Babes Ride Out

First Responder | Advice from Dr. Jenny Kim of what to do when you see a rider down

SafetyAnya Violet

Accidents happen. We all do our best to avoid them and hope that we never are witness to one! Dr. Jenny Kim, our on site medic from BRO3, shares her first hand account of witnessing an accident and shares some key things of what to do and what not to do on the scene of an accident. 

 Photo by Lanakila Mcnaughton of Womens Moto Exhibit

Photo by Lanakila Mcnaughton of Womens Moto Exhibit

Babes Ride Out 3 was over.  The camp was deserted and the creaking of the wood shack that had been the first aid station seemed loud.  I loaded the last of the unused bandages, gauze, and ointments into my truck. 

I pulled out of the ghost town with my bike in tow and drove onto Sunfair Road.  What an incredible weekend it was.  I was joined by a group of talented women nurses, paramedics, and a firefighter that all shared a love of motorcycle riding to offer basic first aid to fellow riders.  We took shifts and took call at night treating road rash, pipe burns, corneal abrasions, and offered advice on general medical problems.  It was tremendously rewarding and gratifying.

Then suddenly, I saw settling dust ahead on the empty road.  I slowed down the truck as I approached.  There were two riders standing on the side of the road and one sitting on the ground.  Up ahead on the other side of the road was a motorcycle down on its side.

I pulled over and rushed over to the riders.  As I got closer, I assessed the area.  It was empty of cars, there was no debris or fuel on the road.  All three riders were off to the side of the road.  The rider on the ground was sitting, helmet off, moving all her limbs and talking coherently. 

If you ride, you have been or know someone who has been in a motorcycle accident. Motorcycle crashes can cause serious physical and emotional injuries.  If you are witness to a motorcycle accident, there are actions that you can take to decrease injury to the rider down.  Anyone can be of help and make a difference.  Below is a limited basic starting point and does not take the place of a medical professional or advanced emergency training.

1)    Take a breath and stay calm.  The rider down may be scared and in panic.  They need you to be cool and rational.

2)    Assess the situation then call 911.  Every minute counts.  Listen carefully.  Answer their questions clearly and succinctly.

3)    Protect yourself and keep yourself out of danger.  Make the area safe to help.  If, there are other bystanders, instruct them to warn traffic.

4)    Move the rider only if they are in imminent danger, such as fire or on coming traffic.

5)    If the rider is conscious, talk to them.  Reassure them and be encouraging.  Hold their hand so they know that you are there for them. 

6)    The rider may be going into shock.  Cover them to keep them warm.

7)    Don’t remove their helmets.  They may have cervical spine or spinal cord injuries.  Removing their helmet may cause further damage.  Only remove the helmet if it is a life and death situation, such as not breathing.

8)    If there is bleeding, elevate the limb and use pressure with a clean cloth.

9)    Do not give them anything to eat or drink.  If they lose consciousness, they may aspirate or choke.  Also, the rider may need emergency surgery.  Surgery is safer on an empty stomach.

10)  If you are trained to do so, administer CPR or BLS to the rider without a pulse or is not breathing.

11) Stay with rider until paramedics or professional help arrive.


Here Janea's account of the accident ( the rider who went down)

The last day at Babes Ride Out 3, I will never forget. I called my husband to tell him we were packing up and heading home soon. He asked me to call him before we left.

I packed up, got on my bike and looked at my gloves stashed behind my fairing.  The cafe we decided on for lunch, before heading home, was just down the street from camp.  I put the gloves on.  It was warm this October in Joshua Tree, so my leather jacket stayed in my pack. 

I took the lead down Sunfair Road out of camp.  The warm wind embraced me.  It had been an amazing week.  First, the moto trip through Arizona with the girls.  Then to Babes Ride Out 3 where I met women from all walks of life following their passions.  Lastly, my volunteer work with the inspiring MotoFam.  It was all gratifying, rewarding, and immensely fun!

Then suddenly, my handlebars began slapping my tank. I don’t know what happened.  I couldn’t control the bars.  The bike began to buck.  There was nothing I could do.  I let my hands go and closed my eyes.

I don’t remember what happened.  I opened my eyes and I was in a dust cloud.   I was filled with adrenalin and felt nothing.  One of the girls was running to me yelling “Lay down! Lay down!”

