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Thread: Road Run Protocols - Seeking Opinions

  1. #1
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    Default Road Run Protocols - Seeking Opinions

    With increased participation in local chapter runs, I'd like to collect comments from others in an effort to improve the experience for all participants. With a lower number of riders, problems are less likely but as numbers grow to say 18-24, things tend to get more complicated.
    I would like opinions on the following (or anything else you can think of) assuming average of 20 antique riders with varied experience.

    1. Procedure if someone breaks down. No sweep truck. Who stops, who continues, and for how long?

    2. Group gets separated at traffic light or intersection. Person who happens to end up in front is not sure of route as to that point they were followers. Others who pulled out disappear from sight.

    3. Should the practice of a rider(s) using their bike as a "traffic blocker" to allow whole group to pull out of an intersection be applied? Safety? Legality?

    4. What should maximum travel distance in time and/or miles be in between rest and/or gas stops.

    5. Maximum safe travel speed? Problem is a night and day range in technology in "Antique" when it comes to motorcycles. Folks on "modern" antiques usually want to go faster. Older bikes and older riders prefer slower pace. What speed takes precedence?

    6. What are key things a Run sponsor/leader should be in control of?
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    jason - great questions! i will give you my opinion but i'm certainly no expert. i'm sure there are lots of thoughts on these. WHAT A GREAT TOPIC FOR AN ARTICLE IN OUR CLUB MAGAZINE! hopefully our more experienced road run participants will chime in. i will say your chapter put on a great run in wellsboro a number of years ago so ask richard and curt and whoever else was in charge.

    i have gone on a small number of road runs and regularly ride with a group of maybe 8-15 on weekends, half antiques.

    1 - as a generalization, i would guess - guess only - that most people go on these runs with at least one friend, so use the buddy system. preparation is the first step in not breaking down but stuff happens so plan for it. if you are in a group, stick with the person you came with and stop for each other. it's a tough call as to who keeps going because usually the person in the lead knows the route, so if you're in the back and don't know where you're going then you probably want to blow by the guy on the side of the road. so hand out a list of phone numbers of local riders to the group in case they need to call someone - eventually people check their phones and someone can hopefully get you or help you if needed.

    2 - happens every time and did to me this summer. if you're leading then you should make sure you have the whole group. not so easy if 60 bikes are following you, so break it into smaller groups or intersperse your local riders within the group so if you get split up someone knows the route. lead rider should pull over in a safe place with a long line of bikes at a short light and wait until everyone is through. maybe you can have another local rider in the rear and they can head to the front of the stopped riders to let the leader know everyone is ready, then drop back. or just have smaller groups go out with at least one person who knows the route. at a minimum everyone should have a map of the route and phone numbers of locals.

    3 - legally who knows but check local/state rules. safety wise probably not a great idea, although i have done it. in this day and age so many people are distracted-driving that i don't want to be out there any more. i have also seen people in cars get so ticked that they have blown right around the stopped rider and joined the line of bikes. i lean against it.

    4 - for older slower bikes probably 20-25 miles is good just for a break. guessing fuel every 50 miles would cover everyone?

    5 - posted speed limit. its a LIMIT not a requirement, although i get pissy whenever anyone in front of me doesn't get to the limit. also bike dependent - a teen's bike generally isn't going to do too well on a 55 mph road and a 74' bike is going to be torture on a long 30mph road. i think having a majority of the roads topping at 40-45 (a few fast, a few slower) will make most people happy and the 'teens bikes can do whatever speed they feel comfortable

    6 - safety first always. well maintained roads, minimal hazards, low traffic levels and away from construction and cities are generally the best routes. fun! having good destinations like an interesting museum, bike shop, food stops, scenery.

    that's my two cents

  3. #3
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    Great thread! I first have to say I've never been on any road run. But, I personally don't like riding my antiques on roads with high traffic OR 55mph speed limits (with everyone doing 65). I don't ride over 40-45 mph on either one of my VLs (1930 & 1936). Sure, they could go faster, but it isn't about the speed, I just enjoy riding along minding my own business. That is my .02 for question #5.
    Jim

    AMCA #6520

  4. #4
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    Thank you surfdude for the detailed response. All excellent info. And Jim your comment on speed reflects my opinion.

    A little more background on my question. I started in 2017 season as chapter event coordinator which entails maintaining a schedule, communicating event details to members, and aiding sponsors with planning rides when needed all in an effort to encourage more participation. My goal for 2018 is to get some consistency from ride to ride so participants learn what to anticipate and hopefully improve enjoyment, especially for first timers. This topic did get touched on at our Fall chapter meeting last weekend.

    Since I'm only into AMCA for 5 years I have developed my own opinions after a few thousand miles and observing good practices and ones I hear people complain about. I've only been on one national road run but have talked to several others that have been on many. There is a BIG variation between how a leader chooses to lead a group of antiques.

    I also thought it would be a good idea for the magazine to cover some basic guidelines. With so many new members in the national it surely would be helpful. It can be intimidating enough for a new person to trust their own skills if they have a tank-shift bike let alone in a group ride.

