Group Riding Experience

The Group Riding Experience is a new one day familiarisation event held at the Harley-Davidson European headquarters in Oxford. You’ll find it featured in the Passport to Adventure booklet and more recently it has appeared in the monthly Insider and on the HOG UK and Ireland Facebook page. You’ll also find it as a feature on the

The Group Riding Experience will run on the following dates:

Saturday, 18th May

Sunday, 30th June

Saturday, 20th July

Sunday, 15th September

The cost is £24 for a single rider and £30 for a rider and pillion (incl. VAT and lunch).

Again, please do contact me at if you would like to reserve spaces or require any further information

Group Riding Guide

These guidelines have been written to help keep you and the people you ride with
safe. They are based on systems widely used across many bike clubs, please take
the trouble to read them.

Rider’s Responsibilities

To observe the guidelines in order to assure the safety and the welfare of every
individual within the group, and any surrounding motorists or pedestrians.
To follow the instructions of the Marshalls in all situations, unless those instructions
place the rider or any other individual in an unsafe situation.
To maintain their motorcycle and other equipment in a safe riding condition.
To ride with headlights on, but NOT with passing lamps, unless you are a lead rider
or back marker.
To ride with a “safety first” attitude. The safety of all individuals, whether or not they
are a part of the group, is of paramount importance.

Meeting place and departure time

Meeting place and departure times will be published on our Web Site calendar.
A rider briefing will be held just prior to departure to establish a schedule for Petrol
and rest stops, inform the group of the intended route, provide other pertinent
information and review the group riding guidelines including formations and
procedures. Please arrive in time to listen to the briefing before departure.
All riders are asked to arrive with a full tank of Petrol.
Speed, intervals & distances
The Lead Rider will attempt to establish and maintain a uniform speed; consistent
with the ability of the least experienced rider, surrounding conditions and safe riding
All riders will make an effort to maintain the same speed to minimise the effect of
irregular speeds on riders at the rear of the group.
Minimum safe following distances
The distance between you and the bike in front of you will be determined by the
speed the pack is travelling, the weather and road conditions.
Be Alert! – Stay focused on the people around you. If you are not paying attention,
you might not notice the person in front of you slowing down. Look where you want
to go. If you are looking off the road, that is where you will end up.
Be Courteous – Some riders may not be as comfortable as you. Give them a little
bit of space. There are a lot of new riders out there and they maybe be nervous.

Riding next to them or too close in corners may pressure them to ride above their
comfort level.

Staggered Riding System

A pack of Motorcycles in an organised group looks professional and reflects upon
the reputation of a bike club. The staggered riding system is a proven system
adopted for club events.
The system itself is easy but there are some things that should not be done i.e.
having bikes in all three lanes of a motorway or both lanes of a dual carriageway for
no reason whatsoever.

Second Man Drop Off

Second Man Drop Off is a means of indicating the route that the ride out is following.
Consider it to be like a directional arrow on a road sign with the sign being replaced
by a rider.
The sequence is very simple. The rider behind the Lead Rider will be dropped off as
indicated by the lead rider. The Lead Rider will be in the centre of
the carriage way wearing a High Visibility Vest. No rider should overtake the lead
Rider. The ‘Second Man’ will be behind the Lead Rider. It does not matter if the
‘Second Man’ is to the left or the right behind the Lead Rider and once the ‘Second
Man’ has been dropped off at a junction there is no need for the new ‘Second Man’ to
move position. All you have to remember is that you will be positioned behind the
rider in front; you maintain this position for the duration of the ride-out or until you are
dropped off.
The Lead Rider, or their pillion, will raise their arm to give warning that a drop off is
about to take place. The Lead Rider, or their pillion, will then point to the exact spot
that they want the ‘Second Man’ to stop. You should not carry on past this point as
you may become out of view to the rest of the pack following behind. The only time
that you should move on further than the indicated spot is when you consider it an
unsafe place to stop. If you should have to do this then remember that you still have
to be seen by the rest of the riders coming from behind or the system will not be
effective. Occasionally another rider will be designated as Point, if this is the case
this will be explained in the rider briefing.
The Back Markers will be at the back of the pack wearing High Visibility Vests. You
need to be ready to re-join the pack in front of the Back Markers who will slow down
to allow you into the pack in front of them. If you are unable to do this, and you end
up behind the Back Markers, they will wave you through on the nearside when it is
safe to do so, you must wait until you are waived through.
When we are going straight on at a junction we do not normally mark the way, the
exception to this would be on a large roundabout where we mark the exit.
The method works well provided everyone makes clear, safe markings and doesn’t
forget they are in the No.2 position, when it is their turn to be dropped off. Should
you be riding at No. 3 and you see that No.2 has missed a turn that should have
been marked, please take the initiative and safely take the marker position.
Please have confidence in it, and under no circumstances must you re-join the
group before you see the back markers, it will split the group as they won’t
know what direction to take.