The Importance of Practice by Francesca Michelle

SafetyAnya Violet

As we are gearing up for Babes Ride Out 6 we are highlighting some important topics to help you stay safe on the road. One of those topics is PRACTICE! It's easy not to think of riding a motorcycle as something that you need to practice. However, practice can mean the difference between you being as prepared as you can be for the unexpected or not. For some, its as simple as practicing holding your line on a fun twisty road or quick stops in a parking lot as you wait for a friend. Taking your riding skills to the next level will help to keep you safe on the road. We caught up with Francesca Michelle of the Eastside Moto Babes to get her thoughts on practice. Read on and enjoy!

babes ride out

The Importance of Practice

by Francesca Michelle of Eastside Moto Babes

 Back in 2016, my best friend asked me if I wanted to ride on her team in a 24 hour endurance race. The race, put on by M1GP, runs noon-noon for 24 hours straight, with a team of 6 people keeping the bike on track at all times. I was 23, had been riding for almost three years, didn’t own leathers, and had never ridden on a track before. Obviously, I said yes.

My logic was: I was a skilled, fairly fast rider on the street. I practiced a lot in parking lots and rode canyons regularly. Track couldn’t be that different; I’d probably be fine.

Cut to the day of the race. It’s around 95 degrees in the high desert. There’s 15 teams on the track, in different classes ranging from 50 cup to mod 125. We’re the only stock Grom in the 125 class and all six of us are really excited. We’re running stints an hour long, and I’m near the end of the lineup. I get on track for my first stint, and it takes me about four seconds to realize I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. My street riding skills don’t help me here. As anyone who’s ever been on a track will tell you: it’s a completely different kind of riding than on the street, and I’m getting an up-close look at it. I’m pretty much the slowest out there. I get passed, a lot. I get lapped, a lot. It’s massively frustrating. When my hour is over, I get off track, pass off the bike, and go off by myself to be grumpy.

 The night session passes pretty similarly. Things start to turn around during my morning stint. The sun is rising. The Grom is running strong. I think, this is silly. It doesn’t matter if I suck at this. If I give up on it now, I’ll always suck the same amount.

I finish my session happy. My lines are cleaning up, my body position is getting better. I find people on track I can trail behind and watch how they ride. Between my first sessions and my last, I drop six seconds on my lap time. But, more importantly, it starts to be insanely fun. OK, everyone is going to pass you. Who cares! Don’t worry about being faster. Just be smooth and make yourself harder to pass.

 My team placed second in the stock class that year (completely due to my teammates, who are excellent riders and terrific people). Shortly after, I started volunteering at Socal Supermoto in Riverside and riding their TTRs whenever I could. Slowly, I got better. I practiced, and I listened, and I started to improve. I bothered Brian and Frank about everything I could think of, and every weekend at supermoto I’d pick up something else. I bought my own TTR and converted it to minimoto. The next time I raced with M1GP, it was stupidly fun and I was ten million times better than the year before. 

It’s easy to look at people who are really good at something, and beat yourself up because you’re not as good as them. It’s easy to feel like they have some kind of intrinsic ability or innate skill that you just don’t have. (To be fair--those people do exist, and it’s incredibly annoying.) But often, that’s not true. All you have is a snapshot. A girl on an MX bike railing a berm. A girl on a track bike blowing by you at unrealistic speeds. That’s insane, you think to yourself. I can’t do that. This person is just better at this than me.

 I’ve been there. I’ve thought that. But here’s what you don’t see: the hours of practice put in. The questions asked. The mentors and friends and coaches, pestered with questions. The hours--and I can’t emphasize this enough--of doing something a million times, failing at it over and over until you start getting better. Skill is practice. Practice is a habit, and a willingness to try again. All the skill you have at something comes from a willingness to be terrible at it first.

Take the classes. Ask the questions. Find som eone who knows more than you, and bug them. Think you can’t do it? You can. Just get out there and do it. Get out there and suck at everything for awhile, screw up and fail a bunch of times and you will get better. You will! Failing is a part of it. Give yourself the grace to suck at something you love. It’s more fun than you think.

