“Ride Captains and Tail-Gunners” Book Review [Rider’s Library]

Motorcyclists are social types. We tend to enjoy each other’s company, and that results in club events, gatherings, and group rides.

Group rides can be a lot of fun, but like anything else, there are right ways and wrong ways to do them. In a group ride, doing some things incorrectly can spell disaster. The larger the group, the more opportunities there are for things to go terribly wrong. A chain-reaction motorcycle pile-up can ruin your day.

Touring Tennessee aboard the Indian Scout

There has been very little information published about how to do a group ride in a safe, well-organized manner—until now.

Ride Captains and Tail-Gunners—The Complete Guide for Motorcycle Group Riding by Mark Turkel is a great resource written by a rider who has been there, done that, and learned some effective techniques to help ensure safe and successful group rides.

Turkel draws on thousands of miles of first-hand group ride experience, as well as input and suggestions from many other experienced riders to create a unique, comprehensive guidebook.

Turkel is an avid motorcyclist with more than 15 years’ riding experience, a former safety officer, and a ride captain in a club with over 400 riders.

Turkel explains his motivation for writing the book: “It is important that everyone participating in a group ride understand the group riding safety rules, and knowing ‘why’ we do the things we do make for a smoother ride in which everyone can be safe and enjoy the day.”

Ride Captains Tail Gunners Book Review

At first blush, experienced riders may say that it’s all just common sense. The rules of the road apply whether riding solo, with two, or three, or 200—of course, they do. However, Turkel uses common sense and the rules of the road in the context of the group ride, its dynamics, unique challenges, and safety strategies that apply only in a well-organized group ride.

For example, something as simple as a lane change on a multilane highway is pretty basic when riding alone, or with one or two others. Turkel explains a safe strategy for the lane change that helps ensure the entire group can do it safely and stay together. He details the roles of the ride captain and tail-gunner, and how they can work together to keep the ride safe and on track.

In Ride Captains and Tail-gunners—The Complete Guide for Motorcycle Group Riding, Turkel provides tips on ride planning—individual pre-ride preparation for participants and their machines; group formation; bike spacing and pacing; hand signals to aid in communication during the ride; handling various traffic situations; compensate for different rider skill levels; variations in the group on the return ride from the destination; how to keep the group together and regroup when disruptions in the group occur; rest stop and parking etiquette; handling inclement weather; suggestions for handling emergency situations; and much more.

Ride Captains and Tail-Gunners—The Complete Guide for Motorcycle Group Riding Fast Facts

  • Author: Mark Turkel
  • Published 2021: paperback; 67 6.25” x 9” pages; 38 color and black & white images and illustrations; self-published; ISBN: 978-0-578-30008-5

Ride Captains and Tail-Gunners—The Complete Guide for Motorcycle Group Riding Price: $15 (order direct)