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2015 COG National Rally FNG (First National Group) notes and suggestions
First and foremost is safety. Yours and everyone on the road. The following are some suggestions to help make your experience a lot of fun with minimal hassle. A lot of these tips you probably already know but a refresher doesn’t hurt. Most Sport Touring riders are not parade or big group riders. Try to keep group sizes under 10 and of similar styles.
- Ride the pace. Yours. Do not feel the need to keep up if you are not comfortable with the other’s pace. If the pace is slow to you let your group lead know you will meet them ahead and where. Discuss your pace at the riders meeting. The only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked. Make sure everyone understands the routes, planned stops etc. Some go for flower sniffing at a leisurely pace and stop often. Some ride spiritedly and only stop when they run out of gas. Have a plan and make sure you are with the right group.
- When riding in a group on straights run a staggered formation. Single file in the turns. If you feel crowded by a rider behind you give a wave and let them pass safely. Do not pressure the rider in front of you. Flash your light’s and execute a safe pass AFTER the rider in front has acknowledged you. Always pass on the left. There is nothing worse than staining your tightey whiteys when a rider comes out of nowhere passing you on an uncorked bike at redline 6 inches off of your elbow.
- Never, ever, stop in the road. Always head check for others when pulling off of the road. Use your turn signals.
- When making a turn in a group make sure the rider behind has seen you turn. Wait if needed. Know your position in the group.
- When in a group watch your mirrors. If you haven’t seen anyone behind you for a mile or 2 slow down. If still no appearance after another mile or 2 pull to the side and wait 2 minutes. If still no appearance turn around.
- If you are the rider that was being waited on and everything is OK pull over to the side and wait. Do not turn around to catch up. That is called a merry go ‘round. Let the leads turn around and give a thumbs up or OK sign to them as they pass. If something is wrong hold up a closed fist to let them know you have an issue and to stop.
- Don’t be rude to someone that was going to slow/fast. A simple discussion is all that is needed. If someone wants to have that discussion with you keep an open mind. Not everyone likes Brussel sprouts.
- Be prepared. Make sure you, your bike and your gear are prepared. Make sure you are covered in the event of cold, rain, sun. If the plan is to leave at 8 AM gassed up and ready be that way at 8 AM. Don’t hold back a group while you are getting gas and checking tire pressures.
- Stay on the route. If you have problems or get lost stay on the route.
- The Volunteers helping to guide these rides are just that. Volunteers. They and COG are not responsible for your safety or skills. You are.
In your rally bag will be a 3 foot length of surveyor’s ribbon. If you are having trouble tie the ribbon on your handle bars on the left side of your bike. This will identify you as needing help and not stopped for pictures or other things. If you see a bike with this identifier please render assistance. It’s good karma.
Below are some common hand signals:
- Thumbs up or OK sign; all’s good.
- Closed fist; Need to stop.
- Point to side of road and point to gas tank; Need to gas.
- Point forward; Will meet you ahead.
- Palm forward left hand held high; Look Out ahead.
- Palm back left hand held down; Slow down.
- Left hand palm tapping top of head; LEO ahead.
- Left toe/Right toe pointed out: Hazard in road left/right.
Example: I need to stop for a bio break. I point at myself, hold up a closed fist, point at you then point ahead and give you a thumbs up. I need to stop, you keep going and I’ll met you ahead, everything’s good.
I hope these tips help you to enjoy your rally experience. I’m sure there are many more that I missed but maybe this can be a conversation starter with some of the “Old Hands” (Why is he talking about Brussel Sprouts?)
2015 National Rally Meister