Options for further training:

Safety Refresher Course  Westside Motorcycle Academy www.westsidemotorcycleacademy.com  Sign up: HERE

Intermediate, advanced 1 & 2 rider courses: https://www.totalcontroltraining.net

Socal Supermoto: https://www.socalsupermoto.com

M1GP, racing and rider clinics: https://m1-grandprix.com/m1gprc/

UMRA, racing with fleet rental options: http://www.raceumra.com/faq.html

Ride Your Own Ride by Blaire Baily

SafetyAnya Violet

When people find out that you ride a motorcycle, do they tend to mention how dangerous it is or maybe a friend of theirs that was in an accident? Happens to us all the time. They are not wrong, motorcycles are very dangerous. However, that does not stop us from doing what we love. We reached out to some of the talented, and experienced riders in our community to share some wise words on how to stay safe and minimize your risk on two wheels. Blaire Baily of The Eastside Moto Babes brings up a very important topic "Ride your own ride"! Read on to hear more!

 Photo by Jenny Linquist

Photo by Jenny Linquist

Ride Your Own Ride


by Blaire Baily

Life is full of subtle and not-so-subtle invitations to change your normal riding style. We’ve all had the experience of getting on a bike when we’re running late and feel pressured to make up time. And I can’t be the only one that gets sports cars in the next lane revving their engines, eager to race. More commonly, if you ride in groups, you may find that the speed of the group or the difficulty of the ride is somewhere outside your comfort zone.

Serious, experienced motorcyclists say the same thing again and again: ride your own ride. That is the golden rule. Riding your own ride means, in its simplest terms, refusing to allow outside factors or influences to change your riding behavior. It means riding within your comfort zone at all times. Your comfort zone can change, for example if you are riding at a track instead of on the street, but it is only you, and no one else, that should adjust and manage how you ride.

There can be a strong temptation in group rides to meet others’ expectations rather than determine your own limits. When I first started riding with a group, I was concerned about keeping up and afraid to seem inadequate, inexperienced, or unskilled.

I’ll admit that more than once I rode a lot faster than I was comfortable with and had some very close calls. It’s easy to do, and it’s often a rush. But it also exposes you to an untenable level of risk. The dangers of motorcycling, just like the rewards, are especially intense. Human bodies are fragile. If a motorcyclist is a jelly fish, a car is a brick. We have to treat motorcycling with the respect it deserves and the best way to do that is to always ride your own ride.

Here are some steps you can take to be proactive, empower yourself, and ride your own ride:

•           Ride on Your Own

If you’re experiencing pressure from other riders, and keep giving in, remove them from the equation. Riding solo will allow you to increase your skills and experience at your own pace. You get to decide where you ride, and when, and at what speed. This gives you maximum control and helps ensure you’ll ride your own ride every single time.

•           If You are Going to Ride in a Group, Make a Plan in Advance

To avoid a situation where you realize you are not comfortable riding at the speed the group is already going, make a plan before it happens. Speak to whoever is leading the ride before you head out. Ask: if you decide to slow down, will they wait for you a few miles ahead? If not, no problem. That’s fine. Now you know. Say that if you do slow down, you’ll just meet them at their destination. Now everyone is on the same page. If at some point you feel it is necessary to slow down, you can do so. And you’ll already know what comes next.

•           Listen to Your Gut.

If you’re starting to get tired and your concentration is wavering, or you’re getting light-headed because you’re hungry, listen to those warning signals. Pull off and take that break. Many accidents happen when riders try to push through exhaustion in order to stay on the road.

•           Use a Reminder

Put a small reminder on your bike to ride your own ride. Every time you look at it, ask yourself: Is this how I normally ride? Am I riding my own ride?

•           Shift Your Attitude about What it Means to be a “Good” Rider

Rethinking your understanding of what it means to be a “good” rider will also help you resist pressure to ride outside your comfort zone. Don’t think of riding skill in terms of “fast” and “slow” but rather in terms of “has more experience” and “has less experience.” I’ve been riding for six years, but I tend to ride only once a week for a few hours. There are several women in my motorcycle club, the East Side Moto Babes, that race motorcycles and live and breathe motorcycling. Unsurprisingly, they have a high level of skill and proficiency and our comfort zones are completely different. This is entirely logical given our respective experience and, more importantly, is completely okay. We’re not in competition with each other. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be as skilled as other riders when they have a lot more experience than you do.

