2017 Year of Focus

The Azusa StreetRiders focus is soul winning..
That’s what we are about, going out witnessing to people,getting them to churches. We as a ministry must keep our focus!
you might ask,how do we do that?
I’ve got something to share with you. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but refreshing our minds is always good..
This type of ministry requires organizing apostolic teams (chapters) Forming apostolic teams (chapters) is one part of the new apostolic church revolution. Let’s learn how the Apostle Paul built an apostolic team.

PAUL’S APOSTOLIC TEAM
The Apostle Paul showed us how he built an apostolic team by finding disciples, laying hands on them to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, spiritual impartation, modeling boldness, forbidding prejudice and showcasing deliverance ministry. We can find his example in the following scripture.
“And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus and finding certain disciples said to them, Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said to him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said to them, To what then were ye baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:1-5).

GATHER DISCIPLES
Apostles don’t work alone. Jesus didn’t send them out alone and neither should we. He sent them out two and two (Mark 6:7). They have an anointing to gather disciples and put them to work as a team. Paul’s first step, when he entered the city of Ephesus, was gathering disciples. He didn’t have many to begin with, only twelve are mentioned. From these twelve he formed an apostolic revolutionary team that built one of the greatest churches in history, the Ephesus church.
Gathering disciples was putting “first things first.” A true disciple (Greek mathetes) of Christ is not simply a born again believer. A true disciple is a person that lives according to the Word of God to the best of their ability. Jesus described a disciple as one who “abides in His Word” (John 8:31). Disciples love the Word, are lifelong students, doers of the Word, and are spiritually hungry and remain teachable (2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:22). They know the Word of God and the ways of God. There are many believers, but few disciples. Notice Paul asked these disciples if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed in Christ. Their response was revealing. They said they had never heard of a baptism of the Holy Ghost.

At this point in Paul’s life, he is a seasoned apostle. Many years passed since being sent out of Antioch. Because of the warfare against his life and ministry he knew that these disciples had to be filled with the Holy Ghost. When Jesus formed His revolutionary team right before His ascension into heaven, he directed them to wait for the promise of the Holy Spirit. “But you will receive power after the Holy Ghost comes on you and you will be witnesses to me” (Acts 1:8). Notice Jesus said you would receive power after and not before. Apostles never ignore the spiritual condition of their team members. Team members need the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues and prophecy. “And when Paul laid his hands on them the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).

BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST
Second, Paul laid his hands on these disciples and prayed that they might be baptized with the Holy Ghost. This is the New Testament biblical pattern for building apostolic teams. Apostolic team members should be filled with the Holy Ghost to be effective in ministry. Remember, we are rediscovering the Apostle Paul’s apostolic model. This is it. There is no way to handle the extreme pressure and opposition to the Gospel without Jesus’ dunamis power to witness, the Holy Spirit himself. Not only does the Holy Spirit give you power, but He is also your spiritual teacher.
There are many references to the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. After Jesus’ resurrection, he commanded his disciples not to leave Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father. Jesus had spoken of this same promise when he said, “If you love me keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter that he may remain with you forever even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not neither knoweth him: but you know him for he dwelleth with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17). Jesus declared, “For John truly baptized with water but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days from now.” Jesus also assured them that they would “receive power after the Holy Ghost came on them and that they would be witnesses to him” (Acts 1:4-8). John the Baptist also prophesied of this great baptism. “I indeed baptize you with water to repentance, but he that cometh after me is mightier than I whose shoes I am not worthy to bear he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Matthew 3:11).

Then that precious day came. “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). The Apostle Peter was also in the Upper Room that day and was filled with Holy Ghost power and spoke with other tongues. After he had left the building people asked him the same question that is being asked today, “What meaneth this?” Responding, he preached his first Holy Ghost empowered sermon. His message pierced the hearts of the hearers, and they asked, “What must we do?” Peter, who just days before denied the Lord Jesus, answered with great boldness. “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you and your children and to all that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God should call” (Acts 2:37-39).
This same baptism of the Holy Spirit is available for you right now. Let’s pray together. Jesus. You are my Lord and my Savior. Lord, I want everything that you have to give me. I want this same precious gift of the Holy Spirit that you poured out on your servants in that upper room. By faith and according to your word, baptize me and fill me right now with your Holy Spirit. I accept your promise by faith. Thank you, Lord.
LAYING ON OF HANDS AND SPIRITUAL IMPARTATION
Paul modeled his apostolic ministry through the laying on of hands for impartation on those twelve disciples. “And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6). Paul taught his new team the doctrine of the laying on of hands and the power of apostolic impartation. This doctrine originated with Christ (Hebrews 6:2). After he had prayed, there was a release of the Holy Spirit on these believers, and they began to speak in other tongues and prophesy.
Apostolic ministry is a ministry of impartation. Paul said in Romans, “I want to come to you that I might pass on some spiritual gift to the end you may be established” (Romans 1:11). There are many examples of the ministry of the laying on of hands throughout Scripture.

BOLDNESS IN SPIRIT
The next step the Apostle Paul did was to show a bold ability to preach and teach the Gospel to a not so receptive group of religious people for three months.
“And all the men were about twelve. And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus” (Acts 19:7-9).
Grace for spiritual boldness is an apostolic trait. The Apostle Paul trained by example. Here the team gets a chance to hear Paul speaking boldly in the synagogue challenging and swaying the listeners. Apostolic boldness expresses itself during a conflict. Notice too that Paul taught about the Kingdom of God. Indeed, Paul spoke of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and the atoning blood of Jesus. This Scripture, however, says he spoke boldly about the Kingdom of God. The message of the Kingdom of God is reestablishing the Kingdom of God on earth through Christ’ disciples.

The Holy Ghost loves boldness. To be bold shows a readiness to take risks and face danger. Not boldness worked up by man’s soul but evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Apostolic grace is visible.

