Every biker enjoys a long solo ride, but group rides are the perfect opportunity to explore new routes and meet other riders. Many Harley-Davidson® riders join H.O.G.® (Harley Owners Group) to experience the sense of community and trust fostered by group rides and events. Group rides require members to trust and rely on one another to keep every rider safe. Here’s what new H.O.G.® members should know before their first group ride.
Attend the Riders’ Meeting
Coordinating a group ride takes a lot of planning and strategizing. New and experienced riders can expect to learn all the details at a riders’ meeting prior to the ride. A riding order will be established, and the group will discuss ride time, stopping points, formation, hand signals, etc. New riders should inform the group leader of their experience level; the entire group’s safety is at risk when a rider gets in over his head. This information also helps the leader determine where to position the new rider in the lineup.
No one likes an inconsiderate rider who holds up the group due to lack of preparation. Don’t be that guy! Every rider should show up on time, dressed appropriately for the weather, with a helmet and full tank of gas. The group will decide in advance who is responsible for bringing bike tools, a first-aid kit, and other necessities. Come prepared to avoid letting the group down.
Respect the Formation
Formation is key to safety in group rides. Riders who aren’t sure where to ride should ask for clarification from the group leader to avoid putting fellow H.O.G.®s at risk. Most of the time, the formation will be staggered, with riders alternating on the left and right side of the lane, with about a second's following distance between one another. It’s important to maintain this precise formation to provide enough swerving and maneuvering space while keeping the group close together. First-timers should also know the proper passing formation. Riders should pass one at a time before returning to their spot in the formation.
Join the Community
Above all, remember that as a H.O.G.®—or with any group ride—you’re part of a community of riders who look out for one another. There’s no room for competition or aggressive driving. Following group ride guidelines and being considerate to other riders will help them build trust in you as you join the community. If you’re interested in becoming a H.O.G.® or finding group rides, visit the Town & Country Sports Center showroom or call us today at 517.236.7203.