The committee have received enquiries about the format and rules on group ride outs and this would be a good opportunity to publish some guidance. The IAM provide a guidance document as attached at the bottom of the page, which should be read in line with this group guidance.
The ride outs occur every month, usually on the third Sunday, additional weekday ride outs are usually held on the first Wednesday. All ride outs are published on the website in advance with route descriptions, meeting times and names of the ride leaders and TEC (tail end Charlie). These posts will be published around a week before the ride and subject to the final recce ride conducted by the ride leader and TEC.
The rides are scheduled in advance by our ride out coordinator, Barry Ring, planned by our ride leaders and published on our Website Calendar. The ride leaders are all current and full IAM members who volunteer to lead rides and plan the routes.
Each ride out is usually between 120 and 170 miles with planned breakfast, lunch and fuel stop breaks. Prior to the ride out the ride leader and TEC with carry out a recce ride no later than a week before the ride to establish any issues such as road closures and other hazards which may be encountered. This will then form part of the notification post and pre-ride briefing.
On the day of the ride the ride leader will provide a briefing on the ride prior to departure. This will be a description of the route, any scheduled stops and any potential hazards such as difficult junctions or potentially hazardous roads (sheep, cyclists etc.). One important part of this briefing will be an explanation of the drop off system and that the ride leaders will be riding to an Advanced standard and within the rules of the road, both legal, safe and within speed limits. It should be noted that the same is expected of all members on the ride and that all members should ride for themselves and within their own limits making their own judgments.
The Drop Off System.
The drop off system exists to enable a smooth and progressive ride without interruptions or breaks and to allow the whole group to follow the route without getting lost.
The ride leader and TEC will have advanced knowledge of the route and junctions. The ride leader will take up position at the front of the ride and the TEC at the rear. As the group ride sets off the members will set off in turn behind the ride leader. As the ride leader approaches a junction he will indicate that he wants the rider immediately behind him to stop and mark that junction.
The ride leader may elect not to mark certain junctions, these will be ones where the route is obvious and stays on the same road. Typical examples are straight on at roundabouts. This will be explained at the briefing. In certain circumstances it be unsafe or difficult to mark a junction and the ride leader will identify any such junctions during the briefing and explain how these should be negotiated. One example is when riding to the lakes and crossing the M6 flyover where the exit joins a left hand motorway filter and there is no safe place to stop.
The junction marker must find a safe and legal place to stop so that they can direct the remainder of the bikes passing through. As soon as they see the TEC rider (identified during briefing) they can re-join the ride. The junction marker should be ready to move off when it is safe to do so. The TEC may provide a signal in advance and if it safe to set of the marker can do so, even if riders are still to come through. This is on the basis that if the TEC has seen the junction then all the riders in front will have seen the junction.
The junction marker must not set off until released by the TEC, even if they have to wait a long time. If there has been an issue on the ride then someone will come back along the route to notify them.
The only time the ride leader will stop is if there is no rider behind to mark the next junction and they will only stop to allow the next rider behind to catch up so the next junction can be marked.
- What happens if I get lost?
During the briefing the location of any break stop will be given and you should make your way to the next location. Leader and TEC contact details are published on the ride notification. You should make note of these and message the ride leader/TEC where you are heading.
- I am marking a junction, what happens if no one comes past for a long time?
You should continue to mark the junction; large gaps can develop and are not unusual. If you do abandon your post then potentially the whole ride may collapse. If there has been an incident causing a delay then the ride leader will back track to pick up any stranded junction markers. Feel free to send a message or call the ride leader to check for issues.
- Can I overtake?
Yes, we are advanced riders and overtakes can be carried out if safe to do so. This includes other riders on the ride-out. Everyone has a different pace and may want a more relaxed ride, however if you choose to ride at a steadier pace then please be aware of other road users, members of the ride or other bike groups/riders coming from behind and give them room to come past if safe to do so.
- Do I have to maintain the same pace as all other riders?
No, you should ride at your own pace and within your abilities and safely taking the road conditions into appreciation. This is the whole point of the drop of system, that it allows riders of different abilities to enjoy the ride without feeling under pressure.
- Is the ride considered as training?
Whilst the ride is not a training ride all members are still expected to ride within HAB and IAM standards. Observers may be on the ride and members should feel free to talk to them about riding standards and any issues encountered during the ride. Similarly, if an Observer sees any dangerous or poor riding standards then they may choose to discuss this with the member. This will be done constructively and discretely and all members should be open to receiving any advice in a constructive way.
- What happens if I am in, or witness and Accident.
We should stop and give assistance if safe to do so. The TEC will eventually catch up with the group and will then assess the situation. If you are a witness it may be feasible, and with agreement that you come out of the ride and the ride then continues without you.
- Can I leave the ride and go home?
Yes, you can pull over at a safe and legal position until joined by the TEC to discuss or at a break stop with the ride leader or TEC if you wish to do so.
- Can non-members join the ride?
No, we only allow full members and associates on the ride.group-organised-rides-manual-v2-1-may-21-as