TRAIN IN DELIVERANCE MINISTRY
The step to forming an apostolic team is training in deliverance ministry.
“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons and the diseases departed from them and the evil spirits went out of them” (Acts 19:11-12).
Paul was given the opportunity to display the miracle working power of God and teach the newly formed team about deliverance ministry. Apostles don’t ignore the devil. You cannot build a new apostolic church and ignore enemies in the unseen spirit world.
In the past, some untrained and overzealous people abused the merits of deliverance ministry but that doesn’t mean we should stop helping people. Some try to replace holy living and obedience with excuses for sinful behavior that can often be linked to generational curses, soul ties, and witchcraft. Our apostolic teams, therefore, must train in spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry. Jesus said that “deliverance is the children’s bread” (Matthew 15:22, 26). Paul trained the members of his church to put on the armor of God and engage spiritual enemies. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Before Jesus sent out his apostolic teams he gave them power against spirits. “He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease” (Matthew 10:1). Again, Jesus never taught his apostles to ignore the devil. Jesus didn’t leave them alone and neither should we. Demonic powers are still saying, “Let us alone; what have we to do with you, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know you who you are; the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Hold thy peace and come out of him” (Luke 4:34-35). A disease is often, not always, directly related to demonic activity as seen in the following Scriptures.
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil for God was with him” (Acts 10:38).
“There came also a multitude out of the cities round about to Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one” (Acts 5:16).
Understanding your authority as a disciple in spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry is important to the apostolic team. Spiritual warfare is simply binding and loosing in prayer and attacking on purpose spiritual strongholds of opposition and resistance to the advancement of the Gospel in a territory (Matthew 18:18-20). It is a taking up, in prayer, the authority of the believer that Jesus gave his disciples (Luke 10:17-20). This is all with the understanding that we are not wrestling with people, but with principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).
Deliverance ministry and the casting out of demons is the first sign that should follow the believer. “And these signs will follow them that believe; In my name will they cast out devils” (Mark 16:17). An apostolic governing church never substitutes deliverance with counseling. They don’t try to talk out what can only be cast out. This is not to say that they don’t offer to counsel; they do. Apostolic ministry, however, flows in the anointing that sets captives free. There are many different types of prayer in the Word of God, all given for Spirit-life living and the advancement of the Gospel (Ephesians 6:18).

Apostolic teams must prepare to meet strong opposition from Satan and occult influences in society (1 Thessalonians 2:18). Christians cannot continue to avoid spiritual conflict while hiding behind a comfortable and often backslidden condition. To do this ignores the needs of those around them. Opposition, abuse, and resistance are all part of the package. Paul declared, “For a great door and effectual is opened to me and there are many enemies” (1 Corinthians 16:9). The effective advancement of the Gospel always causes a reaction; some are negative.

A SERVANT’S HEART
Apostles train those with servant’s hearts. forming apostolic teams is the servant’s heart.
“After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus; but he stayed in Asia for a season” (Acts 19:21-22).

Paul completes the apostolic pattern gathering, teaching, training and sending. He chooses Timothy and Erastus, two of his spiritual sons that ministered to him and sent them on apostolic assignment. Erastus was not only a servant he was a city manager (Romans 16:23). Until you have learned to serve someone else, you can never be a sent one. Minister, from the Greek minus or minor, means one who acts as an inferior agent in obedience or subservience to another and one who serves or officiates in contrast to the master (magnus). The most familiar English word describing a servant is the deacon. Someone once asked, “How do I know if I am a servant?” The answer is, “You find out when you are being treated like one.”

The Holy Spirit is teaching us the importance of apostolic teams. Once we thought of the apostle’s Paul or Peter working alone, but now we know they never worked alone, they formed many teams.

He is your teacher who will “lead you and guide you in all truth.” Next, do everything you can to renew your mind with the Word of God. Spiritual maturity is a must and only comes through learning and applying God’s truth to your life. If you don’t think right then, you can’t believe right. As you continue to grow in the Word, learn the ways of the Holy Spirit. Watch what the Holy Spirit likes and dislikes. Then start using the spiritual authority Christ gave you by submitting yourself to God and resisting the devil.

I know that you want to do something great for God with your life. Follow the Apostle Paul’s example and get baptized in in the Holy Spirit. He is your teacher who will “lead you and guide you in all truth.” Next, do everything you can to renew your mind with the Word of God. Spiritual maturity is a must and only comes through learning and applying God’s truth to your life. If you don’t think right then, you can’t believe right. As you continue to grow in the Word, learn the ways of the Holy Spirit. Watch what the Holy Spirit likes and dislikes. Then start using the spiritual authority Christ gave you by submitting yourself to God and resisting the devil

Rev. Anthony Storey

Azusa StreetRiders

International President

ASR… My Ministry / My Opportunity

The ASR witnessed TREMENDOUS growth in 2016 and we, through faith, expect the growth to continue as we work together to build the Kingdom of God. We desire to experience spiritual growth and numerical growth simultaneously. The board is currently developing a plan to implement a few new key positions to continue to strategically propel this ministry. Now is the time if you are interested in becoming more involved in this ministry. We are asking that everyone please be in prayerful consideration of the following.

We want to hear from everyone that is interested in being appointed to a position to help serve this wonderful ministry. There is a work for everyone to do. Please submit the following information to President Anthony Todd Storey or Secretary Michael Luttrell for consideration of the board. Please include all strengths (Administrative, communication (phone and / or email), etc.) with details. Also, please advise if there are any particular interests within the ASR ministry for which you feel a special burden (motorcycles for missionaries, event planning, membership connections, etc.). Please feel free to include any information about yourself, your vision / dreams for the ASR, etc. In addition to the department heads, we will also be looking for people to work within these various departments as well. So as you can see, we will need SEVERAL people to jump on board. There is work available for all that are willing.

Excited about the doors that we believe God is opening for this ministry in 2017!!

Blessed to serve,
Michael Luttrell
Secretary
Azusa StreetRiders International

common mistakes riders make

 

common mistakes riders make

Failing to use defensive driving techniques

While defensive driving is important for all  riders in particular, should be aware of their surroundings and expect the worse. Don’t assume other drivers will yield to you and always be aware of traffic patterns. Anticipate problems and road hazards so you can slow down before reaching the problem.

Lacking braking and cornering skills

While motorcycles are lighter and more agile than passenger cars, there is also a learning curve associated with operating a motorcycle. Be especially alert when you are near intersections because approximately 50 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur there.

Selecting a motorcycle that’s not a good fit

While a large motorcycle with immense power may be appealing, you should buy a motorcycle that you can handle safely. Large motorcycles are heavy and you must be strong enough to push it or pick it up when you fall over. You should also consider the functionality of your bike.

Forgetting about the limitations of a motorcycle

Always remember to familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual and attend a motorcycle training course. A professional class can provide you with the knowledge and skills you may not learn when your friend teaches you how to ride.

Being inconsiderate

Avoid weaving in and out of stalled traffic and riding on shoulders. Being inconsiderate can aggravate other drivers and cause them to react negatively, putting both of you at risk.