•           If You Want to Push Yourself, Do So in a Controlled Environment

Want to learn to curve up corners and follow perfect lines? Hit up SoCal Supermoto and use their small, difficult track to hone your cornering skills. If you mess up, the worst that will happen is that they catch it on camera. Want to experience and practice higher speeds without the danger and unpredictability of cars? Do track days. You’ll improve your riding skills and, if you should go down, chances are the damage will be minor.

•           Ride From a Place of Love (For Others and For Yourself)

Put your safety above outside demands. If you’re late, it can wait. It takes self-awareness, self-love, and confidence to know your limits and to assert them. The truth is that when you ride, you carry some of the happiness of the people who love you around with you on your bike. Ride accordingly. And remember that riding your own ride is actually deeply respectful of the people you are riding with—it shows you are putting the safety of everyone on the ride first.

•           Help Shape Riding Culture

Women riders have a unique opportunity to shape motorcycle culture around comradeship, skill-building, and safety. When a rider steps forward to say that she is not comfortable with the speed or difficulty of a group ride, thank her. Tell her you appreciate her commitment to riding her own ride. Help her come up with a plan about how to ensure she stays within her comfort zone. Help her ride her own ride. If you do that, chances are one day she’ll do the same for someone else.

 

 

My Personal Experience Taking the Motorcycle Safety School Class (MSF Training Course)

Ashmore Ellis

You gotta start somewhere. We always recommend starting in the dirt if you have never sat on a bike before but once you start figuring out the mechanics, what's next? I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's training course and wanted to share my personal experience with you. Proper training, knowing your limits, and a basic understanding of these machines is incredibly important. 

Signing up is easy. The MSF site will help you find places near you (using your zip code) that offer beginner training and advanced training.  Bikes and helmets are provided but if you have your own helmet, I'd recommend bringing it if you can. My class was small, about 13 people which was great and not intimidating in the least as everyone there was there to learn. We started in a classroom and had a bout 5 hours of going over safety, basic mechanics, group assignments (the worst) and finally were ready to head out to the bikes. The class I was in had low CC bikes of all kinds, all of which are banged up which takes out the fear of "what if I drop it?!". My instructors were amazing and helped me learn where my hands should go, shouldn't go, where my feet should be, how to counter steer, etc. These guys are trained to look for any bad habits forming and quickly break you from them before it's a problem. For instance, my right hand was hovering over the brake when in gear. The instructor noticed and told me what to expect if I grabbed it...my hand no longer hovered there. They pack a lot into the 10 hours of "on bike" learning and you stay under 10 mph. Before you know it, you are on your safety "obstacle test" which at the time was terrifying because I didn't want to fail or drop the bike (that is automatic failure while taking the final test only). But guess what.. people fail it all the time and that is ok! All it means is that you'll need some more time learning basic skills to ensure you won't fail when it really counts, in the street with oncoming traffic. We had 3 out of the 13 fail in my class and no one looked down on those people because of it. Infact, every single failed student was determined to come back next weekend and do the whole thing over again. I was excited to pass on my first try but even though I had this certificate in my hand that would allow me to get my moto license, I was far from ready to be turned loose on the freeways of CA. The MSF helped me learn the fundamentals of motorcycle safety and showed me what I really needed to practice in order to get road worthy.  Months went by of practicing in my neighborhood, back streets, up and down hills, etc. Over the course of a year I was riding from 10 miles from home to 100 miles into the desert solo. It took time, dedication, failure, scares, and some embarrassing moments to get me here. I am still learning every time I get on my moto and yes, I am still slow as hell and use all the hand signs when riding but that is just my style. 

So, let's break it down:

Motorcycle Safety School Benefits

  • You learn on their beat up bikes so you can't hurt them (or yourself)
  • They provide basic gear (helmets, gloves) and require you to wear boots & pants
  • You get a discount on your insurance after completing 
  • It's affordable! $180 - $275 and we hear some states are free!
  • You are learning from professionals who know what to look for and correct bad habits before they form
  • Classes are small and you'll have a lot of 1 on 1 help and guidance 
  • They offer advanced training after you pass the Basic Rider class 

Motorcycle Safety School Things to Consider

  • Passing this class does not mean you are road worthy. You will need tons of practice and continued education (trust me, I did!).
  • This class will not teach you how to ride in groups and you will not experience riding in traffic or on the street. All instruction is done on a closed course. 
  • The class is only 1 weekend and you'll be learning the rest of your life. 

