What is a Chapter ride-out?
Every month, usually between April and October, our Road Crew will lead an organised Chapter ride-out. These events are publicised on our website, on our closed Facebook group and through our Activities Officers.
There are about thirty blokes and lasses in our Road Crew. They are usually very visible in their orange jackets – they corral us altogether at the beginning of each marshalled ride and give us some instructions about where we are going, where the fuel stops are and, most importantly, where we are going!
At the beginning of every riding season, our Road Crew hold Newbie Rides for all our new members. Everyone is encouraged to attend so that people can get a good idea of what it’s like riding in a group. The rides are usually very popular!
Geordie Chapter members ride not only two wheels, but many ride on three! Trikes are an important part of Geordie Chapter and everyone is very welcome whatever they ride. In 2022, our Road Crew held a Newbie Ride specifically for our trike riders – so that everyone knows how to get along nicely and ride safely when we are out and about.
Here’s some pics from our Newbie Rides and Trike Day!
This page also provides guidance to everyone who participates in a ride-out led by our Road Crew.
Put simply, our Road Crew are responsible for the direction of the ride and to make sure that everyone is as safe as they can be when they participate in it.
In Geordie Chapter, we have a Head Road Captain and an Assistant Head Road Captain. Together with the Road Captains, they map out the route of each ride, decide how to mark the route for the group and undertake reconnaissance rides to make sure that that there are no last-minute issues on the road.
Our Road Crew has been trained in First Aid, advanced riding skills and are primarily there for the safety of everyone. For example, if a decision is made to change the route during the ride, it will be because it is unsafe to keep going as planned and the Road Crew will make sure that everyone is collected together and lead us to a safe location before we carry on.
Each one of our Road Crew carries a mini First Aid kit and our Back Marker also carries a defibrillator.
Geordie Chapter is one of the few chapters that has a dedicated Road Crew who mark junctions for the riders. You may have heard of heard of Second Man Drop-Off with other chapters – we do not use that system on organised rides in Geordie Chapter.
Arriving at the ride-out start point
The start point for the ride-out is always well publicised before the ride. Please make sure that you arrive in plenty time. We recommend that you arrive up to half an hour before the ride sets off. This should allow sufficient time to get some fuel, have a cup of coffee and listen to the safety briefing.
IMPORTANT: You must ride within your limits and you should not feel pressured to ride faster than you ordinarily would. Having said that, it is better to try and keep together. This will avoid the ride becoming too fragmented. If you don’t feel comfortable on the ride-out, have a word with our Head Road Captain or Safety Officer and they will provide you with some good advice about how to ride in a group. Better still, you could attend one of the publicised Newbie Rides. These are a great way to learn the basics of riding in a group.
One of the most important parts of the ride-out is the safety briefing. This will be delivered by the Ride Leader just before we set off. It is very important that you pay attention to the briefing. The briefing will cover the following main points:
- Basic route details
- Any scheduled stops for fuel
- The destination details
- Any important features of the ride
- Pack Leader and Back Marker
Please leave your helmet off while the safety briefing is being given. There will be plenty of time to get ready before we set off. The ride will not leave until everyone is ready.
The Road Crew will have ridden the route several times, making sure that everything is OK. Even if you are familiar with the route, they may have encountered new things which you should know about. If you need to know anything about the ride or any other aspect of the day, now is the time to ask.
Starting the ride-out
Each ride will comprise the following main elements:
- Ride Leader
- Road Crew
- Pack Leader
- The Pack (the riders)
- Back Marker
Everyone on the Road Crew will be wearing orange hi-vis waistcoats. If appropriate, their pillion may also be wearing an orange hi-vis waistcoat. You are encouraged not to wear your own hi-vis gear on a Chapter ride-out – we need everyone to see the Road Crew and there should be no confusion as to who is who.
The Head Road Captain may want to put some riders in certain places where they may have a more enjoyable ride and feel safer. This may include putting new riders near the Pack Leader, where the ride can be a bit slower. Remember, it’s for your safety as well as that of others around you.
The ride will start with the Ride Leader moving off followed by the Road Crew, then the Pack Leader.
All other riders, the Pack, will then move off. Please be careful and courteous when you merge together. If you really want to ride close to someone else, please don’t obstruct other riders in doing so. Try to indicate your intentions to those immediately around you before moving.
The Back Marker will bring up the rear of the ride.
During the ride-out
Once we get underway, we will ride in a staggered formation, when it is safe to do so.
The Ride Leader will always ride on the right side of the lane and the second rider will ride to the left side of the lane, behind the Ride Leader. Subsequent riders will then ride to the right and to the left, and so on, in formation.
Each bike should leave a safe distance of two seconds to the bike in front and one second to the bike to the side. When riding in staggered formation, each bike occupies about half the lane.
When riding in staggered formation, be aware of your position at all times. Do not pass bikes in front of you, to your left or right. You need to be disciplined, observant and adjust your speed to those around you.
The Road Crew will mark road junctions to show the direction of travel. As you arrive at the junction, proceed in the direction indicated. At some junctions, such as larger roundabouts, there may be a member of the Road Crew at the entry and exit points.
IMPORTANT: if you approach a junction and there is no Road Crew there – GO STRAIGHT ON.
The Road Crew will remain at the junction until the last member of the Pack goes through and the Back Marker signals him to proceed.
If you see a Road Crew member approaching from behind you should, if you are riding on the right side of the lane, briefly move over to the left allowing him to move through without having to cross into the other lane. Please take care not to obstruct the rider already on the left side when doing do. As soon as the Road Crew is through, take up your position on the right side of the lane again.
Leaving the ride-out
If you wish to leave the ride at any time, pull to the side of the road until the Back Marker arrives and inform him of your intentions.
What to do if something happens
In the event of a breakdown, someone from the Road Crew will make sure you are OK and have a phone to call for assistance. If the problem is of a minor nature, they may assist you in getting back on the road. However, they are not equipped to deal with mechanical matters. You must make sure that you carry adequate breakdown or recovery cover to get you and your bike or trike home.
If First Aid is required, the Road Crew have all been trained to provide this.
Each rider is responsible for their actions when participating in Chapter rides. You are in control of, and responsible for, your bike or trike, passenger and your riding at all times irrespective of any guidance or instruction from anyone in the Road Crew. You must observe the Highway Code and conform to all highway rules and laws. Ultimately, each rider is responsible for their own safety.
Here are a few other pointers for when you arrive for the ride-out:
- Make sure you bike or trike is in roadworthy condition
- Make sure you have plenty fuel
- Make sure you’ve been to the toilet
- Make sure you’ve got plenty money with you
- Wear appropriate clothing and protective gear
Finally, we’re all there for a great day out, so ride safe and have fun!