How to Pick up a Motorcycle

So many women raise the question “what will I do if I drop my bike?” Here is proof that you can lift your bike upright; this demonstration is based on the bike pickup technique by Carol Youorski.

Do Not pick up the motorcycle if:

  • Your bike is leaking fluids.
  • Your bike is on an incline or decline as it can roll away from you
  • You have any health issues such as back problems

Before starting the lifting process:

  • Stop the engine using the engine cutoff switch
  • Put the motorcycle in gear to stabilize the bike and prevent from rolling
  • Place the kickstand down if the bike is on it’s right side
  • Scrape away gravel from underneath the tires and your feet to provide traction

Lifting the Motorcycle:

  • Squat down with your back toward the bikes seat Grip underneath the back fender with one hand and the lower handlebar grip with the other.
  • Your knuckles should be facing down Place your butt between the center of the seat and the upper edge of the seat Find your foot placement, whether both feet together underneath you, or one foot forward Keep trying new stances and positioning your body differently if you don’t get it on your first try Use only the butt and leg muscles for this lift.
  • Do not use your back and arms Begin to rock the bike up to a 45 degree angle Re-situate your body position.
  • Place your feet closer together and place your butt in the middle of the seat Lean back and start taking baby steps backwards, walking the bike up to 90 degrees Simply rest the bike onto the kickstand

Group Riding Tips

Riding Formation

A Group Ride is normally composed of a Ride Leader and a Sweep or Drag Rider (bringing up the rear). Before the ride, go over the planned route. Set-up riding Teams with 3 to 5 bikes each. Select Lead and Sweep position riders for each Team. New riders should ride 2ND position. Review any hand signals the Team will be using on the ride. Always pass hand signals to the rider behind you. This is especially important for road hazards that must be avoided. The first rider to spot a hazard should identify it and the hand signal then passed along. Lead always rides dominant lane position. When leading a Team, ensure that ALL riders can safely make it onto the roadway before you pull out. The Sweep serves as the eyes for the Leader. She must be alert to traffic conditions, Team conditions and leaders intents in order to secure lanes for the Team when needed.

Normal riding as a group is done in a staggered formation. This is, basically, dividing a lane in half with each rider occupying his/her own half of the lane. It is each rider's responsibility to ride in the half of the lane as dictated to by the next rider in front. If the rider in front needs to change lane halves to maintain the stagger, then it is the following rider's responsibility to change lane position on down the line to accommodate this change. The Lead Rider usually starts the stagger in the left half of the lane position. While in staggered group riding, the normal stagger distance is 1 -> 2 seconds, and no more than a 3 second gap, in order to maintain a tight formation and not allow traffic to interrupt and break up the formation. This means that each rider will be 2 -> 3 seconds behind the rider directly in front and using the same half of the lane. When coming to a stop, the group generally forms up two abreast / side by side. When the group starts off, the rider on the left starts first.

When riding in curves, the stagger is no longer warranted and a single file type of formation is normal. These changes in lane position should be dictated by the lead Rider. Holding two fingers straight up in the air (either the index and little fingers, or the first two fingers) indicates a staggered formation, while the index finger pointing straight up in the air is a direction for single file riding.

Single file riding allows the riders more freedom to negotiate the curves and to dodge obstacles while having the freedom to use the whole lane. In single formation the normal distance between riders is increased to 3 -> 5 seconds. For safety, the single file formation should not be elongated to such a distance that the rider in front cannot be seen. There are two reasons for this:

1. It is much easier to negotiate around corners by using the next rider's position to "see" further around blind curves
2. The rider can see and pass back hand signals indicating obstacles or other information ahead.

If any rider feels that the group pace is too fast for comfort, then he/she should motion the following bikes to pass until the only one left following is the Sweep/Drag Rider. Then ride at your own pace until the next stop; when you should inform the Lead Rider that you are uncomfortable with the pace. It will then be up to the Lead Rider to either separate the ride into two groups, or go at a slower pace so that all members of the group feel secure. Group riding should not be, and is never, a race!

