by Chuck Prettyman
Get Ready and Be In Shape!When we ride in a group we must assume responsibility for our fellow rider’s safety. Except for the first and last riders we have someone in front, behind and to our oblique that is counting on you. If you are too tired, out of shape (yes, it makes a difference), not fully sober, on strong medication that affects your reaction time, or otherwise distracted, you are a danger to yourself and those around you. Before the riding season starts, prepare your body and mind with a trip or two or more to the gym or get some exercise at home. Increase your walking, break a sweat (besides THAT) and get the blood moving.
Everyone you ride with is counting on you to be prepared. A bald tire, a mirror that is not adjusted, or loose hardware or luggage that may fall off are as bad as oil spills to the riders around you.
How many times have you heard someone say, “There’s nothing like looking in the mirror and seeing a line of bikes following your lead?” It’s a road captain’s high (for some). On the other hand, the tail gunner gets to see the symmetry, flow and grace of a group going down the road through the turns and curves as well as the gaffs. From that perspective one can realize how each rider is dependent on the other; how we take for granted the skills that our co-riders will contribute to another successful ride. It’s a beautiful sight! Which brings to mind that in addition to being prepared and our rides are ready to roll, we should take time to share some tips, experiences and suggestions to co-riders. If one sees a bike with bare spots on a tire, a loose or missing bolt, a license plate or mirror not secure or gear not properly stored take the time to not only mention it, but offer to help correct what you can.
Diplomatically offer riding tips when you feel there is a need. Most of us will appreciate the suggestions. You are important because you care, because others depend on you and because my ass in on the line when I’m with you.