Going on a motorycle tour should be something to look forward to, an exciting event in our lives. We do however, appreciate that for many people, particularly, those on their first organised tour to the continent, it can be nerve-wracking. One of the best parts of going on an organised tour is that you are riding your bike on your own but within a group of other like minded folk. It is an individual pastime and also a team pastime - both are equally important.
Group riding is fantastic fun. We have taken groups from the UK all the way down to Montenegro in the Balkans, from the UK to the Sahara Desert, etc. The majority of the time we ride with a lead rider ( a guide) and a tail ender (this maybe a guide or a customer depending on size of group and tour). If we all follow some common sense rules regarding group riding then this usually goes pretty well. Here is a short list which will help with your group riding and make the experience enjoyable for all participants:
Do ride for yourself - you know your limits. Most importantly, ride at a speed you are happy with.
Don't ride to close together - self explanatory.
Do try and ride in an off-set stagger - particularly important on long straights and in town where there may be lots of traffic lights, junctions etc
Don't follow other riders overtakes - this is unfortunately a fairly common occurence. Just wait for another safe opportunity to overtake - it will come soon enough.
Do assess overtakes and corners for yourself - you have passed your test, you can ride a bike. Make your own decisions.
Don't leave the least experienced rider at the back , trying to keep up - On our tours, we are always more than happy to have less experienced riders, ride second in the group and forego marking corners until they feel more confident.
A couple of other obvious points are:
Make sure you are following the right bike/leader: This does happen from time to time. The Tour guides will all be wearing a Hi-Viz vest with a large British Bike Tours logo on the back but I still bet there will be someone on a tour this year who will start following a completely random bike!!
Do look after each other: Just stating the obvious, you look after the team and the team will look after you. Cliche but true and anyway it is what bikers do.
I could go on but I think these are most important points.
In the next blog I will explain the drop-off system of marking corners.
Have fun - stay safe. Despite the snow, I am sure Spring is just around the corner.