Michael Theodore

National Road Captain

 

The Stale Green

 

The Stale Green

Just how fresh is that green light?
As we all know (or should), intersections are the leading spots for crashes involving motorcycles and other vehicles. Fortunately, traffic at busier intersections tends to be managed by automated traffic signals. the presence of those signals should be enough to eliminate incidents. In reality they do not. Why? Because drivers (and some riders) tend to push limits at the critical transition time when lights change. Drivers anticipate green lights,anxiously jumping into the intersection prematurely. Simultaneously, impatient drivers accelerate through red lights to avoid sitting through another cycle. That makes the transitioning traffic light a truly dangerous proposition for any motorcyclist.
Riders commonly carry speed up to an intersection especially if the traffic light ahead shines green. But if that light has been green the entire time it’s been in view, one can’t know how long it has been green. More important, we can’t know if it is about to change. As riders, a good rule of thumb (or throttle hand) is to assume that if the light has been green the whole time it’s been in view, we should consider it to be a “stale” green that is old enough to turn yellow by the time we arrive. On your Approach you should then check your mirrors (looking for that driver behind who might be determined to make it through the intersection with or without you), and select a speed that would allow you to calmly, smoothly and safely stop before the light potentially turns to red. Look for vehicles waiting at the light to the right or left, as well as in an opposing left – turn lane; they will surely trigger a stale green to change to red even sooner. Anticipating the stale green gives us fresh options to stay in control at intersections.
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

2017 National Rally – Are You Ready?

2017 National Rally – Are You Ready?

Believe it or not the 2017 National Rally is only 6 months away. It’s time to start getting ready, marking you calendars,making hotel reservations, putting aside a few dollars and inviting people along for the ride. I personally cannot wait to meet up The first week in August in Denison Texas with all of my ASR family.

It is not to early to start praying and fasting for this rally. I am asking all ASR members to add this rally to your regular prayer schedule and to please fast one day a month in preparation for this rally.

Let’s make this rally the biggest and the best National Rally to date.
Remember to use every opportunity to witness to people. On the way to the rally we will be stopping at gas stations, restaurants etc. let’s use every opportunity that we have to share Jesus with people along the way. I personally do not want to leave a gas station with at least telling one person about Jesus. This much travel gives us great opportunities. We can waste it or use it for His kingdom. The national rally is not just a gathering of friends, it is a gathering of apostolic bikers. So I keep it simple by saying – let’s be apostolic and look for opportunities for the kingdom along the way.

The 2017 Azusa StreetRiders National Rally will be held in Denison Tx

Wednesday Aug 2, 7pm meet and greet

Thursday Aug 3 all day ride and church at 7pm. Bro.Bruce Howell from the UPCI will be preaching the Motorcycles for Missionaries service.

Friday Aug. 4 all day ride and church at 7pm Bro. Samual Smith from the AWCF will be preaching.

Saturday Aug. 5th ASR National business meeting and election for National President and National Treasuerer will be held.

8am coffee and donuts

8:30 annual business meeting starts.

more details coming soon!!!!!!

Hotels:
Sherman, TX (Hwy 75/Hwy 82)
Quality Suites – $69.00 (all suites)
Hampton Inn – $79.00 standard
Denison, TX (Hwy 75/FM120)
Holiday Inn Express – $75.00 standard/$85.00 suite
All rates are available 3-days prior and 3-days post event dates
All rates are per room, per night and for single or double occupancy
$10.00 per additional adult per room, per night up to room capacity
All hotels feature complimentary hot breakfast buffet daily
All hotels feature rooms with 1-king or 2-queen beds (Quality Suites is an “all suite” hotel)
All hotels feature in-room refrigerators and coffee makers
Hampton Inn and Quality Suites also feature in-room microwaves
All hotels feature swimming pools
All hotels feature complimentary WiFi

Can’t wait to see you all in Denison Texas

Challenge – I am challanging all ASR members to invite at least 1 person to this rally.

Rev. Jim Curley
National Vice President
Azusa Street Riders

Azusa StreetRiders: “The Apostolic Motorcycle Ministry of Jesus Christ”

I am extremely thankful for this ministry; and equally thankful to be a part of it. There is no doubt that we are taking the one and only true message of salvation to a culture and world that seems to have possibly been avoided throughout history. We carry the true Apostolic message. However, I have a question that I hope will drive each of us to intentional and genuine soul searching. Is it possible that we can be a member of an Apostolic ministry without being a genuine Apostolic Christian? Is it possible that we can be a member of Apostolic churches without actually living an Apostolic lifestyle? The early Apostolic church was driven with a passion to win the lost. Is it possible that we can become personally content residing under an Apostolic label only to slip away from our desperation to fulfill the great commission? Is our personal greatest endeavor still to find another hungry soul that we can point to Calvary? Are we content with a personal Apostolic experience that included an initial repentance, being “buried with Him by baptism”, and experiencing our personal Pentecost only to slip into complacency? Or on the contrary, are we still driven by the heartbeat of God? Souls. We must work while it is day. I desire to move beyond the contentment of simply residing under the umbrella of an Apostolic church, Apostolic ministry, and Apostolic label. Please don’t misunderstand me; I need each of these in my life. However, my desire is to be an Apostolic Christian. To have an Apostolic heartbeat. I pray that our vision and our focus is to passionately fulfill The Apostolic Motorcycle Ministry of Jesus Christ; leading souls to Him.

Michael Luttrell
Secretary
Azusa StreetRiders International.

Membership Renewal 2017

It’s time for membership renewal again. Just a reminder that at the National Rally 2016 the membership voted to change the Chapter membership dues to $30.00. When you receive your invoice it will reflect this change. Individual membership dues will remain at $60.00.

Your chapter dues can be paid through paypal or by mail. If you are not part of a chapter you can pay your dues through the online store.

We want to thank all of our members for your continued support of the ASR ministry. We pray that God will continue to bring the increase of souls to your church through this outreach.

Lydia Diaz-ASR Treasurer

prayer and fasting

Praise the Lord!!

we are 5 weeks away from Bind the Strongman all night prayer service.. This year it will be held in Clarksburg WV. March 3rd and 4th. I hope to see many of ya’ll there.

as we get into full swing with events in 2017, I want to challenge you to spend time in prayer. We must be ready to take HIS WORD to individuals that need HIM. we can not do that successfully if we have not taken care of ourselves first. Prayer, Fasting is a must! We all have struggles and when we are in those valleys we must keep on walking with HIM. I would like us all to put some time a side for prayer and fasting this month. prayer for each other, pray for the ASR, pray for the lost and pray for our country..

when we arrive  in Clarksburg for BTSM Prayer service, we will be ready for what God has in stored for us this year.. each year there is an awesome move of God and this year will be know different, so we must prepare.

If you are struggling now, just remember:

If there were 1000 steps between you and God today, I want to assure you, that God would take 999 of them. He leaves it to you to take that 1 step towards HIM.. An old Chinese proverb says that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Will you take it today?

WILL YOU TAKE THAT 1 STEP TOWARDS THE LORD?

