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Group riding - Road Hazards..what do you prefer?

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Chef, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Yes I'm happy to alerted

  2. No, I ride my own ride anyway

    0 vote(s)
  3. Not sure, because......

    0 vote(s)
  1. I'm putting this in 'Riding tips' because it is a discussion about riding in a general sense and could serve to help others.

    After a couple of incidences recently and upon further reflection I've begun to question the pertinence of marking 'on road hazards',
    For example gravel, fallen branches, trees, dead animals, etc...

    The style of riding I find myself doing is best described by the article entitled 'the pace', (look it up if you don't know what it is, it's worth it")
    In short it means riding quickly in formation through the twisties.

    The last couple of times I have been 'in formation' and the rider in front has paused to alert those behind him to a potential danger, what I have found instead is that I now have two issues to deal with;
    the first being the obstacle , the second being the rider in front who is drawing my attention to the problem.

    Put plainly, I'm already looking ahead past the rider in front and looking for tip in points and obstacles, so I've usually picked up the problem around the same time they have, however if the rider in front puts a leg or hand out to mark the danger, they usually slow down or wobble causing themselves to be another hazard.
    When this happens I now have two issues to deal with when before I would only have had one.

    In the style of riding I'm talking about everything happens so fast I'd prefer not to have the distraction from the real threat, a threat I can find for myself. I'm of the opinion that if the rider behind can keep pace with me they are capable of negotiating whatever the road can throw at them without my assistance....

    ...I'm very interested to hear what others think. I would appreciate it if you could qualify your comments first by describing the usual conditions upon which you ride, because obviously what I'm talking about doesn't apply to everyone.

    Thankyou. Chef.
  2. depends on what the obstacle is, and the circumstances. I once stopped and did a U-Turn on the TNMR to spot an oil spill on a bridge, the ride was slowing to go across anyway and I decided that it was worth putting a head light on it.

    If i was doing a flowing ride through the twisties, and someone was trying to point out a stick or gravel(or an impending Toll station) I'd probably be grateful as long as it the action didn't pose a greater risk to myself.

    Isn't that style all about maintaining corner speed and good lines instead of just cornering and fanging it? I can see what you mean about the Distraction factor. it'd probably hurt the rhythm you've probably got going
  3. In the close riding that I've done and been an active part of, the alerting has consisted of an arm or leg pointing and I've always found it hugely beneficial.
  4. I've usually seen the gravel / branch whatever before it has been pointed out. A double tap on the rear brake to indicate popo or camera is good though.

    If it were some road debris around a blind corner then some advanced warning might be handy.
  5. i think it depends on the skill level of those you are riding with, like you say cheffie, more experienced riders will mark it and carry on, less experienced riders do different things.....isn't mixed skill group rides fun :wink:
  6. If you don't have enough space to react to a lead riding pointing out a hazard then you are riding too close to the lead rider in most cases.
  7. A quick foot out is handy at times and not distracting at all.
  8. +1
    I'm happy to be alerted to obstacles. In close formation, however, this may be a problem if the rider out front is not as experienced, and his reaction may even cause more hassles than the initial 'warning'.

    Having said that, its usually the more experienced riders that are up the front, ( I know this cause I spend most of my time watching their rear tyre :LOL:), so this really shouldn't be an issue unless, of course, the entire group is somewhat low-mid level.
  9. It's rare I have a rider in front of me pointing out hazards, trying to remember now back to the last time and I can not recall.

    However riders pointing out speed cameras and cops is regular which I greatly appreciate.

    As pointed out above, most hazards the rider in front is pointing too is usually in my vision already unless its oil or something low profile and dangerous.

    I don't mind if they do it, as long as they stay vertical... Which is ironic, I've never seen anyone point to a hazard at full tilt, where at full tilt, the hazard is more prone. The only times I've seen people point is when they are in a shallow corner or straight, where, the hazard is quite easily avoidable.
  10. Well It's no surprise the subject has a brought a mixed response, because there will always be different scenarios that require different approaches, but I seriously question the blanket approach of marking all hazards. Particularly if marking them creates another one.

    Before I go any further let's just rule out the ones where something is blocking the whole road and requires a rider to stop, that's not what i was describing in the OP, and yes it goes without saying they are the good ones to make known to any and all riders who are following, whether they are in your group or not.

    No I'm talking about the hazards that can be ridden around, and most of them can be easily ridden around for any rider that has achieved a level of competency riding their bike.

    I'll give a couple of examples that have come to mind which has caused me question the practice.

