An Introduction to Group Rides


An Introduction to Group Ridesgroup ride

When SAM Group Rides are announced, they will include a 'Ride Level' rating which indicates the pace. The following document outlines the various levels of Group Rides, The Marker System and what you may expect when riding them.


Ride Levels


Level 1: 

On a Level 1 Ride, National Speed Limits may be achieved when the situation permits. Minor roads will be ridden at a gentler pace and more frequent stops may be made.

Level 1 for riders who are new to SAM and group riding or any rider who wishes to build their confidence. None IAM / SAM Members are limited to one Level 1 ride after assessment.


Level 2: 

National speed limits will be achieved when safe but bends and other hazards may be taken at an easier pace. Stops may be made at reasonable intervals.

Level 2 for riders who are comfortable with riding in groups or Associates who want the opportunity to practice their skills between Observed rides.


Level 3: 

Describes a run that would best suit confident and experienced riders who have a high skill set and are able to make good safe progress in all traffic conditions on all types of roads, and are able to ride for longer periods without stopping.

Level 3 for riders who are approaching Test Ready and have agreement from their Observer, Green Badge holders and higher who want to ride with riders at a smilar level.


If Local / National Observers are on a group ride they can be approached and asked if they would comment on your ride, which they will only too pleased to help and give you constructive feedback to help keep up your advanced riding skills.  Likewise Green Badge holders who's advanced riding skills have fallen below standard maybe approached by an Observer.


Associates who are not sure what level of Ride to go on should discuss this with their Observers, some Observers may advise their associate not to join a Group Rides until their riding skill has increased to ensure they go on Rides which are best suited in building more confidence.



In-Group Overtaking


On SAM Group Ride Level 1 you do overtake other participants.  On Level's 2 & 3 overtaking within the Group Ride is permitted and must always be carried out in a safe and curtious manner.


Riders should, of course, keep an eye on their mirrors and, if overtaking is permitted and a rider feels that they are slowing down another bike, they may invite the rider behind to overtake. If a rider is not Riding at an Advanced level, then rider(s) in the group should advise the run leader / back marker.


On overtaking participants should not obstruct an overtaking rider and should act in accordance with the Highway Code.


If you are going to pass another participant, you should do it sensibly and responsibly, allowing plenty of clearance as an Advanced Rider would be expected to do.



The Marker System


SAM Group Rides use the Marker (aka Second Man Drop Off) system to indicate the route. This enables groups of more than three or four bikes to keep the Ride going if the bikes get spread out a bit.


The basic rule is to follow the road ahead, so when the route diverges from the main road or it is not clear where to go, the Leader will put down a Marker to inform other riders of the correct direction.


The Leader will make a clear signal to the rider behind him by raising his arm, then pointing to where he wants the Marker to stop at giving them as much time as reasonably possible to come to a halt and mark.


The position that the Marker is put in should be clearly visible to the following Riders, it is therefore important for Riders to be aware that they should stop where instructed to do so.


If a Rider resonaly feels a Marker should be placed and has not then a following Rider should Mark by placing themselves to help the other Riders in the group.


When the Back Marker reaches the Marker, they will slow to allow the Marker to pull away. The Marker whyen waiting for the Back Marker should be ready to ride away in anticipation.  Note that if it would be too hazardous for the Back Marker to allow the Marker to pull away, the Back Marker will stop as soon as possible in front of the Marker and allow them to re-pass.


If you haven't seen the rider behind you for a few minutes, perhaps slow down so they come back into view. If they still don't appear, slow down a little more or consider finding a safe place to pull over and wait. This means that, if there's a problem, this will work its way up to the Leader who will then contact the Back Marker or back-track to find out what the problem is.


Because of this, Markers need to remember that they must stay in place until they're picked up by the Back Marker since, if eg someone's stopped because of a breakdown, others may have also stopped to render assistance and if the Marker gets bored and decides to carry on, the following riders will not know where to turn!



The Purpose of Group Rides


Group Rides are Training Rides and social events with a route to practice keeping your Advanced Riding Skills with other IAM / SAM Members and it's perfectly permissible to ask if there are any Observers on the Ride who would be willing to position themselves behind you in the Group (double-marking at junctions etc when necessary) so they can offer you constructive feedback on your riding.



More Information


The Announce may also contain other information and details of the ride & roads to be used.


Click here for "Help to Plan a Ride".


Click here for "I Will Lead a Ride".

SAM have Orange Hi-Vis waistcoats for Ride Leaders & Back Markers for use on SAM rides, the Leader and Back Markers must use them on SAM Group Rides please email Andy Anderson for yours (including size required) to collect at SAM Sunday or Club Night.  Other collection / delivery can be arranged.

If you have any questions about Group Rides or you wish to Lead a Ride yourself, please feel free to contact me and I will do my best to help. 
Andy Anderson - Group Rides Co-Ordinator at group-rides



Sponsored by Andy Anderson

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