If you have any questions about MSF, their training, and advanced skill classes, give them a call at (800) 446-9227 or email MSF@msf-usa.org

 

I started with the Basic RiderCourse (BRC) Standard, but look at all they offer!

Tips for New Riders

Anya Violet

We have had a lot of ladies reach out to us recently asking for advice on how to get into riding motorcycles. I think everyone will answer this question a little differently but I would like to share my thoughts on this with you.

Everyones journey to two wheels starts differently. Everyone will tell you something different and really you just need to see what is going to work best for you!

In my opinion, if you are thinking of learning to ride, I would recommend starting on a dirtbike (preferably one that is small enough to where you can dead lift it off of you if you need to). This will get you comfortable with the feeling of being on a bike and with the mechanics of shifting and breaking and Braaaaaaping. Make sure you ALWAYS wear proper gear because you will fall several times. We all do, that’s part of the fun! You can probably rent one or borrow one from someone and you will want to spend a solid amount of time riding it. One weekend probably isn’t enough. Get to a point where you feel confident hopping on it and maneuvering it through a variety of terrain. You don’t need to be able to shred massive hill climbs and jump doubles, but finding the confidence in turns and being comfortable with shifting and breaking etc is key. Ask yourself how you feel after learning to ride a dirtbike. Does it still scare the shit out of you? Is it fun, but more scary than fun? Or is it the most fun ever? It is important to check in with yourself and decide whether this is for you, or not, before taking the next step. Riding dirt bikes before hitting the road will make you a much better street rider! I promise!

Once you feel good on a dirtbike, take a motorcycle safety/training course!!! This is a super rad learning experience and they have great instructors and usually a variety of bikes so you can choose something that you see yourself actually riding (at least the one I went to did) A lot of people that take these courses have never even sat on a motorcycle so don’t be intimidated!

If you passed the motorcycle training course you are ready for the road according to the law (in California). Check in with yourself again. Do you consider yourself to be a confident driver when you’re in a car? That is usually a good indicator of what type of motorcyclist you will be. The number one most important question to ask yourself is this: does the thrill outweigh the fear? If you are scared shitless everytime you hop on your bike then you should NOT ride motorcycles. If you get more and more confident every time you ride and you love it more and more, then you are on the right track. Push yourself, but not too hard. You do not want to be a liability on the road! You will end up out of your comfort zone probably several times as we all do. You just need to broaden your comfort zone a bit more each time!

Riding a motorcycle is dangerous no matter what way you look at it. Having respect for that is crucial.  Aside from just learning to ride your bike is the “other people on the road aspect”…. that is a whole other thing that you need to decide if you are comfortable with. A lot of moto accidents are caused by collisions with cars and you need to be aware of how to ride in a way that is defensive while also being respectful to other people on the road. This is NOT for everyone and if you love riding but are not comfortable on the road with all the other cars then stick to dirt and have the absolute time of you life on beautiful mountain trails and open desert roads. I have been riding for several years and I still get butterflys when I hop on my bike but I am not scared. I have found myself in scary situations but I am 90%-95% confident on any roads. It is important for everyone to get to that point at their own pace.

Make sure that you get on a motorcycle for the right reasons. Some people will tell you to just fuckin’ go for it and figure it out as you ride. To each their own! This might totally work for you as well, but I say; take is slow and enjoy the ride!

-Anya

How to (Safely) Pack for a Motorcycle Trip | Expert Advice from Bill Bryant of Biltwell

Ashmore Ellis

We asked the most efficient person we know on two wheels, Bill Bryant from Biltwell, the safest way to pack your junk down for a multiple day camp trip. He gave us some amazing tips and tricks that will make your next moto trip much more enjoyable. Take a read and share with your road dawgs, this is a good one! 

The primary goal when packing for a multi day riding trip is to not be killed by all the bullshit you strap to your motorcycle. I’ve dodged more than my share of tools, water bottles and other dangerous debris riding behind friends over the years and lost a few bits of my own along the way. Here’s a couple tips that might make things safer and more convenient for you and the people following behind you.