God Bless

Anthony Storey

Azusa StreetRiders

National President

It’s All About Him

Who is that? What is their name? These are common questions that we ask when we see an individual that we don’t know. As of recent, I have been reminded of how much people are looking to specific individuals for hope and direction. In the very recent political event, it was extremely clear that each side of the stage was pronouncing the name and power of their candidate as a large portion of their political platform. Now I am watching as sports becomes the main topic around the “watercooler” with the approaching Super Bowl and March madness right around the corner. I am hearing how that “this” team will win because this particular individual(s) is on that team or that team will win because they have that particular player. I am recognizing that people’s attention is captivated by distinct persons regardless if the topic is politics, sports teams, employers, singers / music, or even Hollywood.

With that in mind, I am reminded of the focal point of the ministry of the Azusa StreetRiders. As the only internationally recognized Oneness motorcycle ministry, it is imperative that our focus remains on Jesus Christ. We have the “One” to offer that holds all power within His hands. We have the ability and responsibility to introduce this world to Him. Regardless of who people are looking to for their help, we know the One that goes far beyond the doctors, counselors, and advisors of this world. Not to mention, that He is the ONLY savior!! He still forgives sin, delivers from addictions, heals the sick, mends broken hearts, and gives hope to the hopeless in 2017!! And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what our God can do.

So as plans are underway for rides, events, and outreach for this year, please remember to make God the CENTER of everything that we do. The ASR is really all about Him. It is His ministry. Any and all “success” is attributed to Him. Let’s work together and each one do our part to make 2017 a great year by “building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost”, “consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works”, and, ultimately, talking about and showing this world Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” We must remind this world (and sometimes ourselves) that everything we are needing and looking for is found in Him!! It’s all about him!!

Michael Luttrell
Azusa StreetRiders
International Secretary

Group Riding Guidelines

I wrote about this before but thought since our new riding season is coming up what better time to do so.

Group Riding: Why?

There are several advantages for motorcyclists who ride street bikes in a group:

  • a group is usually more visible to other drivers than a solo rider;
  • other vehicles can predict what a rider in a group will do because all members generally maintain fixed positions and fixed intervals between riders;
  • in case of a mechanical problem or an accident, help is available immediately to the rider. A member of the group may carry a cell-phone. Usually some riders in a group are trained in First Aid and CPR. They are often aware of safety information and accident management procedures that non-riders may not know — for example, not to remove the helmet of a downed rider unless breathing is inhibited, where to find particular medical information for a downed rider; how to manage an accident scene to prevent complications, etc.; and
  • it can be a lot more FUN!

In addition, motorcyclists tend to learn a great deal from each other about their sport. Planned stops along the way offer a fine opportunity to socialize and to share valuable tips and techniques. Most import with us ASR members it do outreach.

Group Riding: Why Not?

Group riding is not for everyone. It requires a certain level of skill and self-discipline. It restricts an individual rider’s options as to speed, changes in route, and lane positioning. To attempt to ride in a group without having good basic riding skills and a good sense of what others in the group are likely to do — and what they expect you to do — is an invitation to an accident, one that may involve damage and injuries to more than one bike and one rider. It is also a matter of personality, in that group riding requires good communications, courtesy among riders and a willingness to look out for the safety of others while riding your own ride. Those who don’t wish to ride in a group but who wish to arrive at the same destination with everyone may serve as a scout if they have a CB radio, or a cell phone or they may just prefer to travel solo and meet up with everyone at the day’s end.

Rules: Who Needs Them?

The following guidelines for riding in a group are not gospel. There are situations in which they don’t apply. Some organizations may have different terms for these concepts, as well. These guidelines have been tested for many miles.

If you as a rider find yourself in a group which does not follow these guidelines, you can usually find someone who will explain what rules that organization follows, if any, or how they differ from what you learn here. At most responsible group rides, a riders’ meeting will be held prior to departure, in order to clarify what is expected of all the riders who are to participate. If you find yourself uncomfortable with the riding style of a group at any time, DROP OUT. Your safe arrival at your destination is far more important than conforming to rules you don’t like or don’t understand.

People who ride in a group usually appreciate knowing what they are expected to do, and what to expect from others who are taking part in a hazardous sport in close proximity to them. Road Captains and those who frequently ride lead or sweep are particularly urged to become familiar with these terms and guidelines in order to explain them to other riders who may show up for a scheduled ride without having any group riding experience.

Some Common Group Riding Terms

Pack: a number of motorcyclists who ride together, generally without maintaining fixed positions or distances between bikes. Packs are occasionally seen with 20-50 motorcyclists in a single formation.

Group: a small number of motorcyclists who ride together maintaining a generally fixed distance between bikes and maintaining fixed positions within the formation (usually no more than six per group). On rides in which participation by a large number of motorcyclists occurs, it is common to have riders divided into several groups and to name them Group 1, Group 2, etc. This facilitates radio communication when several groups are listening to the same broadcasts and traffic coordination on the same CB channel. Or communicated via cell phone.

Road Captain: a person who devises group riding rules or guidelines for a club or chapter of a motorcycling organization, who communicates these guidelines to the club, and who generally plans and lays out group rides. The Road Captain may or may not ride lead for a particular ride.

Lead Bike: a person who rides in the most forward position in a group and who relays information to all other riders in the group via hand signals and/or CB communications. The Lead Bike determines the group’s direction, speed, choice of lane, and formation. He or she often must make quick navigation decisions in the face of road hazards, changes in road surface conditions, poor signage, construction and other obstacles while maintaining control of his or her bike and communicating to those following. It is the responsibility of the Lead Bike to select a Drag Bike Which I prefer to call a Sweeper with whom communications will be coordinated during a ride. If there are three groups on a ride, there will be three Lead Bikes. If at all possible, the Lead Bike should be equipped with a CB or cell phone some sort of communication system.

Drag Bike or Sweeper: a person who rides in the last position in a group and who relays information to the Lead Bike regarding the other riders in the group, traffic patterns, equipment problems, etc. he or she observes. The sweeper must secure a lane for the rest of the group during lane changes into faster traffic (move first to block oncoming traffic) and close the door (move to block passing traffic) when a lane is lost in a merging lane situation. Usually this is the most experienced rider in a group, for the sweeper they are the rider who stops to assist a rider who has mechanical trouble, loses control, or drops out of a ride for some other reason. The sweeper should be prepared to render aid to a downed or disabled rider in a group while communicating the problem to the Lead Bike and others in the group. If at all possible, the sweeper should be equipped with a CB or cell phone, preferably, will have a co-rider who can assist with communications or traffic control if a serious problem arises. If there are three groups on a ride, there will be three sweepers. The rider in this position is sometimes called the tail gunner.

Cage: any vehicle that is not a motorcycle, but particularly an automobile.

Four-wheeler: any vehicle that is not a motorcycle except an 18-wheeler, a hack or a trike.

