It’s weird when I’m not in the lead

by on August 9, 2013
in Riding Tips

One of the things about the recent Divas ride to Haverhill that was really different – besides the unseasonably cool July weather – was the fact that I was not the one leading the ride. It’s unusual (though certainly not objectionable!) for me to be situated elsewhere in the pack, and it creates a really different riding experience.

Of course, the ride leader has the responsibility for plotting the route and keeping the group together as best she can, and getting the group re-united if separation occurs.

But the members of the pack have a responsibility, too, and it’s one I admit I haven’t had much experience with. It’s the responsibility to pay attention to what the rider ahead of me is doing.

Perhaps it was simply the novelty of not being the ride leader that turned me into a slacker. But whatever the reason, more than once, I found myself gawking at the scenery… blissfully unaware that my pal Dakota Coyote actually had her blinker on, signaling for an upcoming turn! In these butt-puckering instances, I not-so-blissfully hit the brakes, said a quick “Oh shit,” and managed to make the turn.

But not without kicking myself for shirking my duty!¬†For you see, it’s not just my duty to pay attention for my own sake. It’s also my duty for the benefit of the rider behind me, so she knows where we’re going too, and so I don’t cause an accident behind me!

And here’s a tip that I haven’t really incorporated into my own “ride leader” repertoire, but will try to remember: hand signals REALLY help! Now I’m religious (pious, even) about using my electronic turn signals, wagging my foot when there’s something in the road, or pointing to one side if there’s a potential hazard such as a car inching its way forward from a stop sign. But I don’t typically use directional hand signals, and yet I noticed: while I might have easily missed Coyote’s blinking turn signal, I couldn’t help but see her arm hanging out, pointing left… or bobbing over her head, pointing right!

So the simple lesson is, pay attention! Responsibility to yourself and other riders doesn’t take a holiday just because you’re not leading the pack!

And now, for your further reading and purely as a public service, here are some common hand signals every rider should know:


*haha, no we’re not. Of COURSE we don’t drink and ride.



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2 Responses to “It’s weird when I’m not in the lead”
  1. Pam says:

    Priceless!! When hubby and I ride he takes the lead because I’m a little “directionally” challenged! Good reminder though.

  2. Sash says:

    You made a great leader yesterday, I have to say!

    Also, I knew all of those hand signals, except the Vodka one. Damn! I thought it was Bourbon. I’m glad there wasn’t a test!


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