by Kevin Kocur
Normally, this would be the month where I’d talk about how great this year’s annual scooter rally was and how much fun the organized rides were. Many of you who have attended past rallies can attest to how wonderfully organized the rides were.
Without a big scooter rally in the Twin Cities for 2011, many of you may already be missing our pre-ride speeches and demonstrations on group riding. Some of you may be feeling a little depressed, having waited a whole year in hopes of witnessing these wonderful and exciting events, only to find out that there would not be a rally this year. A few of you may even feel cheated. Maybe we should have taped last year’s demonstration and put it on Youtube…
Well, happy days are here again because I present to you–the print version! Please remember that you’ll have to visualize our animated movements to get the full experience. For the new riders, who’ve never ridden in a group before, PAY ATTENTION. Proper group riding etiquette is essential to the success of even the smallest group rides and helps keep all of the riders safe.
So, here we go. The Dos & Don’ts of Group Riding or Group Scooting 101.
DO show up on time and with a full tank of gas. I can’t emphasize “full tank” enough.
DON’T expect the ride to stop after only three blocks because you couldn’t be bothered to top it off on the way to the start.
DON’T ride side-by-side. Staggered formation is strongly encouraged in group riding. You’re neither Ponch nor John, or any character from the movie Easy Rider. The purpose of the staggered formation is to allow a rider to swerve around an obstacle if need be. This is especially important on parts of the Grand Rounds that are one-way and narrow. That in mind, it’s important to break the staggered formation and ride single file through curves.
DO pay attention to the riders ahead of you. Watch for hand signals that may be passed back from the ride leader. Sometimes obstacles on the road, pedestrians or bicyclists may need to be pointed out.
DON’T pass. I know that the rider on the 49cc moped in front of you isn’t going as fast as you’d like. Remember: most group rides are about taking in the scenery and enjoying the camaraderie of like-minded riders. The ride is going to end, eventually. Enjoy it while you can.
DO know your scooter’s limitations. Many times, the ride leader will have announced what type of ride she/he is leading. Some are open to all sizes and some are specifically for the bigger and faster scooters. Bottom line, you wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight—don’t bring your Honda Spree to go on a run to Rochester with the Minn-Max group.
DON’T fixate on the rider in front of you. You should also be paying attention to the road, as well as the other riders around you. There’s a lot going on when you get a bunch of scooters together.
DO maintain a safe distance. Try not to bunch up and give yourself enough room to stop.
DON’T show up for a ride blowing 0.12. I’m not going to lecture about drinking and riding, but group riding takes a tad more concentration because you now you have all of these other scooters surrounding you. ‘Nuff said.
If you’re a newer rider, I do encourage you to take part in a group ride. There’s no better way to meet other scooter riders and you’re bound to make some new friends, or at least some new riding buddies. There are several groups in the Twin Cities alone.
Have fun and Safe Scooting!