Managing turn-offs on a group ride- ITS A NO BRAINER!!

7 replies [Last post]
Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22

Points: 2

The recent BMWMCC organised winter ride to Sutherland in early August, merely reinforced the absolute good sense in managing the direction changes in the proper manner.


We had 47 turns on our route on the 500km  day one and 36 direction changes in our route on the 308km ride on day 2

We also had 11 gates to both open and close on day twos ride on tweespoor roads form one farm opstal to the next.

The leader will signal his No:2, the next bike after him, if the leader wants the No:2 to stop and manage the turn.

No:2 stops on the turn and waves each successive bike through the turn until the sweeper arrives.

Then No:2 moves on, following the group as the second but last, just ahead of the sweeper.

No one can miss the turn.

It works fantastically.

allows leader to keep up a seamless pace,

gives peace of mind that there will be no lost bikes

allows for planned rest stops to be enjoyable and relaxing- as they should be.

Takes the pressure off the slower riders and lets them ride at their pace, free of fear of losing the team or getting left behind.



Once all have made the turn they can ride back up ot No:2 and do it all over again, enabling them to stretch their legs.



If you do not want to be No: 2, you simply wave the next bike to pass you.

You just follow the back wheel of the bike ahead, enjoy the view, the planning, the fuels stops, the gates and just chill and enjoy your ride.


the enjoyment you came for, of been free of any ankst about turns, gates, rest stops been rushed due to earlier delays regrouping  after missed turns.

The group can stretch out and riders do not feel they have to ride stay in the dust of the bike ahead for feer of missing a turn.



On each ride there is almost always two riders joined at the hip, that just hate to ride apart.

So when one is No:2 and stops at a turn, the siamese twin can stop with and they can chat while the rest pass through.




We respect gates,

we close gates again if they were closed when we arrived there.

We leave open gates open.

When a gate is opened, a stone/rock is balanced firmly atop the gate post. and we ride through.

The sweeper will dismount and close the gate if it has a rock on the post.



As we were exiting the tweespoor road onto the Patatsfontein road, we encountered a locked gate and no phone number, farm name etc.

Only  a notice with SAPS number for livestock theft reporting.

Konstable W Anker was of no help, so we made a plan.

loosened the wires on a vertical post that hold the fence wires in place,

lifted other posts out the ground 

laid the fence flat,

two riders stood on the fence to keep it flat

 Each bike rode Indian file over the flattened fence

We restored the fence to its original state.

We continued the adventure...


Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

Hans Ambulans's picture
Joined: 2013/10/01

Hi Andy.

Above makes perfectly sense.

In our group however the rider in front was repsonsible for the rdier behind him all the time.

Nr 2 would wait till nr 3 arrives, they acknowledge one anoter and the nr 3 waits for nr 4, do the same thing and nr 4 waits for nr 5 etc etc.

That way we kept the same sequence and also never had any problems. Nobody got lost and all siamese twins stayed together.

In my experience you will ALWAYS have somebody that wants to ride behind the ride leader at all costs ( baffles me why, but it always happens ). Now if that guy has to wait at the turn for all riders to pass through, he will all of a sudden be right at the back where he does not want to be. Next thing he opens up, goes past all the slower riders making them eat dust just so that he can get back to his spot behind the leader ( still baffles me on why he wants to be there, but i see it every single time ).

I personally always fall back a little just so i dont have to eat that much dust from the rider in front of me, and then sometimes i can see 3 to 5 riders in front of me ( the front one maybe even the ride leader), then there will always be some guy that comes and worms himself in there making you eat dust all over again JUST so he can get back behind the leader only 200 m up the road!

Now i want to see how THAT guy will now be happy with waving all traffic going through and be second from last within two minutes flat!

Hehe. But i understand what you are saying. It can also work perfectly, if, and only if, you can truely convince everybody in the group its not the be all and end all to ride just behind the ride leader all the time. That behaviour is sometimes very irritating from riders.



My two cents worth.

Charles Oertel's picture
Joined: 2007/04/14

I use Andy's method, because it is better than the old way.  Here's why:

  1. When you are the one stopped at the turn, you have plenty of time to get off the bike, have a pee, adjust your kit or whatever else you need to do.
  2. There is no frustration that the rider who is far behind you is holding you back - you have to wait for the sweep in any case.
  3. There is never any confusion about who the sweep is.  The sweep's job is to let the marker know that he can go, or that he is now the new sweep.
  4. The ride leader nominates when and where a turn needs to be indicated.  This eliminates the situation where nobody marks a turn because a bunch of people arrive at the turn with the leader and everyone thinks the other person will stop (happened to me a few times).
  5. For gates, the same thing can be done - the second rider opens the gate, and closes it after the sweep has passed, and becomes the new sweep.  That way:
    1. Livestock in the vicinity can't take the gap when there is a big gap between bikes, and
    2. Precariously balanced rocks cannot fall off the post, or be blown off, and we end up leaving the gate open.
    3. Everyone takes turns opening and closing the gate.
    4. No time is wasted trying to find a rock to put on the gatepost.

But, don't let me confuse you with facts.  Just try it.  You will never go back.

Committee: Webmaster / Ride Captain

Zanie's picture
Joined: 2013/11/21

Charles Oertel wrote:

There is never any confusion about who the sweep is.

I've been on one ride using this method (just an ordinary breakfast run) and it confused me immensely - maybe it's just me? But this was due to the fact that a new sweep was allocated every time. When you're nominated to stop at a turn and become the new sweep, how on earth do you know when the last person has gone past, especially if they don't let you know? You wait and wait and then second-guess yourself. If one person is allocated as sweep, it makes it a bit easier. Then this method will work. But, as Hans mentioned, you get the dust-blasters that want to get up-front; making it unpleasant for others.

