What Ballarat Riders Isn't :-)
Ballarat Riders has been around the region for a very long time. It *isn't* a club. There is no formal membership as such and there are no office bearers or officials. We're not quite sure what it is but we know it works so we don't spend too much time trying to define what it is; but ......
What Ballarat Riders is (kinda)
Ballarat Riders was started a long long time ago by Dale Alexander, who represents the heart and soul of this community. The community that makes up Ballarat Riders share a few things in common. Predictably, we all like motorcycles and riding 'em. Amongst the community there are all sorts of bikes, from cruisers to sports bikes; big ones, little ones, and as many makes and models as you can think of. And we like talking about bikes. And we like coffee and good food and the occasional drink. That's about it really.
So how does one join Ballarat Riders?
That's actually pretty easy. You hear about a ride, come around at the meeting point advertised, introduce yourself to everyone, and you're in :-) Then we take off for a ride, probably stop somewhere for a coffee and/or a bite to eat, and then we come home.
How do I find out about rides and the details of when and where?
There are several ways. There is a mailing list. You can register for that mailing list at this link:
But more frequently now, we communicate via Facebook. There is an open group here:
This is a general page and anyone is free to participate on it. Mostly fun stuff. However more serious stuff (and usually to do with ride announcements and stuff) is done in a Closed Group here:
If you are on Facebook and would like to join the group, just hit the "Join" button and someone will follow through and get you in.
Can I initiate a ride?
Absolutely!All you need to do is decide on where you think you might go, publish the details on Facebook and indicate where the meeting point is and also the departure time (as opposed to the meeting time, ppl usually get the 2 confused if you're not clear:-) )
I know Ballarat Riders is not a club but are there any rules or protocols about a ride?
No rules as such. Rides like these are not formal or organised as such in the same way as Club rides are. Its pretty much a bunch of well meaning riders getting together and heading off into the Wild Blue Yonder. If you call a ride, all that it means is that ppl have decided to tag along with you.
Having said that there are a few common sense things that we do like to think that everyone agrees with when we go on these rides:
Common Sense Things
It makes sense that if everyone just wants to have an enjoyable ride, then its good to make sure that everyone looks after each other. Keep an eye on each other on the road and be mindful of other road users. At any one time, rides will be made up of a variety of machines and riding abilities, so keeping the slower or less experienced riders in mind and in sight is something we like to do. If you are one of those lesser experienced riders, we would be *very* keen on encouraging you to join us. Whilst many of us have ridden for a very long time, we like nothing better than to share our experiences, talk about your bike and show you some of the runs we go on.
So looking after each other and some mutual respect is something we value and practice.
In terms of the logistics of the ride, there are a couple fo things we like to do to keep everyone together. Inevitably some of the faster riders with bigger bikes, may get ahead of the pack. If this happens, then they will generally pull over and wait for everyone to catch up, usually at a place where there is a junction, so everyone knows where to go. If the lead riders don't stop, then one will usually stop at the junction point and guide everyone through in the right direction.
There is usually a lead rider (ie the one that called the ride and knows the route) and a "Tail End Charlie" who will not pass the slowest bike. There is no formal arrangement or agreement about this sort of thing, it generally just happens :-) Riders who know each other relatively well will sometimes swap roles but will usually make it known to the pack who is doing what. No one is excluded from taking on these roles and equally, no-one is obliged to take them on.
It makes good sense to do a head count before the ride takes off. And then, if the pack is quite big, just to do a quick head count at any regroup points. And on this, no rider is ever obliged to stick with the pack., But it makes good sense that if you are going to split off, that you let someone know so that we don't end up sending out search parties!
The Uncomfortable Issue of Incidents
Thankfully only very occasionally, here have been a couple of incidents where riders have come off. There are a few pointers about accidents that again, are really just common sense
Don't try and and pull up at the crash scene - there are 2 reasons for this. The first is that if the accident happened just in front of you, you're likely to have to pull up very quickly and possibly even crash yourself. The other is that if someone did come off at a particular point on a road, there's probably a reason it happened there (ie dangerous spot?) If you stop there too, you could be hit by other vehicles. The safest course of action if you see an accident in front of you is to safely steer past it, continue up the road a bit and then find a spot where you can both stop and park safely. Its not a good idea to do a U-turn and ride back to the crash scene. That generally results in a whole lot of vehicles in that proximity and these will be exposed to more dangers and they will also get in the way of emergency vehicles if they are needed.
When you do get back to the site of the incident, its usually a good idea to scan the accident scene and make sure that no machinery or broken parts will present any further dangers to other riders or vehicles. And when you get to the rider, give way to any other riders who have first aid experience. Every accident needs to be treated as serious until there is a clear and competent assess ment by someone that its otherwise.
Here are some good articles to read about how to deal with stuff like that:
We're here for a good time
That's about it really. We hope that the community of Ballarat Riders continues to grow and we hope that everyone who comes along for the ride feels the same way as we do and contributes to this growing community.