Group bike rides important guidelines

Group ride’s introduction:

In this busy world it is very important to have like-minded people come together and form a group. Secondly, it’s a blessing if you often spend time with the group. The best thing is when you can do road trips with groups. This experience is parallel to none.

Similarly, I am blessed to be a part of the wonderful group “Harley Boyz”. It’s a small group and we all live in the same city. Many times, we organise a group road trip, be it a breakfast ride on Sunday’s, a coffee ride in the evening’s, overnighter to some nearby destinations or several days in Spiti, Jaisalmer or Leh-Ladakh. Some or all from the group join such wonderful trips from time to time.

I presume everybody knows the excitement and importance of group rides. I am here to talk about the organisation of such group rides and key factors to keep in mind. Of course, I consider that a group here consists of like-minded people. It’s important to outline the group rides guidelines for the safety of everyone on the road.

Group rides formation:

After doing so many group rides, sometimes outside our main group, I learned a lot from everyone. The formation and communication between the riders are especially important. Normally we divide the riders into three levels as per experience:

  1. Advanced
  2. Intermediate
  3. Beginner

There are several positions in riding:

  1. Lead
  2. Sweep
  3. Marshal
  4. All other riders
Lead rider:

This position is particularly important, one of the advanced riders should take the lead of the rides. There can be only one lead at any given point of time. Lead must know the route, and sometimes alternative routes as well, it’s important to take quick detour decisions in case of any emergency both inside and outside the group. The lead rider should also be well versed with the riding signals. No other rider in the group should overtake the lead rider. Summary of things to be considered by the lead rider:

  1. Route – plan A and plan B
  2. Mileage
  3. Speed limits
  4. Count of all the riders in the group
  5. Hand signals
  6. Timing for fuel up, refreshment breaks
  7. Consider the speed of the beginners and try to make ride comfortable for them
  8. Road conditions
  9. Frequent communication with sweep and marshal riders
Marshal riders:

After the lead comes the marshals. These riders should be advanced level riders too because they could be a backup lead or sweep riders. The key role of the marshals is to make sure all riders are in the formation comfortably. There can be more than one or no marshal in a group ride, considering the size of the group. Be watchful to every rider from Lead to Sweep. Important summary of marshal’s role:

  1. Formation
  2. Avoiding outside vehicles to get inside the rally, preventing group from breaking
  3. Minimizing the increased gap in between riders over the time
  4. Communication with Lead and Sweep riders, reporting about the overall group status
  5. Keeping rogue elements on the road away from the group
Sweep rider:

The rider in this position should be at an advanced level and an example of patience. This position requires a lot of patience. The sweep rider must always be at the last position of the rally. The idea should be that no one is left behind.

  1. Sweep riders from behind
  2. Communicate immediately to the lead in case any rider wants to stop
  3. Stopping any other vehicle from making the wrong overtake. Always gives pass only if sufficient space is there.
All other riders:

All other riders whether Advanced, Intermediate or beginner should stay behind the lead rider and stay ahead of the sweep rider. They must pass signals received from the rider ahead to the rider behind. Signals passing is very important. Form lines and do not try to overtake fellow riders until necessary. Please follow these group rides guidelines for safe travel.


1. When I talk about keeping frequent communication between Lead – Sweep – Marshals, it can be done through signals and talking on communication devices as well. There are many Bluetooth /intercom helmet accessories available in the market and these devices allow multiple riders to form a constant communication channel in between them. Lead – Sweep and Marshals should be part of the same communication channel.

2. When I say follow the formations and listen to your riders, I mean to follow it strictly, because it will increase the safety of all the fellow riders.

3. For long rides it is normal to have backup Lead – Sweep – Marshals, whenever one wants to take some rest can switch positions and come inside the rally. Communicate to others about the interchange.

4. Everyone is a champion rider whether solo or in a group. But once you are in a group, please don’t bring your ego in between, because listening to other riders will only teach you something. Follow the rules and increase the safety for yourself and your fellow riders.

5. These group rides guidelines are outlined from my own personal experience and learning.

6. To check list of items on any road trip please click here >>

Feel free to write to me at [email protected] for any suggestion or question.

Check one picture of our small group on Spiti-valley ride from Delhi in the month of May 2022:

Spiti valley ride. group rides guidelines. India bike rides

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