Car Only Formations

Sometimes the Club will drive somewhere together, whether we just ride to the mall, or out to eat. Other times we will be having a cookout at another location than the Clubhouse, in which case most will meet up at the Clubhouse and travel there together. The standard procedure therefore is that the Chapter or Club President will lead the group unless a "Ryde Captain" is designated first, then he would lead followed by the President. 

If You’re the Ryde Captain

So, what steps should one take when leading with one's car?

Step 1:Make sure your car, as well as the others all have (if possible) the Hatchetman or Club Logo, this makes it easier to follow and keep a formation. This also allows others on the road to know that these cars are likely together, therefore increases the chances the group will not be split by outsiders.

Step 2: Should someone cut into the line of cars, they should NOT be forced off the road or intimidated. The ride captain should slow the convoy (to a reasonable degree, 12mph on an interstate is a little overkill) allowing the car ahead, and behind the Outsider to "close up" and encourage the Outsider to leave the row.   

Step 3: Make sure the drivers following you have a general understanding of where you are all going, an idea of the rough travel time, and basic information on what to look for along the way. Since you don't need to give them directions, simply make sure they are aware of any quick action that might need to be taken or any major landmarks that might help with comfort level. 

Leading, Not Leaving

These next few tips don't really need to be followed in order as much as they just need to be followed by the leader. The leader should maintain a safe and consistent speed. Keep up with the speed limit but consciously keep yourself from going too quickly. Remember that you know where you are going and can easily fall into your pattern and zip right off. Check your mirrors every few seconds to make sure you are leading and not leaving.

A consistent speed can help you with traffic lights as the other party should be fairly close. Don't rush up to an intersection. Be patient. That way should a light turn yellow, you will both either be able to stop easily or make it safely through the intersection without running the light. If the person following you is far enough back that he may possibly not make a light, slow a little when approaching the intersection in anticipation of the light changing.

The last little bit of this comes into play if none of the preparation pays off and the group is actually stopped by the light. Go ahead and find a safe place on the side of the road or in a parking lot to stop and wait for the other cars.

Sending Signals

Most routes are not very cut and dry. Many times there are multiple lane changes or someone just going slow and impeding your progress. Try to telegraph any turns or lane changes with your blinker. Turn that blinker on when you have barely even thought about making your move. That will help the other driver be able to plan his or her own move. Action taken at the last minute will usually put everyone in the second car in danger. The more lead time you can give-- the better. Just be sure to keep things minimal. Trying to zip around any car that might be in your way could send the wrong signals to the person following you. They could get in the wrong lane while trying to keep up, and completely miss an exit or a turn.

Ferocious Following

There are also some things you as the follower can do to keep yourself on the right track and make things easier on the lead cars.

Keep a safe distance, but make an effort to keep up. There is no need to speed, but the threat of stoplights should keep you within at least two or so car lengths of the car in front of you.

And try to read the signals of the person you are following. Be cautious but don't delay lane changes. Also, when on a highway or interstate, you can use your vehicle to facilitate a hassle free trip. When your leader turns on his or her blinker, you can take it upon yourself to safely move to the projected lane in order to clear an area into which the leader may merge.

Sticking with these simple rules and using a little common sense can build trust between leader and follower and bond the two into a formidable convoy. This guide was using a "Two Car" pattern, but can be used with any number, remember, unless you are the Ryde Captain or last in the convoy. You are both the leader and follower to someone.

If the Road Captain pulls over to the side of the road STAY IN FORMATION and pull over behind him. If stopped by police, the Road Captain and the senior club officer present will deal with them -- everyone else keep your mouth shut unless specifically asked a question by the officer.

Short Checklist for Group Riding:

- Arrive early
- Arrive with a full tank of gas
- Be certain your car is in safe, reliable operating condition
- Communicate your intentions
- Be prepared for any weather
- Be prepared for an emergency
- Ride your own ride
- Know who you are riding with
- Make sure they ride THEIR own ride
- Hand out maps or route sheets if needed
- Allow as much space for yourself and others as you would riding alone
- Don’t follow any rider closer than the distance that rider is following the vehicle in front of them
- Allow other riders to pass you
- Pass only on the left
- Pass only when you are certain you have enough room
- Respect the space of others