Southern Section diary
Southern Section diary
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The BMW Club Drop-Off Ride Out Protocol
The drop-off system is the preferred protocol for Club ride-outs. It offers a combination of both flexibility and safety without the frustrations of members becoming separated from the rest of the group or even lost!
The Ride Out has a Ride Leader appointed who will lead the group and a Sweeper marking the tail-end, watching for stragglers and any riders who may have become separated from the core riding block.
Once underway, overtaking other members of the Group is permitted however, overtaking the Leader is not allowed, and you will be considered to have left the Ride Out if you do overtake the Leader.
Riders in the group are free to make progress as they see fit and, the benefit of the Drop-Off system is, that you're are not required to keep the rider in front in sight, allowing you to ride at your own pace. At any junction or deviation, the Ride Leader will signal the first rider behind them to stop and direct the following riders (from a safe and conspicuous position), with the Leader waiting for the second rider to make the turn before continuing.
The rider marking the junction will then wait for all the ride members to pass before re-joining the ride in front of the Sweeper, when it is safe to do so.
If any rider is uncomfortable with marking a junction they should allow a following rider to pass, at some suitable point, to avoid riding behind the Ride Leader.
The Ride Out will end once the named destination has been reached.
The Club requires all participants to ensure that they have signed-on with the Rider Leader before starting the day's riding. This helps everybody participating to keep track of riders, particularly in the event of any 'unplanned occurrences'.
The BMW Club Drop-Off Ride Out System in use
There are two types of Ride Out used by the BMW Club and both must use the BMW Club Drop-Off System.
1 A Ride Out using only metalled roads which are Public Rights Of Way.
2 A Ride Out using Public Rights Of Way on metalled roads plus some roads which are not tarmac covered or may be private roads used with the permission of the Landowner.
The type of Ride Out will be advertised in advance so participants are clearly aware of the type of roads the Ride Out will be travelling on.
Ride leaders and Sweepers must be members of the BMW Club but are not required to have any specific qualifications.
It is expected that every rider’s use of their motorcycle is fully compliant with the law.
Every rider is completely and exclusively responsible for their own actions.
Use Of The BMW Club Drop-Off Ride Out System
The purpose of the drop-off system is to allow a group of riders to travel a route to reach a destination without each rider closely following another motorcycle or needing a detailed route.
The system is straightforward. As each junction or deviation will be marked by a member of the group the system allows riders to ride at their own pace with no need to ride nose-to-tail.
This allows other road users to overtake members of the group as normal.
If members of the group are held up for some reason (for example a railway level crossing) the rider marking the next junction will potentially be left wondering what has happened. It is vital they remain at the junction. The Sweeper will eventually reach them and allow progress to be made.
If part of the group is held up the ride leader will run out of riders to mark a junction or deviation. At this point the leader must stop in a safe location and if no riders arrive the Leader must return along the route to establish why the group is not following.
Where a route involves motorways the exit junction needs to be made known to everyone on the Ride Out before moving onto the motorway. This is probably most relevant for long routes such as foreign tours where riders wish to travel together.
The Ride Leader needs to be aware of the pressure that some riders will feel to keep up. From time to time the Leader needs to have sight of the first rider following them. This will require the Ride Leader to slow or stop if necessary.
Rest breaks can be taken as appropriate. On longer runs consideration to stop will be given. From time to time the Ride Leader can stop in a layby or similar which is big enough to accept all the Ride Out members. By noting how long it takes for the Sweeper to arrive they can then judge whether the pace of the ride is too slow or too quick.
There are many reasons why a member of the Ride Out may wish to leave the Ride Out before the end. Throughout the Ride Out each member must decide whether they are still comfortable to continue riding the route e.g. fatigue, the route may have become taxing, fuel may have run low, inexperience on unfenced roads, inexperience of single track roads etc.
In all cases if a member is not happy to continue they should wait until the Sweeper arrives and inform the Sweeper they are leaving the Ride Out. All members of the Ride Out should carry a map or navigational device to use in case they leave the Ride Out, get lost or separated from the group.