STAR #474 Manassas, VA

Ride Safety

Group Riding Roles

Posted by Wayne Vick on November 28, 2009 at 8:15 PM

     Ride Captain: a person who devises group riding rules or guidelines for an organized group ride. And who communicates these guidelines to the group, and who generally plans and lays out group rides. The Road Captain may or may not ride lead for a particular ride.


     Lead Bike: a person who rides in the most forward position in a group and who relays information to all other riders in the group via hand signals. The Lead Bike determines the group’s direction, speed, choice of lane, and formation. He or she often must make quick navigation decisions in the face of road hazards, changes in road surface conditions, poor signage, construction and other obstacles while maintaining control of his or her bike and communicating to those following. If there are three groups on a ride, there will be three Lead Bikes.


     Tail Gunner: This is a rider who rides in the last position in a group. The Tail Gunner must secure a lane for the rest of the group during lane changes into faster traffic (move first to block oncoming traffic) and close the door (move to block passing traffic) when a lane is lost in a merging lane situation.


The Tail Gunner serves as the eyes of the Ride Leader. They watch the formation, and informs the Ride Leader of any potential problems within the group. They watch other vehicles, and informs the Ride Leader (and anyone else with radios) of hazardous conditions approaching from the rear, such as vehicles trying to cut into the formation and trucks passing with potentially dangerous wind blasts. They will watch for merging lanes, and will move into a merging lane (or stay in a merging lane just vacated by the group) in order to "close the door" on other vehicles that may otherwise find themselves trying to merge into the formation. At the Ride Leader’s request, the Tail Gunner changes lanes before the formation, to secure the lane so the formation can move into it. Should an appointed Tail gunner not be available, the Ride Leader will designate an experienced rider to fill that position.


Usually this is the most experienced rider in a group, for the Tail Gunner is the rider who stops to assist a rider who has mechanical trouble, loses control, or unexpectedly drops out of a ride for some other reason. The Tail Gunner should be prepared to render aid to a downed or disabled rider in a group. If at all possible, the Tail Gunner should have a co-rider who can assist with traffic control if a serious problem arises. For each formation there is a Tail Gunner. If there are three formations on a ride, there will be three Tail Gunners. The rider in this position is sometimes called the Drag Bike.

Categories: Group Riding

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

You must be a member to comment on this page. Sign In or Register