    Other opinions?
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
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    If you feel you must have Group rides the Coast Riders Motorcycle Club of British Columbia have a pretty comprehensive set of guidelines. But note they consider a "Group" to be 4 to 6 riders and if there are more - you suggested 18 to 24 - they must be split up into the smaller numbers.

    Traffic density almost anywhere these days precludes, in my view anyway, the 2 dozen or so riders in a group which we could get away OK with back in the 50s and 60s. In the 4 National Road Runs I have managed to attend, (1999 to 2007) I have always used the provided maps and route sheets, supplemented with a good large scale local map and found my own way around without any difficulty. Not trying to be anti-social, but riding in a group at somebody else's desired speed, and often closer to other bikes than I would like, does not let me enjoy the scenery.

    If you need a copy of the Coast Riders stuff and cannot find their web side let me know by Private Message and send me your Email.
    AFJ
    Last edited by AFJ; 11-08-2017 at 06:13 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
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    Jason,
    Common sense covers most of it.
    1) Break downs, everyone has a cell phone. If it is not a supported run everyone should have a personal back up plan. Discuss beforehand.
    2) Distribute a route map. Everyone needs to know where they are going. If someone can't read a map they might consider staying home.
    3) Illegal and dangerous. Don't do it.
    4) Whatever is best for the group. For capable machines no more than an hour.
    5) Again it depends on the group. For all the nationals I have participated in and helped with the recommendation is small groups with similar machines. Do not try to keep everyone together on the road. It is a hazard to both the riders and to other drivers. Just schedule regular stops to rest, talk, and view the sights.
    6) Don't play "Road Captain". Get good information to the riders on route, stops, lunch, and emergency numbers. The rest will take care of itself.
    Robbie Knight Amca #2736

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    Rubone pretty much echoed my thoughts in a nutshell but I might add this, when on the open road you can stretch out a bit but when your group gets into a town big or small tighten it up so you don't get separated at lights and it's not a parade. Always keep an eye on the rider behind you and if your out front keep a pace that includes the slowest rider at the tail but they should be on the ball enough to keep up with the group I might add. Everyone should also act like their riding alone which means their machine should be fit, they should know where their going and how to get there, and think of the group as you would yourself.
    DrSprocket

  8. #8
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    Saltsburg PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by AFJ View Post
    If you feel you must have Group rides the Coast Riders Motorcycle Club of British Columbia have a pretty comprehensive set of guidelines. But note they consider a "Group" to be 4 to 6 riders and if there are more - you suggested 18 to 24 - they must be split up into the smaller numbers.

    Traffic density almost anywhere these days precludes, in my view anyway, the 2 dozen or so riders in a group which we could get away OK with back in the 50s and 60s. In the 4 National Road Runs I have managed to attend, (1999 to 2007) I have always used the provided maps and route sheets, supplemented with a good large scale local map and found my own way around without any difficulty. Not trying to be anti-social, but riding in a group at somebody else's desired speed, and often closer to other bikes than I would like, does not let me enjoy the scenery.

    If you need a copy of the Coast Riders stuff and cannot find their web side let me know by Private Message and send me your Email.
    AFJ
    I found the guidelines AFJ. Thanks! Great info for reference and goes into finer details. Even though its for modern bikes it is applicable in many cases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rubone View Post
    Jason,
    Common sense covers most of it.
    1) Break downs, everyone has a cell phone. If it is not a supported run everyone should have a personal back up plan. Discuss beforehand.
    2) Distribute a route map. Everyone needs to know where they are going. If someone can't read a map they might consider staying home.
    3) Illegal and dangerous. Don't do it.
    4) Whatever is best for the group. For capable machines no more than an hour.
    5) Again it depends on the group. For all the nationals I have participated in and helped with the recommendation is small groups with similar machines. Do not try to keep everyone together on the road. It is a hazard to both the riders and to other drivers. Just schedule regular stops to rest, talk, and view the sights.
    6) Don't play "Road Captain". Get good information to the riders on route, stops, lunch, and emergency numbers. The rest will take care of itself.
    Thanks Robbie - Always right to the point! Your comment on #5 about not trying to keep everyone together sure makes sense. That's one thing we try to do but has proven very challenging at times and attempting to do so tends to make people do things that increase safety risk. Easier with small group but not practical with larger group. Better pre ride information, maps, etc.

    Again much appreciated to all that reply.
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
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    Vancouver, Canada
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    The dedicated "guiding lights" of the Evergreen Chapter who have organized and hosted many great AMCA National Road Runs over the years have developed a Road Run planning guide that is available on our Chapter website:

    http://www.evergreenamca.org/road-ru...heck-list.html

    Although it does not address some of your on the road safety concerns, it is a useful planning outline for a big event like a National Road Run.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    N. Huntingdon PA
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    I think Rich O and Robbie said it right. Safety first and common sense.