    Scenario one, I was having a spirited ride at a comfortable, safe, well thought out and deeply considered distance where nobody was in direct danger of riding too close or colliding with each other and everything was going swimmingly (don't fukkin read that as being any other way than what it was written :wink: )
    Now, we were in our groove and everything was fine, except we happened upon some gravel that was on the road making it a little slippery, still no problem. The rider in front backed off which was sensible considering the conditions and I begun to back off with him, still no problem, however it was at this point that he popped a foot out to alert me to the gravel which caused him to slow down more than was probably necessary and he also shifted his line effectively cutting off an escape path if i needed it.

    Scenario two, I was on a group ride with a number of 'unknown' riders up the front, I had a pillion on board and didn't know who i was riding with so I kept a large gap between us but I was keeping pace. These guys were determined to pass and be up the front and were capable of going at a good clip so I figured they knew what they were doing. On the road ahead was a fair covering of clay that had been dragged out onto the road by work vehicles. It was obvious from some distance back and there were two distinct lines running through it.
    The leaders went through it no problem, without losing pace or bothering to mark it, about the fifth rider in (the one who is in front of me) decided to mark it by throwing a leg out. Unfortunately the hazard was on a corner, so as soon as he took his foot off the peg it unsettled the bike and he wobbled across the road and nearly into the other lane. Panicked he shut down the throttle and washed off a heap of speed while he gingerly negotiated his way back across the clay onto a clear line. That just happened to be the line i was on. So I went from Ok I've got this to fook me is he gunna crash in a heart beat, and instead of concentrating on picking my line and sticking to it so i don't come off with my passenger, I'm now having to make emergency plans and backup plans and consider options while trying to figure out where he's going to end up, and where all of this is going to end up.

    So if the idea is to mark hazards for the rider behind to help them avoid a potentially dangerous situation, isn't it counter-productive if in turn it creates another one?

    If a rider is doing what they are supposed to be doing which is to scan the road ahead looking for lines and obstacles, is it best practice to then do something that draws their attention away from that?

    Thanks for taking the time to post :)

  11. sorry Cheffie but this whole thread is hypothetical bullshit...

    since when have YOU ever been behind ANYBODY on a group ride(even with a pillion)

    pics or it didn't happen :p :grin:
  12. I'll occasionally point stuff out if I think the rider behind me could do with it, but only if I'm pretty positive I've got my own shit sorted out.

    The trouble with a warning system like that is you can't teach people to rely on it or expect it. They should be looking past you anyway. Yeh bugger it I reckon.
  13. if i am going to mark it's before i reach it....then i setup to pass it, if i am on it before i see it, tough luck for the following rider
  14. I only ever ride with a close group of friends and we have never had issues with obstacles and marking them out.
    I find maintaining adequate distances to allow the person in front to point out hazards have never been a problem.
    Each to their own but in this case I don't agree with Cheffie (sorry mate)
  15. Well there was this one time, at band camp.....

    Yeah I like that idea. I've put the left hand up before on occasion and it's worked well (for me that is, dunno about the rider behind) Means I'm not moving around on the bike and it's easy to grab the bar and tip in at the same time.

    That's what I'm thinking, if they're looking at the rider ahead even for a glimpse, that's just time they're not looking at the road where the problem is.

    If it's working for your group then there's no need to change it.
    I've just come across some times when it's not working and wonder if the riders are thinking about it or it's just a habit. :)
  16. speaking of which, cheers for that big stick decending from walhalla! that white car rolled over it causing it to move into your line, then it exploded under your tyres, putting chunks everywhere for me :LOL:

    think you were too close to see it ahead, i'd already set a line, hoping the car wouldn't shift it, but nope!

    as for your question Cheffie, i dont mind shit being pointed out, i sometimes notice it before the rider ahead depending on their abilities, on the rare occasion i dont notice it due to obstructed vision. as long as it doesnt cause the rider in front to fook up and cut me off/slow me down, i dont care either way.

    i do hate it when people kick a boot out for 3 single pieces of gravel though, pansies :p
  17. :LOL: You crack me up!
  18. Before I moved interstate I was almost always riding with people that I knew, even if only by sight or by their bikes.
    Doesn't take long to learn everyone's "normal" style of riding and to notice the lines that they take.
    Anything out of the ordinary was an alert of a sorts...And for sh.t on the road etc, a quick flick of a brake light works well when you know the rider ahead and you know the road..
  19. yeah i saw it it too and had just adjusted my line to go to the right of it then as you say the car ran over it and it shot across the road and i thought oh fcuk as i ran over it, but it didn't actually kick or throw the bike at all, so it must of been smaller then it looked cos i thought things were going to get real scary there for a second :shock:
  20. I do it, but it doesn't unsettle me. Just a quick hand down or leg out then move on with life. I think I picked it up from group bicycle rides, where you can be very tight and vision limited.

    Now I do it mostly/only when on NR learner rides, when unsure whether old mate behind is new to riding.