In the military, people who can’t keep their shit together get nicknamed “Yard Sale” or “Soup Sandwich”. To avoid ending up with one of these embarrassing monikers, one has to learn to bring only what’s needed and not be in a hurry to pack it.

1. Safety

If your gear feels loose, it is. You should be able to grab anything strapped to your bike and give it a decent tug. If it easily moves around, that’s what it’s going to do once you hit the road. Use high quality straps, and avoid bungees for anything major or heavy. There’s nothing wrong with deploying more straps than you need. They may come in handy later anyway. Think of the amount of air pushing on all that gear as you blast down the highway for hours at a time. Make sure all zippers and closures are tight, and face them away from the wind if possible. Recheck your load at every stop. Tighten down straps, look for loose ends dangling near the tire, etc. Your wheels and chain are hungry. More than one chopper hero has gone down when their shit got caught in the back sprocket. I’ve seen a single pair of surf trunks bring a bike to an immediate halt in the middle of a Mexican highway (Marco, you out there?) Likewise, a sloppy jacket hastily bungeed on a sissy bar jammed up in the rear wheel so hard once that we had to remove the wheel to get it out (remember that one, Eddie?). Make sure any loose ends on straps are tied up tight and can not rub against any of the spinning bits. Use the buddy system and always keep an eye on your riding partner’s gear, and make sure they are watching yours. If you see something getting loose or close to the wheel, lopsided, etc, wave ‘em over so they can fix it. That small hassle is way better than a big one if the offending gear gets wrapped around your chain at 80mph. Distribute the load as low and evenly as possible. Keep the heavy stuff like tools down low as possible to avoid changing the dynamic of the bike. Heavy stuff up high always tries to work it’s downward or off to one side, so pack it low and symmetrical. If you put all the weight on one side, it’ll all be hanging off in an hour. Put some stuff up on the bars/risers where you can see it, but not too much or it’ll affect the way the bike handles. Don’t put so much up there that you have a hard time seeing over/around it. That may sound dumb, but I’ve done it myself, so I know it’s possible. Doh! Reduce your kit. One of the best pre­flight measures you can take is to spread out all your gear on the floor or workbench before loading it. Then put about half of it back where you got it. The less you bring, the better your chances of keeping it all together. Share the load with your buddies if you are riding with friends. Chances are a group of four riders doesn’t need four individual stoves, so divvy up stuff like that instead of bringing more than the group needs.

2. Levels of Storage

Being able to access what you need with the least amount of hassle on the road is a skill that takes a little forethought. Dividing it all up into levels of storage reduces the chance of losing something or digging to the bottom of an otherwise nicely packed bag. Here’s the way I do it:

A) Immediate : This is the stuff I can grab without opening anything. It’s what I keep clipped on the outside of my bag or on my person: wallet, registration paperwork, multi­tool, pocket knife, sunscreen, phone, flash light, sun glasses and clears, shop rag or bandana, smokes, lighter. I usually wear a vest on a trip, not so much for fashion (I’m helpless in that department anyway) but so I can have all this crap on me and not sitting on any of it. No one wants to wait on you to get your credit card out of the bottom of a giant duffel at every gas stop and every time you dig into that gear there is a chance you’ll hurry through it and leave something undone.

B) Ready: You need to get at stuff like tools, oil, spare gas, and a water bottle with very little effort. So this stuff goes in outside pockets or top layers of your bag. I usually include a towel, trunks and flip flops in this category when weather looks nice. If there’s half a chance of rain or drastic weather changes, I’ll have rain gear and extra layers ready to go and easy to get to in a hurry. Likewise, if you start out early in the morning and need to shed layers in a couple hours, think ahead about where that stuff is going to go. I like to roll up a flannel or jacket and clip it to the front of my Exfil­7 bag on the handlebars so I can open two buckles and unroll what I need.

C) Buried: You really only need your tent, sleeping bag, food, cooking kit or change of clothes at the end of the day. This stuff can be buried a little deeper and harder to get to since you shouldn’t need it in an emergency or on the side of the road.