Group Parking: a formation in which all bikes in a group follow the Lead Bike in single file into a parking lot, making a U-turn such that they can all line up next to each other in the space available with the rear of their bikes against the curb or edge of the lot, the front tires pointing outward.

Parade formation: a formation in which all the motorcyclists in a group ride two abreast.

Single file: a formation in which all the motorcyclists in a group ride in one track of a lane.

Slot: any position within a group of riders in the right track of a lane, farthest from oncoming traffic.

Staggered formation: a formation of motorcyclists in a group in which the Lead Bike rides in the left track of a lane, the next bike in the right track or slot, and the next bike in the left track, and so on. Bikes in a group generally maintain a minimum interval of two seconds travel time between bikes in the same track, and one second travel time between each bike in the group. In a staggered formation, a rider still commands and may ride in the entire width of his lane as needed. Group riders may also ride single file or two abreast. The sweeper may ride in the left or right track depending on the number of bikes in the group. It is preferable for the sweeper to ride in the left track, so as to have the same visibility line as the Lead Bike.

Station keeping: maintaining a fixed position and interval within a group of riders but not riding as Lead Bike or sweeper. Riders without a CB usually ride as station keepers in the middle of a group. Positions within a group are initially assigned by the Lead Bike based on the experience level of the rider, particularly his or her group riding experience.

Track: the zone of a lane in which a rider maintains his position in a group. A lane of traffic is divided into five zones: the left track is the second zone from the left, the middle of the lane (generally not used) is the third zone, and the right track is the fourth zone from the left. Two zones on the sides of a lane serve as margins. A rider may vary his path of travel from his normal track as is required by a road hazard or by an incursion into the group’s lane by other vehicles.

Two abreast: a formation in which the members of a group ride adjacent to each other in pairs, used when riding in parade formation. Used after stopping at signs and traffic signals so that riders can get through an intersection quickly and together if possible. When departing from a stop, the rider in the left track normally pulls out before the rider on the right, returning to a staggered formation.

Road Captain’s Job: Preparing for a Group Ride

When a number of motorcyclists are invited for a group ride, the riders and their co-riders gather at the appointed time and place, often without knowing their specific destination or route from that point on. The Road Captain for that ride will have a route in mind and will usually have pre-ridden the route within the past week in order to look for construction and road surface problems and other situations which might affect the safety of those who are to participate. The Road Captain will appoint or volunteer experienced riders to serve as Lead Bike, depending on the total number of bikes and the number of groups required. Each Lead Bike will then select a person to ride as Drag Bike for that group. The other riders will determine which group they are going to ride in, and if there is an inexperienced rider along, will usually ask the Lead Bike to make suggestions on group positioning. The Lead Bike should determine roughly the experience level of each rider in his or her group before departing, putting the rider with the least experience in group riding immediately in front of the sweeper in the slot position. If the last open position before the sweeper is not a slot, the least experienced rider should be in the last slot position available, away from oncoming traffic.

The Road Captain will usually provide a Route Memo or will have copies of maps or directions to give the members of the group (this should be supplied to the Lead Bikes if not to all riders), and will have a rough idea of times and distances to be traveled, suggestions for rest stops, food and gas, etc. The Road Captain will hand out emergency medical information forms and release of liability forms for sponsored rides, to be filled in and signed. He or she will then conduct a short riders’ meeting to establish that each group has a designated Lead and Sweeper, to review group riding guidelines briefly, to alert the riders of potential hazards, to discuss communications within and between the groups, to review hand signals if there are riders without CBs, or cell phones and to answer any questions about the ride. The Road Captain may or may not lead a group himself, and in fact may not accompany the riders at all once the ride is underway.

If there are several groups of riders, the Road Captain expects all Lead Bikes to follow the route which has been laid out and not to initiate changes in the route except in an emergency. In case of problems that require emergency personnel or re-tracing a route to find a disabled rider or part of a group which has gotten lost, it is much easier to locate the person(s) sought if all groups follow the same path to their common destination. It is not unusual for groups of riders to be separated by several miles and to find themselves out of CB range from other groups during a long trip or in heavy traffic. Why cell phone comes in handy. It is also not unusual for groups to break up briefly in traffic, requiring a station-keeping rider to serve as Lead Bike or sweeper for a fragment of a group, for a short time.

Rider’s Job: Preparing for a Group Ride

Riders are expected to arrive on time at the departure point with a full tank of gas, in proper attire for the conditions, and physically ready to ride (rest-room stop made, medications packed if needed, ready to be alert). Motorcycle endorsements and insurance should be up to date, and the bike should be in street-legal condition. The Road Captain may ask a rider not to join a group ride if these basic conditions are not met (for example, if a rider does not want to follow directions or if a bike is mechanically unfit to ride).

If a rider brings a co-rider (a passenger) for a group ride, he or she is expected to manage and attend to that passenger’s needs personally, before the riders’ meeting. The following guidelines are suggested for preparing a co-rider for a group ride:

Do not permit a co-rider to mount the motorcycle until all riding gear is on and fastened securely (beware of outside pockets!). The co-rider should not mount until the rider is seated and holding the motorcycle vertically, and then not until the rider nods that he or she is ready for the co-rider to get on. The co-rider should avoid contact with hot exhaust pipes, wiggling out of position once seated, and shouting or making sudden movements of the upper body during the ride. The passenger’s feet should remain on the pegs or floorboards designed for them at all times, until disembarking.

A co-rider needs to know generally what he or she should and should not expect in terms of comfort and safety considerations. This should be explained by the rider.

Suggested jobs for the co-rider during the ride: Watch out in traffic for anything that may detract from a safe ride: two pairs of eyes are better than one. Do not assist the rider by leaning in turns, but look over the rider’s inside shoulder on curves. Wave at all other bikers, children, anyone who shows interest in the riders, and law enforcement officers on their feet. And — smile!

In group riding, if the rider (with or without a co-rider) wishes to slow down or stop during the ride, for any reason whatsoever, he or she may drop out of the ride. If at any time a co-rider becomes uncomfortable during the ride and wants the rider to slow down or stop, for any reason whatsoever, the rider should be prepared to do so as quickly and as safely as possible. It is courteous to notify or signal to the other riders in the group before doing this unless it is not convenient or possible to do so. Unless the sweeper clearly understands the reason for a rider’s decision to drop out, normally the sweeper will notify the Lead Bike of a problem and will stop with the rider who is stopping, to render aid if needed, or to determine his intentions about rejoining the group ride.

