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Group Riding Etiquette

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' at netrider.net.au started by 2wheelsagain, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. A question was recently posed along the lines of what does a TEC need to do?

    I could go a couple of steps further and ask what makes a good leader?

    How should participants prepare for a group ride?

    What's expected of participants on a tour and do expectations change if its a twisties run?

    Throw some ideas up and if its warranted maybe we could sticky the thread :)

    [Stickied 27/6/08]
  2. - No overtaking the leader unless explicitly checked with leader
    - Keep safe distances
    - No overtaking in corners
    - Respect the riding abilities of others; if you know you are fast, make sure you start off at the front of the group, if you are slow start at the back of the queque --> so when you're leaving the meet area, wait until most others have left if you know you're slow as otherwise you'll be passed. This ensures everyone is happy as there is minimum overtaking necessary and people have a better time when not stuck behind someone / feeling pressured to go faster.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. - If you are instructed to corner-mark by the leader, you must pull over and mark the corner, without question or hestitation.
    - When cornermarking, you must not leave your post until the TEC 'sweeps' you up.
  4. Full tank. Empty bladder ... Before the ride starts/restarts.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. IMHO:


    - Respect and understanding for the capabilities of the group.
    - Riding at a pace and stopping to regroup enough so the ride does not spread out too much.
    - Clear direction at the pre ride briefing on the style of the ride and any local quirks.
    - Watching for the TEC's signals at regrouping points in case the TEC wants the group to hold temporarily.
    - Clear signaling of Corner marker positions.


    - Watch and work to maintain the cohesiveness of the group.
    - Assist those having problems with Pace and cornering and if necessary discuss with the Leader.
    - Signal Corner markers on your approach to rejoin the group.
    - Assist the group to change lanes in a multi lane situation by moving to the new lane as the Leader does.
    - Round up any strays that make a wrong turn.
    - Communicate to the leader if the pace needs to be changed.
    • Informative Informative x 2
  6. Whats a TEC? and Whats a corner marker?
  7. #7 stewy, Jun 25, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2015
  8. Cornermarking and You

    Generally speaking, there are three types of people on a ride:

    * Ride leader (at the front, leading the group)
    * Potential corner-markers (in the middle)
    * TEC ('Tail-end Charlie', aka, 'the sweep', at the back of the group)

    On group rides with more than 4-5 people it's difficult to coordinate and navigate, particularly in areas with a lot of turns or when the riders of the group have different riding speeds - They get seperated easily, maybe even lost.

    So we use 'corner marking'.

    Basically, corner marking is where the Ride Leader will use the riders of the group to form a 'trail of breadcrumbs' for the rest of the group to follow.

    As the Ride Leader approaches a turn that the group has to make, he/she will point at the corner where they want a corner marker to pull over and, well, mark the corner.

    The rider immediately behind the Ride Leader must safely pull over and stop near where the Ride Leader pointed. This person is now 'corner marking', and they should have their appropriate indicator on to show which way the approaching bikes have to turn. Often the corner marker will also point, etc for oncoming riders.

    At more complicated intersections the Ride Leader might place one corner-marker at the start of the intersection, and one corner marker on the road leaving the intersection, like a trail of breadcrumbs for people to follow.

    The corner-marker must not leave their position until the TEC sweeps them up - usually by waving, flashing their headlights, beeping their horn. They must then immediately rejoin the group, riding ahead of the TEC. It's important that they don't get confused by other riders in the group waving or nodding, too. (That's why we usually dress the TEC in a bright vest or similar)

    The TEC is always the last rider; nobody rides behind them.

    I can't stress enough how important these bits are:
    * If the Ride Leader points for a corner to be marked, and you're the rider behind the Ride Leader, you must mark that corner. Even if you're Valentino fcuking Rossi.
    * You do not leave your mark until the TEC tells you to. Even if you have to wait half an hour. Or an hour. There may have been a rider-down event that's delaying the rest of the riders behind you - If you leave early because of impatience, not only will someone be hurt and have a damaged bike, but half the group will be totally and utterly lost, confused and pissed off.

    If you fail to corner mark, if you leave your post early, the group will get lost and it'll be your fault that the ride was ruined. If you don't want to corner mark, make sure you're always at least 4-5 riders behind the Ride Leader.

    On the upside - when cornermarking is done right, it can successfully and smoothly navigate groups of over 50 bikes easily through complex routes, everyone riding at their own pace, and nobody gets lost.
    • Informative Informative x 2
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. [quote="phizog]- No overtaking in corners[/quote]
    Oops, I have done this to cruiser riders on honda rides.
    In my defence:
    -They werent learners
    -I passed on the right
    -No oncoming traffic
    -They were in the left of their lane.
    -Only done on big open sweepers
  10. What if your ride doesn't require this level of organisation?
  11. as a total noob i was wondering what TEC and corner marking etc was ... thanks for this post :eek:
  12. i yep i understand not all rides have a leader & t.e.c. but there are still basics to riding in a group, how to fall into line on entry to a corner etc.... but i would also assume those rides where it's not required generally have more experienced riders anyway. :wink:
  13. Another excellent group riding guide is located here: http://www.msgroup.org/GroupRidingGuide.aspx

    It's a very good treatment on the topic, perhaps a bit conservative and IMO aimed at touring bikes... but a solid read. It was the first time I'd properly read about the yo-yo rubber band effect.

