Lead Road Captain!

By Officer Hardass
Category: H.O.G. Rides

Before I get too far into this, a little background couldn't hurt.  I've been a member of our local HOG chapter since '09 and over that time I have only ever been involved at a social level — attending rallies, events and whatnot.  More recently, there has been a need for some members to put their hands up for the role of 'Road Captain', which suited me quite well as I've been wanting to get a little more officially involved in our chapter.  After signing up as a learner Road Captain, I was scheduled for a few rides over the remainder of the year.  One of which was our 'New Members' ride today.

I turned up at Fraser Motorcycles all excited for my official debut as a Rear Road Captain, only to find out our scheduled Lead Road Captain was unavailable due to previously planned surgery!  I was now the Lead Road Captain for approximately 15 riders...

A few quick conversations later, I had decided on a route to The Entrance, which I knew well and was quite comfortable with.  All that was left was the riders briefing and we were away. 

The riders briefing was rather interesting in itself.  From the minute I opened my mouth and introduced myself as the Lead Road Captain for the day, I was suddenly awash in a sea of puzzled faces looking back with a facial expression that can only be labelled as, is this young guy really our Road Captain! (At the time of this ride I'm 30 which is pretty young in HOG circles.)

Full of confidence — and severe nerves — we set out from Frasers heading towards the Newcastle bypass.  No sooner had we left Frasers than the majority of the group got stuck at a set of lights.  Fortunately, there was a safe place to pull the remaining group over and wait for the rest to catch–up.  The group caught–up without issue and we were on our way again.

Everything went really smoothly along the bypass, continuing through Belmont and Swansea without issue.  We were briefly held–up by Swansea bridge being open, although for me it was a blessing in disguise as I was able to confirm everyone had caught–up — something that is quite difficult to confirm from the front.

Heading onto the freeway I was presented with a 'L' plater who was diligently obeying their 80km per hour speed limitation.  This proved to be quite an annoyance as we were sitting 20k under the speed limit.  I made the decision to pass the 'L' plater and from what I saw, all the riders followed.  Unbeknown to myself, a reasonable gap of 400-500 metres had opened up mid way down the pack from riders which hadn't had time to pass the 'L' Plater and I hadn't slowed enough to give them time to catch–up.  Fortunately, a couple of kilometres before we were heading into a left hand turn off the freeway, Wom Battle decided to quickly close the gap and ensure everyone made the turn successfully.  (Note to self, when passing cars with a reasonable group of bikes, allow time for them all to pass!)

The rest of the way along the coast to The Entrance went without–a–hitch and was a good chance for me to relax a little, enjoy the ride, and enjoy being out front.

Soon after, we all safely arrived at The Entrance pub and proceeded to consume a nice cold beer and some chips and gravy — both of which did wonders for my stress!

All in all, it was a great ride and I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to get up front!