Safe stopping distances

At 30 MPH it is 23m (10 bike lengths), 50 MPH = 53m (22 bike lengths) and 70 MPH
= 96m (40 bike lengths).
In group riding, a one-second interval between STAGGERED riders is a policy
consistent with the recommendations of most traffic and safety agencies including
the Police.
STAGGERED motorcycles are considered to be in a “virtual” lane of their own, which
means that there is a two-second interval between motorcycles in a direct line. This
group riding technique requires all participants to constantly ANTICIPATE an
A safe lane position is defined as riding immediately to the right or left of lane centre.
This will keep the riders just off the centre oil stain, while maintaining the staggered
formation, distance between riders and other obstacles and providing necessary lane
discipline. It also allows the Lead Rider and the Back Markers a clear view of each
Traffic lanes

The Lead Rider will attempt to lead the group in a single carriageway when: the
traffic flow appears to be most consistent with the speed of the group (using lane
changes only when necessary to pass slower traffic or to avoid a hazardous
condition); and to avoid blocking faster surrounding traffic.
On dual carriageways and Motorways, the group will normally travel in the “SLOW”
lane, allowing faster traffic to pass on the right; except when overtaking slower traffic
on the left.

Lane changes and overtaking

On a multi-lane highway, the double row staggered formation will normally be
The Lead Rider will at times need to overtake on dual carriageways and motorways
and just because he pulls out into the outside lane to overtake it does not mean that
the rest of the pack has to pull out into the outside lane at the same time. This
causes traffic congestion and can be dangerous as frustrated drivers will then
attempt to use the inside lane as a means to overtake. You should wait in the
nearside lane until you personally encounter the obstruction, then overtake and join
the rest of the pack in the nearside lane.
On occasion, the Lead Rider may continue in the passing lane, while safe to do so,
allowing other riders to see that the way is clear for them to continue to overtake.
Occasionally, on a dual carriage way it is possible to make a group overtaking
manoeuvre. The Lead Rider will indicate to show it is his intention to change lanes.
The Back Marker will then change lanes at the first safe opportunity, protecting the
lane for the group, and allowing the Lead Rider to see that the lane is clear and
protected. We then change lanes using the “follow the leader “approach. The Lead
Rider will change lanes first followed by all other riders moving from the front to the
rear of the group. NOBODY, except the Back Marker, is to change lanes before the
Lead Rider. ALWAYS make a HEAD CHECK before you begin the lane change, and
maintain safe distances.
If for any reason the group becomes separated, merge safely back into the pack,
returning to your original position, using known good safety practices. Don’t feel it’s
necessary to break the world land speed record in trying to catch up. The Lead Rider
will be aware and adjust his speed accordingly.
Be certain the road is clear, and always make a LIFE SAVER immediately prior to
initiating any manoeuvre which may cause you to cross other road users.
The Lead Rider, your mirror, or what you saw just a second ago is no substitutes for
your own eyes and good judgment! Please remember that YOU, and ONLY YOU,
are RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR SAFETY. Also, that when dealing with our four
wheeled friends, you will never win a contest against them. It won’t do any good to
be “Dead Right”
Petrol, food, toilet breaks and tolls
If necessary, due to the length of the trip, petrol, food, and rest stops should be
discussed and scheduled prior to departure. These scheduled stops should be
adhered to as much as possible, depending on varying conditions as the trip

Deviation from the scheduled stops may be required due to varying weather, traffic,
and bladder conditions (availability of petrol, rider fatigue, and other unforeseen
If toll stops are included, money is usually collected in advance so that only one
person will pay for everyone at the toll booth to save time. We will then re-group in a
safe place on the far side of the toll both, there is usually a layby in the toll area.
Remember to avoid the centre of the lane when nearing or passing through a
tollbooth. They are usually extremely slick.
Unscheduled and emergency stops
Unscheduled stops for petrol, restroom, or rider fatigue can lead to confusion in the
group, and confusion can lead to accidents. The Lead Rider should be informed that
a stop is necessary in order to lead the group in an organised fashion to the next
convenient and safe place to stop.
Any rider with an equipment problem should inform one of the Marshalls as quickly,
and as safely as possible. When the Lead Rider is informed, he will stop the group at
the earliest possible moment, when and where it is safe.
If the rider must pull over immediately, ONLY the Rear Marshall will accompany that
rider to a stop. The Lead Rider should be informed if he is not aware of this situation.
Once the Lead Rider is informed, he will pull the group over as soon as it is safe to
do so.
Any rider observing a problem with another rider’s equipment should inform that rider
as quickly and safely as possible. If it appears that a stop is necessary, a Marshall
should also be notified.