    Other articles from the same source:
    Group Riding - 1 Our way
    Group Riding - 2 Rubber Band Effect
    Joining A Group Never while it is moving
    Group Riding - 3 Is not playing 'follow the leader'
    The Odd Duck In The Group ... Is Still Part Of The Family
    Collaborative Group Riding Ride your own ride AND respect the others
    Group Ride Lane Changes Orchestrate for greater safety
    Highway Group Riding 'Rules' Never trump safety

    The ultimate group riding guide was one I stumbled on a couple of years back from some highly organised American bike club. It was a 32 page book and waaaaaaaaaay over the top. For example, it required leader and tail end charlie to be in CB communication at all times and only riders who'd been previously approved/screened for competency could be part of the group... I don't have the link.

    +1 Spots and the importance of corner marking!
    • Like Like x 1
  14. i really like this line....... :rofl:

    and here i was thinking this was just part of the objectives every time i get on the bike, but i also include that to be cars/buses/trucks/or anything else on the road :LOL:
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Thanks, Rob. :grin:

    To the newbies only just learning about corner-marking... I'm sorry if I used my Serious Voice too much in that post. It probably made cornermarking sound like some horrible monster, more frustrating than taxes, more risky than bungee jumping with a half-tied rope. :)

    But it really isn't as scary and frustrating as it sounds.

    I was pretty apprehensive the first time I ever marked a corner. "Oh crap - I'm behind the ride leader!" I thought - even though I was on a VTR250 in a group of Really Fast bikes, the rest of the group had been 'used up' and I was now next in line.

    Soon enough, the ride leader pointed... So I pulled over, put my indicator on to show the direction, and waited for the TEC. Many of the riders gave me a nod or wave of appreciation as they passed. I was only there for a few minutes, got swept up by the TEC, rejoined the group and resumed riding at my own pace. Pretty uneventful! :grin:

    I daresay it even helps create a warm and fuzzy feeling of cameraderie - you get to take on some shared responsibility and help your new friends and acquaintences find their way.

    Frankly, I can't think of a more efficient way to get a massive number of riders (87 is so far my biggest group) across a complex route or a Mystery Ride. :)
  16. Thanks all for your valuable and experienced input.

    Mods do we have enough good info to sticky this thread?
  17. As someone who's TEC'd quite a few rides I can't give enough +1s to "Corner Marker waits for TEC, no matter how long". The time you (TEC) are delayed is the time you NEED that corner marker in place, as you'll sometimes send a rider to retrieve them if you need another pair of hands.

    My advice to group ride organisers/leaders is to have a TEC who meets the following criteria:

    1. is distinctive on the road (unique bike, reflective vest, whatever) so people can NOT get confused as to who he/she is. Its the responsibility of TEC (and the ride leader) to ensure everyone is accounted for.

    2. is confidant being behind (typically) lower skill/speed/experienced riders. Generally having Charlie there will give these people a great degree of confidance as someone is watching out for them. If you're out for a highspeed ride chasing the bike in front of you, don't volunteer to be TEC.

    3. whom you can contact (and can contact you) in some form or another (ie: mobile phone) in the event of any major delays or incidents. If you get delayed an SMS to the ride leader which will await him and the group when they reach the next checkpoint is terrific. TEC should always check in with the ride leader at each checkpoint.

    4. who knows the route as well (or better) than you do. It helps when TEC doesn't actually need the corner markers, and can (in the all-too-common event of the corner marker leaving their post) become a surrogate ride leader and bring the remainder of the group to the next point.

    Being TEC is a responsibility that a lot of people don't fully appreciate. Its often a thankless job. You'll get to checkpoints last, ride slower than you are capable of, marshall traffic at checkpoints (this includes the regular traffic too) and you'll be knackered when you get home. From this you take away the satisfaction that you did everything you could to make the ride great for everyone else.

    Good TECs are hard to come by. Don't forget to buy yours a beer once you're off the bikes.
  18. [Mod]
    2wheelsagain: There are a few articles on NR for this (which has been linked within), but its useful stuff in here. Done and done! Keep it on topic everyone and this could be a valuable resource indeed.
  19. Not wanting to contradict the good information already posted here, but I'd like to note that this is not the only system for group rides. There are also the military convoy type (not popular on this forum), and also the 'pod' or subgroup style.

    I have seen the subgroup system work quite well, but there are a few conditions that have to be met. For a start, each subgroup needs a leader that knows the route. And each subgroup should ideally be matched in riding ability, or otherwise willing to ride to a given maximum speed.

    On balance, the system described above is probably the easiest for most people to follow most of the time. Just wanted to make people aware of other options.
  20. Titus - got some more info on the above systems? This isn't a thread about "this is how you ride in group" but more advice for doing a group ride. Exposure to these other methods would be great!