If you’re considering taking one of these tours then you’ve already decided what you’re looking for,the bikers holy grail of amazing scenery and great roads, and these come in bucketloads. Naturally you want to have fun, ride at a good pace, and return home safely, so to take into account potential differences in skill level and experience, speeds, and capabilities within the group, we ride to a system, which is crucial to the smooth running of the tour, and to ensure everyones safety and enjoyment.
I start this process by asking everyone to complete a questionnaire to try and ascertain peoples experience in advance, and in order to try and create an homogenous group, but whatever your skill level or that of others in the group, don’t worry, no-one will get left behind, and everyone will be able to ride at their own pace and take time to stop for photos ( you’ll take lots!), without the worry of being pressurised into riding beyond your abilities, or being left behind. Here’s how:
The “Drop Off” system
– or how to make sure no-one gets lost!
I employ the “drop-off” system, as employed by the I.A.M groups I used to ride with in the UK. Here’s how it works:
I will have a mobile phone with me at all times, and this number will be given to everyone at the start of the tour, this way you will always be able to contact me at any time during the day.
I will give everyone details of major stopping points along the way so in the extreme case someone does get lost, they know where we are going or the next place to aim for.
At EVERY junction or turn, I will indicate to the the person in second position ie. directly behind me, to pull over and stop at that junction to indicate the direction of travel to those riders following behind. This person ( junction marker ) will stay at the junction until such time as the designated tail ender (who will always remain in last position on the road) arrives. Once the junction marker sees the tail-ender arrive, he sets off again in front of the tail ender.
TAIL END CHARLIE-
The tail ender position will be designated at the start of each day and may be changed after each coffee/lunch/comfort break, but it is VERY IMPORTANT that they maintain that position on the road. If someone stops then they must stop too, if there is a problem then call me. Knowing that every junction will be marked and that the tail-ender is always the last on the road, means that the group can always ride at it’s own pace, and whether you can see someone ahead or not isn’t important, just ride at your own pace and enjoy the route!
Within the group it will soon become evident who the faster riders are, and they will probably work their way more frequently to the front of the group, Overtaking is important for the smooth operation of the group, so if you see a faster rider approaching, don’t feel pressured to ride faster to stay in front, let them past when safe to do so. Overtakers should always ensure that their manoeuvres are safe and courteous both to other riders in the group and other road users.