is in the middle. The idea here is to ride your own ride. You will find your spot in the pack just naturally. I love group rides, especially the slow rides. These rides bring out lots of riders on all different classses of bikes. We take breaks, hang out and talk, and eventually end up at a great lunch spot.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,388 Posts
I typically am the leader with a lot of the group rides I do around here. Typically my rules are always keep the person behind you within sight unless we get into a specific twisty area, and since most of us are usually on different style bikes we spread out a little bit but then I end up slowing at the end until the group is back together.

As for the sweeper, I'll usually bring one or two of my good friends with me on the route ahead of time who I trust to be a good sweeper. That way whomever is in the rear knows the route relatively well.

As for the medical stuff, I'm not well trained in any medical situations but damn this almost makes me wanna go take an EMT basics class or something :angry
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
I typically am the leader with a lot of the group rides I do around here. Typically my rules are always keep the person behind you within sight unless we get into a specific twisty area, and since most of us are usually on different style bikes we spread out a little bit but then I end up slowing at the end until the group is back together.

As for the sweeper, I'll usually bring one or two of my good friends with me on the route ahead of time who I trust to be a good sweeper. That way whomever is in the rear knows the route relatively well.

As for the medical stuff, I'm not well trained in any medical situations but damn this almost makes me wanna go take an EMT basics class or something :angry
How many riders participate in the rides you lead on average?
What pace do like to promote in your rides?
Leading a ride carries a lot of responsibility. Congrats to you.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,388 Posts
How many riders participate in the rides you lead on average?
What pace do like to promote in your rides?
Leading a ride carries a lot of responsibility. Congrats to you.
Thank you. So far the biggest group I've had was 8-10. The one that was supposed to be last weekend was carrying upwards of 15 I believe but due to weather we had to postpone.

I always tell everyone to not push yourself too hard. We're all out here to enjoy the roads and get home safely. As I said earlier, there are some areas where a few of us will speed up some because we know the road very well as the front three to four riders in the group, but since it's a straight road with only one end, we'll stop up a little farther at a pull off and wait for everyone to reconvene. I typically stick the newer riders behind the Harley in our group so that they can't get going too fast to injure themselves/others.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
I've been on hundreds of group rides. I've led less than a handful.
unfortunately, the majority of these rides involves a get-off from a newer rider. Seems like a rider I happen to be following goes down or runs off just too often.

I was following a pretty good rider on a Busa way out there in the sticks. We were around a hundred or so. An oncoming pickup stopped and then turned right in front of the Busa. We still believe this was on purpose.

I was back about 200 feet. I saw T-bone fishtail. There was a cloud of smoke and then I saw her bike slam into the truck and fly up into the air. I braked hard and came to a stop with busa parts and plastics surrounding my bike.

I pulled off to the side and jumped off my bike to help. T-bone was conscious, but obviously injured. I ran over to her bike and switched off the ignition. There was gas leaking out of the tank. It took awhile for the ambulance to arrive.

A state trooper came by to see if he could help. Turned out he was a rider. I think the pick-up driver was eventually arrested. He could have easily killed T-bone.

Point is to be always alert and always be scanning what's going on. The faster the speed, the farther the following distance. just common sense really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,009 Posts
Sad, my first crash was around a bend, that turned into a loop I didn't see the sign that said "hey asshole slow to 15mph" so I went in fully commkted on a shadow aero 750 at 70 mph...I managed to slow down and was taking it but got too close to the edge and the front wheel was pulled from under me by the gravel. The 2 guys with me that day were behind and not even 5 minutes before had lead led the trip for about 6 hours already and they where tired and going slow and I was not having as much fun behind them so the said hey why don't you lead...well that was a big mistake they had been my buffer all day, and when I lost that it was like when you let loose a caged dog my brain is not normal and I don't get scared (well other than bugs, snakes and high places) even when Im thinking I should slow down my hand just keeps twisting, my wife says I'm like the pig from the insurance commercial even if I know I'fucked I'm still going 'WEEEEEE!!!!" lol, I kinda learned to control myself and had done good one the ninja went 3 years without any incidents, anyways what Im trying to get at is the job of a lead is to not get lost, after that everyone makes their own decisions, and it's their job to ride within they limits and not try to keep up, who cares if you are the slowest as long as the pig in you goes weee!!!! then fuck it you'll catch up eventually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
Nal,
I don't think think your situation is uncommon.
i was on a large ride with maybe 30 riders. The leader was kind of new at leading a ride. He was on an R-1. He target fixated on a green dumpster that was very close to the edge of the 2 lane country road. This dumpster was located right at the end of a 45 MPH corner going left.

Evidently he hit it pretty hard. We all stopped for about an hour. The leader could not get up and walk. His breathing was labored. No one touched him. There wasn't a doctor with us on this ride. The leader took the ambulance ride. I met some new friends during our break. I guess the leader healed up eventually, but I never saw him again.

Another regular leader in the group took over the ride. We proceeded to go back to the start spot. I felt bad for the injured rider, but I chalked it up to experience.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,204 Posts
Any ride with more than 7 bikes is a clusterfuck.
The only time I come close to a 'slow' ride is when friends' wives who ride are along. And they still end up at the back of the pack. If their husbands want to putt along with them, that's their deal.
And 30 bikes? Never.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
Any ride with more than 7 bikes is a clusterfuck.
The only time I come close to a 'slow' ride is when friends' wives who ride are along. And they still end up at the back of the pack. If their husbands want to putt along with them, that's their deal.
And 30 bikes? Never.
A slow ride around here is sport touring pace. Do you ever sport tour Hammer?

