Bournemouth & Wessex Advanced Motorcyclists

BWAM Social Runs

There is a strong social side to the BWAM club and Group Social Runs are a great way of keeping BWAM members involved. Although some guidelines must be specified, the Social Runs should be looked upon as an opportunity to meet like-minded people in a constructive and enjoyable environment where advanced riding skills are a common theme. The guidelines are shown here to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all that attend.

Eligibility to attend BWAM Social Runs

Current BWAM Group policy states that an Observer must endorse an Associate member’s riding prior to the Associate being allowed to attend Group Social Runs. The purpose of the endorsement is to ensure that the Associate is capable of riding with a group of experienced motorcyclists and that they will not present a danger to themselves or others due to a lack of experience. The Observers are aware that they need to brief new Associates in the aspects of ‘Group Riding’ and sign-off the endorsement in the Associates Logbook. The Associate must be a ‘paid-up’ member of BWAM in order to attend Group Social Runs. Current IAM members i.e. those who have passed the IAMs advanced motorcycle test, must be IAM Group members in order to attend the Group Social Runs.

Appearance & Preparation

The rider attending the Group Social Run should ensure that their machine is legal, roadworthy, and preferably well turned out. Consideration should be given to riding apparel regarding the law, safety and weather conditions. Some social runs may start dry and sunny but finish at night in the pouring rain, so omitting waterproofs and using a road legal tinted visor would not be the best choice in this instance.

Departure times published in the Group event calendar are ‘latest’. The rider should arrive at the meeting point in plenty of time, complete with a FULL tank of fuel. Riders with a short tank range should notify the run leader so that suitable fuel stops can be planned.

Riding in Groups

BWAM normally uses the ‘Marker’ system for Social Runs. Briefly, this means that there will be a Run Leader who will remain at the front of the group and a ‘Tail-End Charlie’ who will remain at the back of the group. The rider behind the run leader will mark the first junction for the rest of the group and then fall-in at the back, but in front of ‘Tail-End Charlie’. The next person who is behind the run leader will mark the next junction etc etc. It’s a simple way of getting everyone to the same destination without the need to keep the whole group in sight. If you have any questions regarding the Marker system, you can either ask an Observer or a knowledgeable BWAM club member. Alternatively, checkout Group Riding Systems for a comprehensive description.

Since BWAM is an ‘Advanced’ motorcycle club, the riders in the group are generally very experienced. It is also likely that they possess good observation, good planning techniques and have the ability (and desire) to make progress safely within the confines of the law. Progress is an important ingredient of the guidance provided in the preparation for the IAM’s test, and is the main bone of contention during Group Social Runs. People who attend BWAM Social Runs must be aware that the ride will be undertaken at an advanced level and therefore ‘progress’ will be an element. Unless the run has been specifically classed as a ‘Chocolate Box’ run, those riders wishing to take a gentle ride to admire the scenery may be disappointed and also break up the flow of the Run for other riders.

The IAM is first and foremost a road safety organisation. It is IAM policy that all members and potential members should comply with the law and the Highway Code and should ride with the highest level of safety possible at all times.

The IAM advises:

It should also be noted that BWAM riders attending a Group Social Run are ambassadors of the club and their conduct should be fitting and appropriate. The BWAM committee will deal with complaints regarding individuals who behave inappropriately during group organised events. Believe me, the committee does not want to be this officious, so please be courteous to your fellow road users and ride within the law. Please note that it is you, the rider, who is in control of the machine at all times during a Group Social Run.

What do I do if?

If a rider develops a problem during the Group Social Run he/she should notify 'Tail-End Charlie'. Waving your arms frantically as he approaches should do the trick.

If a rider wishes to leave the ride prior to its planned completion they should either discuss this with the run leader at the start of the ride (if pre-planned) or notify ‘Tail-End Charlie’ during the ride (if it’s a snap decision). Please do not just leave the ride prematurely without notifying anyone. If you do, ‘Tail-End Charlie’ will just end up searching for you in the hedges at the side of the road.

If a rider gets split up from the group, he/she should proceed to the pre-determined meeting place and be ready with a good excuse. Please note that the excuses, "There was an earthquake!", "A terrible flood!" and "It wasn’t my fault!" have all been taken.


Guests of the group i.e. non-members are welcome to come along. However, all guests must be supervised by an Observer during the ride. Obviously, this will need to be arranged prior to the event.

Nigel Jones
Senior Observer

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