This has more to do with your mental attitude than your riding skill, this is not a race but neither do we have unlimited time on our hands. The ride is structured so as to allow you ample time to enjoy the beauty while at a pace according to your comfort. You are absolutely free to choose your own riding style, buddies and pace.
A steady rider will cover the given distance in 6 hours which translates to an average speed of 50 km/hr at the longest stretch and 18km/hr at the shortest. We do this for multiple reasons:
1. To ensure that in case of a contingency we still have ample time and daylight to reach our destination.
2. You have ample time to relax, recover, explore the destination and prepare for the next day’s ride.
The only time we expect you to ever ride in close formation (almost like a procession) is while entering and leaving a city so that no one gets lost. This shall be in a tight double formation. This serves to guide the group on an intended path in a grand and cohesive manner.
The most important thing to keep in mind while riding in a group is communication both on and off the bike. Communication should be crisp and clear with least ambiguity. Every morning before we start there will be a briefing as to how the group will proceed and the details of the stops and destinations etc. Given below are some of the points that will ensure a good ride:
Keep safe & comfortable distance between the rider in front and behind you. Do not come too close to the rider in front that will make him/her nervous.
Try to stay with the leading pack.
Do not overtake and come between riders who are riding together (maintaining constant distance between themselves).
Whenever you stop, give first priority to the reason for stopping whether it is taking photographs, ordering food, taking a leak, checking the bike etc... Don’t just loiter around and then act busy when everyone else is ready. In short try to ensure that people do not have to wait for you.
Overtake without causing discomfort to anyone.
Indicate before overtaking.
Never overtake from the other side if someone is overtaking from one side.
Check your bike constantly.
If there is a difficult stretch (like a steep climb, descent or a water crossing), wait till the person ahead of you has cleared it before embarking on it yourself.
Try to ensure that you can see more of the road i.e. get yourself slightly offset from the rider in front to get a better view.
Do not park uncomfortably close to another bike.
In case you notice something unusual or dangerous do bring it to the notice of the group leader.
Do not overtake when the person is braking; he could be braking for a hazard and you could rush right.
SIGNALS (WHILE ON THE BIKE)
Signals work only if accepted and known to all riders, in the absence of a common format, at best we will not understand each other or get confused but at worst we could misunderstand with disastrous consequences. As we shall be a group riding together for the first time with varied backgrounds, skill levels and experience, try to keep signaling while on the bike to a minimum. Do not place the onus of your riding or safety with other riders of the group and similarly do not take responsibility for the other rider. This does not mean we do not watch out for each other.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE SIGNALS THAT WE SHALL FOLLOW:
1. I’m slowing down (could be for a speed breaker or a ditch on the road or a dog or anything else): Brake light – ensure that your brake light is working and that should be signal enough. Do not attempt any fancy wave of the hand etc.
2. I want to overtake you: make sure that the person ahead is aware that you are overtaking him, do not spring up too close or suddenly, especially when the road is narrow and the terrain difficult.
3. Please overtake me: the best signal for such a move is to slow down and give ample space to the person who wishes to overtake you.
4. Differentiating between bike in trouble and rider stopping to admire or capture beauty on camera: for ’bike in trouble’ park the bike facing backwards – the direction opposite to the one you are proceeding in. Always parallel park in such a way that you are visible from the road and out of harm’s way.
7. Let’s stop here for some time: pull over gradually with your brake light and left indicator turned on.
SIGNALS/ INTENTIONS TO AVOID ON MOVING BIKE
1. Asking someone to stop suddenly (this could lead to an accident)
2. Showing or pointing out to things of interest or beauty to fellow riders (this could affect yours or the other riders concentration) there will be ample time to discuss all this when you stop
3. Signaling for speed breakers, ditches and other hazards on the road - your brake light will do the trick
4. Trying to explain complex things with weird signals – for example if you want to inform someone about his helmet strap which he forgot to put or luggage which is falling off etc it’s best to signal with your headlight if you are behind or slow down and pull over gradually with your brake light and left indicator turned on