The largest ride I attended was 45 bikes. It was decided at the pre-ride meeting to split it up into 3 groups of 15 riders each. I picked the mod- paced group. I should have picked the fast group, but I still had fun.

The gas stops were definitely exciting. 45 bikes pulling in to fill up at one of those gas station dives was a clusterf... to be sure. I enjoyed the ride and made a few new friends.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,204 Posts
The last ride gathering I went to (1st week of May) we had so many attendees we had to stay in two different motels. Some guys who weren't in the group ended up riding and partying with us. But ride-wise, we split into groups of 4 to 7 and everyone went where they wanted to go. The only time there were more than 7 bikes going somewhere, it was to dinner in town. Some people split off in the middle of rides and went their own way home.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,204 Posts
Sport-touring is what I do when I travel somewhere to ride. Loaded with luggage, I can't quite go 10/10ths, but I still have fun. Going back and forth to Arkansas two weeks ago, I did over 800 miles on twisty backroads by myself. When I got there my friends and I rode the twisties as hard as we wanted to with nothing extra hanging on the bikes. Even going to New Mexico a couple of years ago, we blasted on the way and rode even harder doing 3-400 mile loops daily for a week. Putting is for cruisers and golfers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
The last ride gathering I went to (1st week of May) we had so many attendees we had to stay in two different motels. Some guys who weren't in the group ended up riding and partying with us. But ride-wise, we split into groups of 4 to 7 and everyone went where they wanted to go. The only time there were more than 7 bikes going somewhere, it was to dinner in town. Some people split off in the middle of rides and went their own way home.
Seems like you ride with adults.
I ride with weekend warriors. Rides are usually 150 miles, but sometimes up to 300. I'm exhausted after a Sunday northrun or south ride. I usually take a nap for an hour or two after I get home. Guess I'm a liteweight. The word motel only comes up when there's a track day coming up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
888 Posts
sweepers! never heard of it but interesting. must be some east coast thing.
also never been in a situation to ever need someone to sweep ahead.
I get the concept, but how will the following rider know anyways if there's a hazard unless you use a two way radio com.

my friends usually like being split up in groups.
faster group usually rides ahead just so they can have their fun, and a slower group being lead by a more experienced rider is up in front and we usually advise a slower and route inexperienced rider to try to keep pace and follow the lines but at the same time try not to fixate on the rider in front of them. If someone is too slow, they just ride their own pace until he or she catches up at the next break spot then make fun of them after. But we never "race" on public streets unless rider in front gives the ok for a pass. - only speeding through corners :)

i have a pretty cool group who chip's in some cash to help newer riders get to the track and gain some confidence for the next ride. or we discuss why someone is having a hard time keep up, and everyone usually tries to help out.


At the same time, i been on Random group rides with people i dont know which is every man for himself out there in a way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,382 Posts
I very rarely hook up with a group I know nothing about. I will keep an extreme distance from the rider in front of me.
Sweepers are only in the rear, not in front.

Occassionally there is a "scout" that rides ahead.
This is only for photoshoots or similar stuff.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
729 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I personally don't believe the majority of the riders in a group "ride their own ride" -- I think it is human nature to try and keep up with the pack, which creates a situation where people will naturally push their own limits, and/or focus too much on the person(s) out in front, instead of what needs to be focused on.

At this time, I have concluded that my skills are clearly insufficient to group ride with anyone. Yesterday, after the rider-down ordeal, I got to the half-way marker where there is a restaurant in the middle of the mountain forest highway (Newcomb's Ranch), and some very nice men and a lady invited me to ride down with them (back to civilization). I saw they all had sport-touring bikes, so I figured it would be a laid-back ride (nice and slow). Well, I was wrong . . . the sweeper remained behind me, which of course made me feel pressured, and the few riders out in front (about 3 or 4) were negotiating the corners faster than I had ever done in my life . . . And the little lady in the pack was keeping up with the men just fine. After a few turns (about 1.5 miles), I continued to think about that rider who just passed away, and I pulled over and waved goodbye to the sweeper. I turned around and went home the long way by heading the other direction -- nice and slow. I believe the 14R, for me, will mean comfort riding at freeway speeds at a low RPM, and the 600 pounds will help me reduce getting blown around too much (except by fairly strong wind gusts). It will be many years before I have the skill level of that sport-touring group.
 

·
sénior BBQ Master
Joined
·
22,270 Posts
"Doesn't the leader of the pack have some responsibility to slow down because his flock is trying to keep up and emulate him?"
this is a multi faceted question. Short answer no. Once you roll out of the garage no one is watching out for your butt, but you. I ride with guys that take a particular strech of road faster than I am comfortable and I am fine watching them disappear. The safest thing to do is make sure everyone knows where he next stop/ turn is and everyone get there at their own pace. Long answer no, I know as a young impressionable person learning how to do certain extreme sports I was influenced to push myself by riding with those better than me. I watched many including myself break bones while pushing the limits, but those were conscious decisions we all made. I lived and excelled at that sport. Moto is no different. So back to the short answer if you are not comfortable with those you ride with, don't ride with them.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top