Normal Group Riding Maneuvers

Entering Traffic

When the Lead Bike for each group sees that all riders are helmeted in states that require them sitting on their bikes, motors running, and ready to depart, he or she will check for traffic and enter the roadway. Usually the Lead Bike will not attempt to exit a parking lot unless there is room for all or most of the group to follow immediately. If the group is split, the Lead Bike will normally take the slow lane and keep the speed relatively low until the group can form up in the positions the riders will keep for the duration of the ride. This may mean traveling slower than surrounding traffic, to encourage four-wheelers to pass and allow the group to form up. Occasionally this cannot be accomplished until the group has made a lane change or entered a freeway, depending on where the entrance ramp may be.

Regardless of the Lead Bike’s signals, a rider is responsible for his or her own safety at all times. Ride Your Own Ride.

Once all members of the group are together, the group will take up a staggered formation and will stay in it most of the time during the ride, unless the Lead Bike signals for a change or the need for a change is obvious. Reasons for changing out of a staggered formation could be a passing situation or poor road surface (single file), dog or other animal charging the group (split the group), or coming up to a traffic signal (two abreast while waiting for a light).

Changing Lanes

When a group of motorcycles is changing lanes, many safety considerations come into play. Should every rider move into the adjacent lane at the same time? If not, should the Lead Bike go first, or should the sweeper move first to “secure the lane”? When the sweeper radios to the group or motions to the group that the lane is secured, is it really? What if another vehicle sees a gap in traffic and tries to cut into the group? If part of the group gets separated from the other riders, should everyone change relative positions (tracks) so that the new Lead Bike is now riding in the left track? The recommended procedure for a group lane change maneuver depends on how the surrounding traffic is moving at the time. The goal for the bike which moves first is to create a gap into which the other bikes can fit.

Regardless of what other riders in the group are doing, each rider must personally check to see that the new lane is clear of traffic before entering it.

Changing Lanes as a Group

There is virtually no time (absent an emergency) when a group of riders should all move at the same time into a different lane, in regular traffic conditions. The wide gap required for a whole group to move is difficult to find in heavy traffic, and if it exists, it will be an invitation for other drivers to jump into it, perhaps while the group might be moving. Additionally, such a maneuver could be interpreted as “parading”, which may arguably not be covered under some insurance policies.

Changing Lanes into Slower-Moving Traffic

In most jurisdictions traffic laws prescribe that, on a road in which there are two lanes of traffic moving in the same direction, the lane on the right will be the slower lane. If a group of motorcyclists is going to move into the slower lane from the faster one, the first bike in a group which moves is responsible for creating a gap into which all the following bikes can fit. This is accomplished by maintaining a constant speed in order to enlarge the gap after the first bike moves. Each bike moving in succession should also be aware of this dynamic. Thus, the group moves from first to last. (An exception is the sweeper, which may move on its own for reasons explained later.)

The first bike to move under these conditions will be the Lead Bike. The maneuver is accomplished in this way: the Lead Bike signals for the lane change and announces to the group via CB and/or hand signals that the group is moving to the right, front to back. Then, after checking by actually turning the head to see that the new lane is cleared and looking in his mirror for traffic sufficient for one bike to safely enter it, the Lead Bike moves across the tracks of the current lane, taking up a position in the left track of the new lane where the Lead Bike usually rides. By maintaining the maximum speed which the traffic in that lane will allow, the Lead Bike creates a gap into which the next bike in the group can insert, moving into the right track there. Each succeeding bike follows this pattern: signal right, move right in your own lane, head-check, enter new lane, maintain speed to create gap, and take up regular position (left or right track) in the new lane.

The sweeper in this pattern is normally the last to enter the new lane, unless “closing the door” was possible. As the bikes move quickly and re-form their group, it is rare that a four-wheeler will move up into the gap in the new lane. If a cage moves into the gap, the next bike to move must tuck in behind it and wait for the group ahead to slow up, encouraging the cage to pass. When the cage passes the slower forward group, the whole group can re-form into a normal riding configuration.

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

If a lane change results in the group’s changing formation — the bike which was unable to move into the new lane slows down and becomes for a time the Lead Bike for the left lane, while the rest of group moves ahead in the slower lane — or, the bike which was unable to move right is forced to PASS the slower group — should the new Lead Bike take the left forward track?

Ordinarily, no. Only if the group breaks into two obvious sub-groups and becomes separated for a substantial period of time should the “new Lead Bike” move into a new track to the left, if that has not been that rider’s normal position. Otherwise, this will be only a temporary break in formation, and the riders will quickly enter the new lane and re-form as usual behind the Lead Bike, in the positions they had originally.

Why doesn’t the “new Lead Bike” change tracks? Because during any period in which the bikes are changing tracks, the spacing between them is cut in half, drastically reducing the reaction time and space available to the rider in case the bike directly ahead of him becomes a problem. In a lane change, this period is fairly short. If the “new Lead Bike” shifts position and all the bikes following attempt to adapt to the new configuration by changing to a different track, they will then have to change back when the original group re-forms. There is no real reason to put the riders in additional jeopardy this way in order to have the “correct” formation, just for short periods.

Forcing all the bikes in the rest of the group to change track position is especially hazardous in the case of a new group rider who has become accustomed to riding in the protected “slot” as opposed to facing oncoming traffic in the exposed left track position. In most cases, anyone who is riding in a group will quickly adapt to this change of conditions and track positions, but there may be times when a new rider who is trying to learn this whole concept will be very uncomfortable changing tracks. The sweeper should pay special attention to inexperienced riders under these conditions.

This pattern may occur not only during a lane change, but also during a passing maneuver or when a group gets separated in traffic because of signal lights and traffic flow.

The sweeper will usually notify the Lead Bike and the rest of the group after a brief separation by one or more riders that the group has re-formed by saying, “We’re family.” via communications or with an all thumbs up sign.

Changing Lanes into Faster-Moving Traffic

The same basic lane-changing principle for entering slow-moving lanes also applies when a group is entering faster-moving traffic where at least two lanes of traffic are moving in the same direction; that is, moving from the right lane to the left. The first bike to move creates a gap for the remaining bikes. Since traffic is pulling away from the group as each member enters the lane, this maneuver is done back to front.

The maneuver is accomplished in this manner: The Lead Bike signals for a lane change and announces to the group via CB and turn signals that the group will be moving to the left, back to front. Then the Lead Bike asks the sweeper to “secure the lane” to the left to which the sweeper should normally respond with “Stand by.” All station-keeping bikes maintain their position while this occurs, putting their own turn signals on to indicate the move to be made. The Sweeper then moves first when a space in the lane to the left opens up and radios to the Lead Bike and the group, “The lane is secured.” If no radio communications The lead bike will watch in his/her mirror for the all clear to sign.

