Riding The Zipper and Dragging the Pegs

A couple of things that bikers seem to enjoy doing, ride the zipper and dragging the pegs. I have to admit, that I enjoy the latter quite a bit when riding alone, but recently when one of the HBMM presidents asked my opinion about what some of his guys were asking for, my answer may surprise you.

The statement had been made to him that the group wanted to ride harder when they rode together. A little more "dragging the pegs" and a little more high speed scoot on the straight aways. This is great when you are alone or with a couple of your trusted friends, but it is a whole lot different story when you are riding with a group of people from church. For that matter, it changes a lot when you are riding with a large group. Even personal, church, and group liabilities come into play in addition to the safety issues.

I remember the first time I rode with Run For The Wall from California to Washington, DC. I heard the Road Guards admonishing everyone to make sure that they stayed off the zipper. That is that dashed white line running down the middle of the road. They explained how even your pegs hanging over that line can cause trucks to over compensate when passing us and cause problems for others. It did not take long before I saw this first hand. A truck passing a rider a little way ahead of me swung wide to the right and got off the left shoulder slinging rocks and dirt high into the air for everyone behind him to dodge. The seemingly innocent action of one caused problems for the whole group behind him.

Riding with a group should never be done to

please an individual at the expense of others!

This is especially true when we are riding with a bunch of people that may not ride as much as others. When riding with a group of riders from church or a large group in general, you should lower the bar for the safety of all who ride. Even seasoned riders can make mistakes or have mechanical failures. I know this first hand. Plus a seasoned rider may be better equipped to react to the problems others may have, but odds are there will be those riding with you who cannot react appropriately. This is an unacceptable liability for those who plan the ride, the church, and HBMM.

Let those who want to take a ride on the wild side do that on their own and save your wild riding for when you are not leading a group. We get to make enough hospital visits without trying to make them happen on our own.

Just a few hints to remember when you lead a group of riders:

  • Take into consideration the skill levels of those that you ride with.
  • Do not assume that everyone has the same skills that you do
  • Have a meeting right before mounting up.
  • Review hand signals before the ride
  • Make sure everyone knows where you are going and the route you will take and what road and weather conditions they should expect.
  • On a long trip plan ahead for how to handle breakdowns
  • As a general rule the lead bikes will need to go slower to allow for the whip affect in a large group
  • If your group is large, consider breaking it down to smaller platoons with space in between each platoon.

So what kind of ideas do you have to make the ride safer?

Post a comment to add more ideas…

– R. Duane Gryder

HBMM National Leadership Team