3. Adapt your Bike for Carrying Stuff

Build or buy a strong sissy bar and strap an appropriate amount of stuff to it. I’ve witnessed dudes putting a heavy gas can on a sissy built out of 1/2 rod and end up wearing it all a few hundred miles later when the thing gives out. Buy some decent throw over saddlebags and make sure they have mounts that keep ‘em out of the rear wheel. If you have a stock­ish bike, there are usually lots of aftermarket racks available. You need to carry at least basic tools so buy a decent tool bag that won’t give out from the weight. Don’t strap to things that get hot or have sharp edges. The best way to sort your kit is to go on the longest multi-
day trip you can afford and camp along the way. By the morning of about day four you will be donating junk you didn’t really need and you will have figured out what things belong in each level of storage. Don’t be afraid to watch some weathered road dog pack their kit in the morning, you might learn a trick or two. Remember, the tighter your gear is, the more time you have to enjoy the trip. Being thoughtful about how you pack not only keeps you safe, it keeps you from earning the “Yard Sale” nickname. 

More reading on the subject from my friend Kuda, who has logged way more miles than I ever will:

Chop Cult : Pack on the Road with Kuda

- Bill Bryant - Biltwell Inc. 

Riding Motorcycles in Groups

Anya Violet

Riding a motorcycle solo can be a very therapeutic experience. All the stress of work or thoughts about the week just drift away mile after mile. But riding your motorcycle in a group can be an even more exhilarating experience.

Whether you’re headed out for a weekend road trip or just a fun day ride to your favorite lunch spot, there is nothing quite like spending the day on two wheels with a group of friends. Babes Ride Out is one of those kinds of events that inspires female riders to find a group to hit the road with. Here are a few tips for riding in a group.

Communication is Key

  • Before you start your engines it’s a good idea to gage everyone’s riding style in the group. If there are different riding levels mixed in the group then you want to take note of that. If the group has both very experienced riders and beginners, it would be smart to make sure that all the riders are good with riding at beginner level pace. If not, we suggest splitting the group up so that everyone can enjoy their experience. It’s easy to set meet-up destinations along the way and regroup when you get there.
  • If you live in a state in which lane-splitting is legal, definitely double check to ensure all riders are ok with it. Not everyone is comfortable with this so it’s a good idea to ask.
  • Checking everyone’s gas tank size is another key point. Whoever has smallest gas tank determines how many miles until you stop for gas.

Establish a leader

  • If everyone is down to ride at the same pace the next step would be to establish the lead rider, as well as who plans on riding sweep. Having experienced riders at the front and rear helps to keep the group together and keep everyone safe.
  • If you have Bluetooth communication devices that’s even better, as it makes the navigation so much easier and allows you to chat between the lead and sweep rider.
  • The lead rider has a very important job. Not only does she set the pace for the group, but she’s in charge of navigation, choosing the correct lanes and signaling throughout the ride. Even if her turn signals and tail lights are perfectly functioning we still recommend using hand signals to alert the group when you are turning or slowing down. If you’re the lead rider, one of the things to remember is that you have to set aside the way you normally ride on your own and make sure you’re riding for the group. Stay safe and don’t make any sudden moves that can put the other riders in danger.

Establish a Sweep

  • Riding sweep is just as important as riding lead. It’s ideal if both the sweep rider and the lead rider know the directions to the destination and can easily navigate in case some riders get separated from the group.

Keep your Distance

  • One of the biggest tips we can recommend is that you keep your distance between riders. While you may see groups of riders riding very close together out on the road that doesn’t mean that’s how you should be riding, especially if you’re riding with a new group. Two bike lengths distance between you and the rider in front of you and a staggered formation gives everyone the space they need.

Keep your Pace

  • Riding at your own pace is always important. If the group is riding faster than you’re comfortable with do not try and keep up. If you fall behind don’t worry about it. Lets face it, we all have cell phones with Google Maps so you’ll be able to find your way if you get left behind. Riding above your skill level or outside of your comfort zone puts the whole group at risk. It is much easier to just hold your line and stay at the speed you like riding.

Riding in a group is not for everyone. Some people like to ride motorcycles for the independence and freedom. If you like to ride fast and make quick maneuvers then riding in a group is not for you. You can just meet your group at the destination, that way you can ride the way you want to and not put anyone else in danger.

Being able to experience your favorite roads and destinations with a group will create fast friends and provide you with incredible memories that will last a lifetime. So grab some friends and saddle up! All roads lead to Babes Ride Out!!!!

Written by Anya Violet of Babes Ride Out for Progressive