No one is to change lanes at this point, however! First, each rider must make certain the lane is clear by actually turning his head to insure that there is no other vehicle still approaching the group in the left lane. If a vehicle is still moving up beside the group, the sweeper will usually say, “After the red truck,” or “After the station wagon,” etc. Whether or not a warning is given by the sweeper (who may have other concerns with the traffic to his rear), each rider must do a head-check before entering a faster-moving lane.

The second bike to move will be the one in front of the Sweeper. That rider moves across the tracks of the current lane, does a head-check, changes lane and then takes up a position in the track of the new lane where he was originally riding. By dropping to a speed slightly slower than the rate at which traffic in that lane has been traveling, each bike creates a gap into which the next bike forward can insert. Each rider follows this pattern: signal left, move left in your own lane, head-check, enter new lane, maintain (slower) speed to create gap, and take up regular position (left or right track) in the new lane.

The Lead Bike in this pattern is normally the last to enter the new lane. As the bikes move quickly and re-form their group, it is rare that a four-wheeler will move up into the gap in the new lane. If a cage moves into the gap, the next bike to move must wait for the cage to pass, so that a gap appears again. Then the maneuver can be completed and the group can re-form into a normal configuration.

Passing

On a busy two-lane road, oncoming traffic typically prevents a group from passing a slow-moving vehicle while in formation. Each member of the group must accomplish two lane changes in order to pass, and this usually is done on an individual basis.

Regardless of what a rider is told by others in the group about oncoming vehicles, each rider must personally check to see that the oncoming lane is clear of traffic before entering it.

If oncoming traffic requires the group to pass individually, the Lead Bike will signal the group to move into a single-file formation and will announce that the group members are to pass the vehicle one at a time. The forward members of the group will gradually position themselves in single file in the left track to prepare to pull into the oncoming lane. The Lead Bike will usually wait for a gap in oncoming traffic that is big enough for more than one bike to pass, but this is not always possible. When a safe interval is observed, the Lead Bike will put its left turn signal on and pull into the oncoming lane. After passing the “obstacle,” looking in the rear view mirror for clearance and actually turning the head to be sure the lane is clear, the Lead Bike then signals that it is moving into the right lane and does so, taking its normal position in front of the slower vehicle(s) in the left track. The Lead Bike must then maintain or even slightly increase its speed.

As with a lane change to the right, each bike should be aware of the need to create a gap into which the next bike in succession can fit after overtaking an obstacle. For this reason, each bike should maintain speed after passing, until the sweeper has passed and the group has re-formed.

Special care should be taken when passing not to focus on distant oncoming traffic to the point of establishing “target fixation.” The rider should continue to scan the environment for hazards and should plan escape routes in case of the unexpected; for example, the “obstacle” may come to life again when he sees motorcycles passing him and may accelerate while the rider is still in the oncoming lane, exposed to additional risk.

After he has passed the slower moving vehicle, the sweeper will usually notify the Lead Bike that the group is intact again by saying, “We’re family.” Or with thumbs up sign.

Number One Rule (The ‘Prime Directive’)

In a group ride, the primary job for every rider is to not hit the motorcycle in front of him.

Spacing Out

Especially on less-congested rural back roads, the riders in a group may spread out to create larger intervals between motorcycles. This allows a rider to relax a bit, to enjoy the scenery and the ride. If no four-wheelers are trying to pass the group, this is fine. However, the riders should remain close enough to each other to be able to see hand signals being passed back from the Lead Bike. Also, if a group is at maximum size (eight to ten bikes is usually the limit) and the riders spread out too much in hilly terrain, CB communication between the Lead Bike and the sweeper may be severely tested or lost. The Lead and sweeper cannot work together if they can’t communicate.

It is possible that a rider will also “space out” in terms of losing his concentration and will forget to practice safe riding strategies. If the rider has become too fatigued to ride properly, the sweeper will usually notice this first and will advise the Lead Bike that a rest stop is needed. If a rider is not riding safely enough to avoid endangering others in the group (because of lack of experience, medical problems, fatigue, or some other reason), the Lead Bike will usually discuss the problem privately with that rider at the next stop. If a problem cannot be solved reasonably in this way, the Lead Bike has absolute discretion to request that a rider leave the group and is entitled to expect the group to support this decision. In the case of a mechanical or minor medical problem, it is not unusual for another rider to accompany the distressed rider to get help. Sometimes if the Lead Bike just re-assigns the riders to new positions within the group, this is enough to bring a spaced-out motorcyclist back to a state of alert awareness.

Checking Out The Curves

On any stretch of curvy road and in any corner, a group may ride in single-file momentarily, to enable each rider to corner at his own speed and to have as much room as possible for maneuvering. This is especially important to riders with little experience in a group, as they may “wobble” or be nervous about making turns with another bike to their side or riding close behind them. This is an accepted variance to staggered formation; usually the Lead Bike will not signal for single-file at each turn but will expect the riders to choose their own path of travel.

Odd Formations and Maneuvers

Odd formations may be necessary in group riding when there is a member of the group which is not a standard, two-wheel motorcycle —  This includes three-wheeled motorcycles (“trikes”), bikes with a sidecar (“hacks”), bikes towing a trailer, or four-wheelers.

In each case, other than for four-wheelers, it’s a good idea to place the odd bike at the rear of the formation, in the last available slot. The group should also allow extra clearance and reaction time for a bike towing a trailer. Instead of a one-second interval between that bike and the next, and a two-second interval between it and the bike directly behind it in the same track, these minimum times should be doubled. For trikes and hacks, it is not so important to position these riders in a slot, but it is still a good idea, because these vehicles do not handle turns in the same way a motorcycle does. If a rider has difficulty handling an “odd duck” vehicle, the bike following it may need extra time to react, and the “odd duck” should not worry about being hit from the rear by a group member while he solves his problem. If there are several bikes towing trailers in a group, they should generally be riding at the back of the group, even if they are not all in slot positions.

When a four-wheeler is a part of a group, it should trail the group behind the sweeper bike. It helps if the four-wheeler is equipped with a CB radio. Additionally, that vehicle should drive with its headlights on at all times, to enable the sweeper to distinguish it from other cages if possible.

Hand Signals

Certain hand signals are optional in group riding: turn signals on the bikes ahead will usually advise a rider without a CB that a turn is coming up, for example, and hand signals in a turning situation may actually add to the danger for some. However, other hand signals are extremely helpful to the rider who has no other means to communicate.

The most important two hand signals for a non-CB equipped rider are these: pointing to an obstacle in the road, warning the rider to avoid it; and pointing to the tank. The rider who has no CB should be advised that, no matter what his reason, if he points to the tank on his bike, he will be telling those following him (especially the sweeper Bike) that he needs to stop as soon as possible. This may be because he needs fuel; or because he wants to make a “rest room stop”; because he is having a mechanical or equipment problem; because his co-rider is uncomfortable; because he has a medical problem; because he is having a crisis of confidence; or for any other reason at all. Such a signal will be relayed to the Lead Bike. If a convenient place is available, the Lead Bike may orchestrate a stop by the whole group. If not, the affected bike can count on the sweeper to stop with him to try to help him.

