Riding as a Group

Rose City H.O.G. Group Rides

Rose City H.O.G. emphasizes safety during our chapter rides. A staggered riding formation and hand signals are used to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride. The information below will help familiarize you with how the chapter rides as a group.

Before the Ride

Make sure you show up for the ride with your tank full and your bladder empty. The road captains always plan fuel stops that are within the range of the smallest gas tank but they assume you are starting with a full tank.

It's always a good idea to have a bottle of water and a snack in your saddle bags. You may get hungry or thirsty before we hit our food stop.

If this is your first time riding with the group, let the lead road captain know. He or she will give you some quick tips on how we ride as a group and may give you pointers as to where to position yourself in the group for a more comfortable ride.

Approximately 10 minutes before the ride the lead road captain will blow a whistle, honk a horn or yell to gather riders up. That is your signal to gather around him or her as they go over the details of the ride with the group. After they are finished it is time to mount up and get in position. Most of our rides leave from Volcano Harley-Davidson. When it's time to get in position the lead road captain will park his/her bike just before the driveway to McDonalds and the Chevron Station (so as not to block the driveway). The Director or Assistant Director will fall in behind. The remainder of the group will then line up 2 abreast behind the director. If you pull your bike up before the lead road captain and director, make sure you leave enough room between you and the driveway for them to pull in front of you.

During the Ride

Rides are led by a lead Road Captain. He or she will be in the front of the pack. The position directly behind the lead road captain will be filled by the Chapter Director or Assistant Director followed by the rest of the group. Additional road captains will be placed within the group at various locations. The last person in the group is known as the "Sweep". The sweep communicates with the other road captions, via radio (if equipped), to provide status updates such as when all riders have cleared an intersection, completed a turn, etc. When the lead road captain signals a lane change the sweep will move over to the lane first to ensure the rest of the group can change lanes without other vehicles coming in and splitting the group.

We typically do what is called a "Destination Ride". That is a ride that officially ends when we reach our destination which is often a restaurant or an event. Once the ride ends you are free to take any route back home you wish. If you are unsure of how to get back, let one of the road captains know and he/she will pair you up with someone that is going in the same direction.

If someone has an accident or leaves the group for any reason, one of the road captains will stop and assist that rider. If that happens the rest of the group should continue on as normal. If the person happens to be your spouse or best friend or you are able to provide medical assistance (if needed) then you may stop as well.

Riding Formation

Rose City H.O.G. rides in a Staggered Formation. In a staggered formation, the Road Captain will be in the left 1/3rd of the lane. The second rider will be 1.5 seconds behind them in the right 1/3rd of the lane. The next rider is 1.5 seconds behind them, and 3 seconds behind the Road Captain. This is known as the "3 second rule".

This is true for the whole group - each rider should be 3 seconds behind the rider directly in front of them, and 1.5 seconds behind the offset driver in front of them. Ensure you stay in the proper 1/3rd of the lane, far left or far right. The center 1/3rd of the lane, which tends to accumulate oil, is not used.

It is important to maintain the 3 second distance between you and the rider in front of you. If there is too large a gap between you and the rider in front of you, you won't be able to see hand signals. It also increases the chance of another vehicle entering the group. 

When coming to a stop, a side by side formation is used. Pull up beside the bike adjacent to you. This will reduce the length of the group by half. Stay in this formation until you are through the intersection. Because the group is half as long it will take half the time to clear the intersection and increase the odds of keeping the group together.


Hand Signals

In a group ride, communication is accomplished through the use of hand signals. When you see the rider in front of you use a hand signal it is important to "pass it back" to the riders behind you. Here are the hand signals we use.



At the start of a ride, once everyone is lined up and all the road captains have checked in with the lead road caption, the lead road captain will raise his/her arm and move his/her index finger in a circular motion. That is your cue that the ride is starting






This signals a left turn or lane change. Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow fully extended.   






This signals a right turn or lane change. Raise your left arm horizontal with your elbow bent 90 degrees   






Extend your left arm at a 45 degree angle and move your hand up and down.






Extend your Left arm at a 45 Degree angle with the palm of your hand facing rearward.   






Extend your left arm (or leg) at a 45 degree downward angle and point towards the hazard.






Extend your right leg at a 45 degree downward angle and point towards the hazard.   







Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with your elbow bent to 90 degrees and point towards the hazard over your helmet. This is typically used to signal other riders that there is a car, pedestrian, jogger or bicyclist on the right shoulder. Riders in the right side of the group should move left until they pass the hazard and then move back to the right.   




Position your left hand over your helmet with your finger extended upward. This indicates the leader wants the group in a single file formation. Usually this is done on narrow roads.   





Extend your left arm upward at a 45 degree angle with two fingers extended. This indicates that it is safe to return to staggered formation (after riding single file).   





Close the gaps! Tighten up the formation. Left arm extended with elbow at 45 degrees, make a pumping motion with the arm, fingers in a fist.   





Remember, if you have any questions, always consult your road captain.

Ride safe!