Charles Oertel's picture
Joined: 2007/04/14

The sweep knows they are the sweep.  They need to stop or otherwise indicate that they are the sweep and either stop and hand over to the marker, or motion for the marker to ride in front of them.

Yes, there are some stupid sweeps who might just ride past the marker without saying anything.  So perhaps having a dedicated sweep who knows exactly what needs to be done and who will never allow a rider to fall behind them is a better proposition.

I was in a situation where I was the last bike before the backup vehicle.  However, on one stretch, the vehicle took another route, and nobody told me.  So, I waited at a turn for ages for the backup vehicle, which never came.  Eventually I gave up, and raced to rejoin the group - and this caused all sorts of problems.

Committee: Webmaster / Ride Captain

Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22

Thanks for above.

I guess it is also about leadership,

Luckily I do not have that person insisting they are No:2 on my rides.

I have used this method for just over a year and it has been a tremendously positive thing for our groups.

The sweep is nominated and allocated before we go.

everyone knows who the sweep is and so we have never in ten rides and any confusion.

On two rides where the No:2 wanted to eb back, they ahd the good grace to not attract undue attention by zooting past everyone else recklessly to get back.

I enjoyed that as I soon know how long the train had become by the time it took for him to appear back in my mirror.


I often have riders who wave the bike behind forward if they do not want to be the No:2 and have to stop at turns.

But as Charles says, it gives the ride leader a lot of piece of mind.

Actually on Sunday, I opened four gates as leader, and at the fifth, after a toot-toot, No: 2 shot ahead, stopped opened the gate and I could ride through and continue ti leader.

That was great.

And thats how the lekker group dynamic evolves.

At the locked gate the teamwork was fantastic, Rhian had the fence down and riders straddling it flat as we filed over it and in no time the fence was restored, posts back in the ground and all repaired.

No instructions given, just lekker teamwork.


Yes, I've been on rides where there is a Number two who hogs that spot.

I too enjoy it

I love to ride shotgun on the 7-oçlock just inside the dust rooster tail and pace the bike ahead,

but I do not hog that spot and allow others to ride No:2 as well.


Feedback from fellow riders in these groups has also convinced me it is the way to go.

And that has been the proof in the method- the better enjoyment the others get.


Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

ArnoR's picture
Joined: 2007/06/21

Hi All


I am sure this "new" method can work, but so can the "older thumbs up".

However, both can go wrong as well, if someone does not listen and do as they were told. I have been on 2 rides where the "new" method failed horribly. I am sure that on tar or smaller gravel groups, it will work perfectly. With larger groups, in summer with lots of dust, it sometimes happen that that No2 can be sitting in the sun for more than an hour, waiting for the all the bikes and the sweeper to pass because of the bigger distances between them.

Even though he / she would be wrong, you can understand that that person might think that something is wrong somewhere and that they might have missed the last bike, and then continue to follow the group and try to catch up. Where with the "older" method, he would have only waited for the person behind him. A few minutes max, and that person would also only wait a few minutes.


And yes, I need to agree with Hans, you get the more experienced people that do not want to sit behind someone at 20km/h for the rest of the day or until that person becomes No2, and moves to the back. These faster riders will then put a lot of people in the group under dust a few times as they pass them, and also create the risk of some rocks being flung up and cause damage or harm.

My opinion

Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22


Everything you and Hans mention are covered in RIDE LEADER 101.

If you have a good ride leader that does not happen on your watch.

I have now more than ten rides running on this method, where No: 2 waits for the group at turns.


Firstly, I do not take groups bigger than 15 bikes. We split into more groups to ensure no group exceed 15.

Ten is a good number to manage.

Large groups are  difficult to manage on any given day.

You will not find me on a ride if the group is larger than 15.

I still want to enjoy my ride.



If the ride leader selects a good competent sweeper, as they should, you have far less problems

If you have people spread out over such a ling time as you mentioned, then you have poor leadership and poor ride/rider selection.

There is never a reason to be more than 2 kilometers long from front to sweeper.

If you briefed each rider properly, then you will not have a problem.

Because it is so simple.

No one I ride with or have ridden with ever lets themselves get stuck behind a slow person and become uncomfortable with it.


In the briefing you as leader are supposed to tell riders to 'find their place' and that often means moving from where you are.

Riders are also told, if they feel a rider behind is crowding them, then wave them past.

We cater for all riders, some like to be up front, some like to hang back and ride ina more leisurely place.

Smokers like to ride close to the lead, to have more cigarette time at breaks.


I have on many rides, never seen some people near the front- they just do not like been there, and some No:2's often appear back up front pretty smartly, and I have not yet had a complaint or comment on speeding past.

Every one finds their rhythm quite easily, amicbaly and quickly

The user experience has always been very good.


Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.


« July 2018 »


Motorsport is inherently dangerous.  As per paragraph 9 of the club constitution, the club shall not be held liable for any loss, injury or death of any member or guest, howsoever arising.

The BMW Motorrad Club Cape cannot be held responsible or liable in any way for any actions or decisions you make as a result of the information posted on this site.  Although this site is enabled and used by the BMW Motorrad Club Cape, posts are made by members, non-members, advertisers and guests and none of it is vetted by the club before posting.  This is the internet and Africa - you are responsible for yourself.

User login

Just to make sure you're human!