Other hand signals may be useful to bikes not equipped with a CB during a group ride. These include:

  • Back off — Palm of left hand shown to group, pushing motion toward rear of bike
  • Ready to ride –- “Thumbs up” high enough in air to be visible to Lead Bike
  • Single-file formation — One finger points to the sky on top of the helmet (sometimes entire flat hand at 90 degrees to top of helmet)
  • Slow down — Left arm is held out straight, then goes up and down
  • Smoky alert (police or emergency vehicles) — Hand taps top of helmet several times
  • Speed up or close ranks in formation — Left arm makes “windmill” sign
  • Staggered formation — First finger and little finger point to the sky on top of the helmet (“Hook ‘em, Horns” sign)
  • U-turn — Left hand makes circle in air over head

Universal ‘Caution/Warning/Danger’ Signal

Though it is not, yet, a universally agreed to signal, it should be. That is, whenever a rider observes a potential threat, or wants to announce that he may need to change speeds quickly, that rider is obliged to tap his front brake lever twice in rapid succession. Any rider following that bike needs to do two things when he observes that signal:

  • slow down in order to widen his following distance
  • repeat the signal to insure that bikes following receive the warning

In the event that no emergency or rapid speed change is needed or occurs within a minute or so of seeing that signal then all bikers can assume the potential emergency has passed and can resume normal speeds and spacing. Nothing was lost yet everyone took defensive postures, just in case. That, after all, was the purpose of the signal in the first place.

Exceptions to Normal Guidelines

The often-heard rule, “Ride Your Own Ride,” means that any guideline for group riding can and should be ignored when it doesn’t make sense. Determining whether this is the case and acting prudently is each rider’s individual responsibility at all times.

Under normal circumstances, the Lead Bike will choose a lane, will determine the speed at which the riders are to travel, will suggest the formation which makes maneuvers most safe, and will navigate.

Common exceptions to these guidelines occur with a rider who is not yet experienced with group riding. If a maneuver looks too dangerous or awkward for the new rider to complete safely, he or she should do what he needs to do to protect himself and avoid an accident. This may mean passing up a turn or taking it very slowly, or parking somewhere not with the group, or going more slowly through a curve than the riders ahead of him.

Each rider commands his entire area within a lane and may move to left or right in it as required.

Another exception: the sweeper may not travel in the same path as the rest of the group. If, for example, a two-lane road is narrowing so that a lane is about to be lost, the sweeper will frequently “close the door” by moving out of the group’s staggered formation into the lane which is soon to disappear. This is to prevent a four-wheeler from trying at the last minute to pass part of the group and then have to cut into it when the pavement runs out. Even if the riders near the back of the group observe that the sweeper is no longer in the position where he has been riding most of the time, they should maintain their own place in the group.

Rubber-Band (“Yo-yo”) Effect

Reaction time for a motorcyclist when confronted with an unexpected threat is, on average, about one second. If the need to react is anticipated (such as when a turn has been announced), then riders can usually react within about half a second after the bike ahead begins to react. When a group of riders change speeds very gradually, however, it usually takes two or three seconds for a rider to recognize this and begin to change his speed to maintain his position in the group.

This doesn’t sound like much time, but experienced group riders manage their risks reasonably well with a minimum one-second interval between each bike and a minimum two-second interval between bikes that are traveling in the same track. When the group has more than six bikes in it, however, gradual changes in speed within the group can become tricky.

When a Lead Bike begins to accelerate, the second bike doesn’t instantly start to travel at the faster rate. Instead, a gap grows between them while the second bike is reacting — and it continues to grow until the second bike is fully up to the increased, stable speed of the Lead Bike. Clearly, once the speeds are the same, the gap will remain the same size. However, since most groups prefer to keep a one-second minimum interval between bikes (two seconds between bikes in the same track), the new gap caused by the Lead Bike’s acceleration may be larger than is desired. When this occurs, the second bike must go faster than the first one for a brief time in order to “catch up.”

If we assume that the Lead Bike speeds up from 60 to 70 mph over a period of two seconds, the second bike will have to ride at 75 mph for two seconds (after his reaction time passes) in order to close the gap. Then he will take another one second to decelerate back to 70 mph to create a gap of the proper size.

If there were only two bikes in the group, this example is easy to follow. But when the group is larger, and the bikes involved are riding further back in the pack, the “rubber band” effect can be especially dangerous to all bikes from the middle of the group to the sweeper.

For example, the third bike in the group has this problem: About two seconds after the second bike has begun to accelerate, the third bike responds. Now, however, the second bike is moving at 75 mph rather than at 70 mph like the Lead Bike. The third bike must use even more effort to catch up to the second bike than the second bike did to match his speed to the Lead Bike’s new speed, if the gap is to stay relatively constant. He will have to move at 75 mph for four seconds, not two, to catch up. The fourth bike will have to accelerate to 80 mph!

In a group of only six motorcycles, the last one will find the gap between himself and the fifth bike has grown to 143 feet before it begins to close, once he starts to speed up, given these average reaction times. And it will be at least 11 seconds after the Lead Bike first began to accelerate before the sixth bike does so.

Now, imagine what happens in the group if, while this is taking place, the Lead Bike must apply his brakes! This rubber-band effect becomes extremely important if the Lead Bike happens to make an abrupt and major change of speed at certain critical moments, such as when approaching a sharp turn or a tricky curve.

The rubber-band effect can be reduced by following these guidelines:

  • Lead Bike changes speed more gradually
  • Lead Bike announces speed changes over the CB radio
  • All riders watch farther ahead than just the bike immediately in front of them in order to notice and to react quicker to changes in speed
  • All riders restrain the impulse to “crank it up” in order to quickly re-establish normal spacing
  • Lead Bike does not increase speed within 15 seconds of entering a curve which may require braking or some slowing down to maneuver it safely
  • All riders abandon the one-second spacing rule when riding twisties
  • Groups should not be larger than six bikes per group if even one rider is not experienced at group riding. Groups should never be larger than eight bikes: break the groups down into smaller ones.

This problem has been described with respect to the acceleration of the Lead Bike. When the rubber band effect is considered in reverse — that is, when the Lead Bike is suddenly braking — these tips on how to avoid the rubber-band effect can be even more important. Those who ride as Lead Bike for their group should be aware of the importance of avoiding sudden changes in speed if at all possible, so as to reduce the risks to those following. Group riding can be as fun as you make it.

Michael Theodore

National Road Captain