If a rider in the formation needs to pull out for any reason, the group will close up the gap and reorganize the stagger. Please do not pull off, also, unless you need to do so. The Sweep/Drag Rider of the group will aid the rider who has pulled over. He/She will also communicate (via radio) with the Ride Leader so as to apprise him of the situation. The next (last) rider then becomes the Sweep/Drag rider until the Sweep/Drag rider returns to the group.

When turning onto another road, if the next rider back cannot be seen, either due to having traffic in-between, or a large enough gap in the group for any reason; the last rider in the line must wait at the turn for the next rider to show up before leaving the turn so as to signal that the route has taken a turn. This will keep the group together on the same route even though there may be unforeseen gaps in the formation.

Passage of Information through Signals

During the ride, the Ride Leader will make various blinker light, hand, and leg signals. These signals indicate lane changes or turns, obstacles, increasing/decreasing speed, or whether to form a stagger formation or a single line. These hand signals need to be passed back through the group from the front rider to the next rider in line. That way each rider only needs to be cognizant of signals from the rider directly in front of him/her rather than everyone trying to keep an eye on the Ride Leader.

Blinker lights should always be used to not only allow everyone to see the upcoming change, but to feed back acknowledgment. In a group ride, whether it be the Ride Leader or in the middle of the pack, the bike in front needs to see the blinker light of the following rider before turning in front of the following rider/bike (such as a right hand turn when the bike in the left stagger crosses over in the right stagger lane). This prevents the bike in front from crashing into the (surprised/unprepared) following bike/rider when making the turn. Assuming that the following bike sees your blinker light. Sometimes riders don't notice blinker lights right away, so they should be turned on well before the turn. That way everybody in the group becomes aware that a turn is coming up.

If an obstacle is spotted in the road, it should immediately be signaled to the riders in back for safety.

Sometimes, when the obstacle is spotted in a blind curve, and one doesn't want to take one's hand off the handlebars, the signal is often done with an outstretched leg (indicating which side of the lane the obstacle is located). This can be very useful when you don't want to take your hand off the throttle and the obstacle is on the right side of a blind curve. Some typical obstacles which should be signaled as to where they may lie in the lane are: sand/dirt/gravel/rocks, pot holes, dead animals, road dragons, (pieces of truck tire treads), vehicular debris, range cattle, tar snakes (road tar repairs), furniture, etc. These obstacle signals should always be passed to the rear as soon as possible so as to give those riders the best opportunity to dodge them. Don't forget that the riders towards the rear in a group ride will not be able to see as much of the whole road surface as those in front due to the visual blockage of the front riders. Other hand signals include speed changes, directions for coming alongside or passing, need for food or rest stop, and other miscellaneous things like telling another rider that his/her blinker light is on unnecessarily.


Universal Hand Signals


Passing Other Vehicles

On a double-lane road, when Lead signals to switch lanes, Sweeper secures the lane as safety permits. Once Sweeper has secured the lane, Lead will switch lanes, taking dominant lane position. Team riders move with Lead, taking their new track position relative to Lead’s dominant lane position. There should be no gaps within the Team larger than 2 or 1 second relative to each bike's lane position. If there is, it is Sweeper’s job to indicate that the gap must be closed. If a vehicle tailgates your Team, Sweeper must slow down, dropping back about 4 seconds, with the rest of Team doing likewise when aware of Sweeper’s move, to allow the vehicle to pass, or so the Team may stop if necessary.

On a single-lane road if it becomes necessary to pass a vehicle each rider will pass individually, doing so efficiently and safely. When it is safe to do so, Lead will pull out and pass. When Lead has completed her pass, she must return to her former lane, taking dominant lane position and keep going to open up space for the next rider. As soon as Lead has successfully passed, the second rider should move to the left lane position and watch for her opportunity to pass. At this time other Team members take the bike’s position that was ahead of them. After passing, second should return to her former lane position so she opens up space for the next rider.