    After years of riding on group motorcycle rides such as Toy and Memorial Runs, AMCA National Road Runs and Allegheny Mountain Chapter Road Runs and others, the one thing that runs through all these rides is the organizer(s) can’t please everyone on the ride. I have heard: “Too fast; too slow; too many turns; rough roads; too much traffic; no map; too many stops; not enough stops; I only have a two gallon tank; I’m low on gas; I’m out of gas; I only get 25 miles a gallon; the guy in front of me was going too slow; the guy in front of me was going to fast; how will I get home if I break down? Why did you cancel the ride with only a 40% chance of rain?” And it can go on and on. Of course there are answers or responses to each of these complaints and questions. Ride sponsors can use their judgment on how best to respond to their members.

    These are my observations from participating in Allegheny Mountain Chapter Roads Runs for many years. The observations may not apply to AMCA National Road Runs.

    The number of participants and their experience on the ride makes a big difference in the success of the ride. Up to 15 riders can make for an enjoyable experience. A group this size is manageable for keeping the group together and back together if there is a short separation. More than 15 participants and when the group reaches over 20 riders, problems can arise like all those mentioned on this thread. For larger groups, the organizer(s) may have to consider splitting the groups into smaller ones. But the logistics increase when this occurs with more leaders and maps required. Given the difficulty in getting a local Chapter member to sponsor a ride, if the individual ride sponsor will be responsible for all the logistics of a large group, you could end up with no one wanting to sponsor a ride within your Chapter.

    2) Not every participant is riding a bike similar to the others in the group. Nor does every rider have the same skill and endurance level. There is no simple answer for this situation. Some have large gas tanks. Others small ones. More gas and rest stops? Maybe. But what does the sponsor do? Send out a questionnaire before the ride. Of course not. The participants have to speak up if they have special needs because of their ride.

    3) We have found that a Chapter ride of 75-100 miles round trip with a gas and lunch stop is reasonable for most of our Members. And always start the ride from a gas station or where the start is near a station and insist that all riders start with a full tank of gas. If one or more of the riders have small tanks, ask how far they can go before a gas stop and plan accordingly.

    4) Try to ride on rural roads if possible. We are lucky in Western PA where our Chapter is situated that we don’t have to go far to reach rural roads. If you ride a rural road, there is less of a chance of the group getting separated at a stop sign or red light. If separation occurs, the ride leader should slow down or pull off the road in a safe place and wait for the rest of the group. As others have said here, blocking traffic for the group to stay together can be risky especially if the oncoming traffic is not motorcycle friendly. To be safe, avoid blocking traffic. Also, it is illegal in most states. If you must travel on high traffic roads, the sponsor/leader must remain aware of separations that can occur and slow down or pull off safely and wait for the group to reform before proceeding .

    5) Group rides are social events designed for the participants to have fun while riding their old bikes. Perhaps in areas where you have never ridden a motorcycle. Chapter Members and others will volunteer to sponsor a ride in their geographical areas if the planning and organizing is held to a minimum. Each participant has an obligation to make the ride fun for the group by minimizing the risks of running out of gas, maintaining their motorcycles and making the best if something happens on the ride. And we all know, things can happen when we ride our old bikes whether in a group or by ourselves.

    5). Speed on the ride is a judgment call. Our current Chapter rule is the posted speed limit but not more than 50 mph. We try to stay off roads with speed limits in excess of 50 mph. Personally, I believe speeds between 40-50 mph are ideal. It gives the rider and passenger time to enjoy the ride and look around. Slower than 40 mph (unless required because of the situation or speed limit) usually results in a lot of shifting and being “between speeds” which takes away from the fun of the ride. In a group ride, like Rich O, I think it is very important that every rider try to stay close (but not too close) to the rider in front. That way there is less chance of the group getting separated if there is a turn up the road or the rider in the back of the group complaining that he has to ride 65 mph to catch up.

    6) What to do if someone breaks down. Unfortunately, unless a Chapter or group has someone willing to drive a chase vehicle behind the group of riders, helping the unfortunate rider who breaks down presents a challenge. The most important rule if someone breaks down: All members of the group should NOT stop at the breakdown site. One or two friends or riders should stop if it is safe to do so and off the road. All others should proceed and stop beyond the breakdown when it is safe to do so off the road. Usually after a short wait, one of the riders who stopped will come forward and explain the situation. If safe to do so, one of the group that passed the breakdown can return to the area and assess the situation. Hopefully, the breakdown was temporary. If not, the owner and friends should make arrangements to transport the bike home. That’s an unfortunate situation but there really is no alternative. Once arrangements are made by the owner owner and friends for transporting the bike, the rest of the group should proceed with the ride.

    A lot of what I said is common sense. Others may have ideas and comments. A group ride can be fun for all if everyone uses common sense. And please always thank your volunteer ride sponsors/leaders for giving you the opportunity to ride your old bike in an area that you may never have ridden before. Ride safe...

    Richard
    Richard Spagnolli
    AMCA #6153

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