The Second Man System

The Essex Chapter use this system for most ride-outs, and if executed properly, will ensure that no-one is lost en-route.

We start with a standard staggered formation, the "lead" bike at the front and "tail end Charlie" at the rear.
(When looking at the images below, take note of the colours of the bikes so you can easily see the positions and movement within the group).

The "lead" and "tail end Charlie" will not change their positions throughout the ride, they will also wear a Hi Vis jacket so they are easily visible to the other riders (it is therefore important that no-one else in the group wears the same colour Hi Vis jacket).

Image 1 - Basic ride formation

When turning, left, right or going around a roundabout the lead bike will indicate to the 2nd man to take a safe position on the side of the road and mark the junction.

Note: It is up to the second man to do this as safely as possible, and choose the position to stop and mark the turn. (but remember, you must be visible to the remaining riders).

Image 2 - 2nd Man marks the route

The 2nd Man has become the marker, the bike that was following the 2nd man moves across to take the place of the 2nd man, all the following bikes change their positions to match.
When moving over to take position, be aware of the bikes behind, just check that they are not too close and the manoeuvre can be carried out safely.

Note: Why change position?

The marker waits until he sees the "tail end Charlie" approaching (no matter how long it takes), and when it is safe to do so, pulls out and re-joins the group in front of the "tail end Charlie".
In most cases the "tail end Charlie" will indicate to the marker to pull out and will (if safe to do so) give plenty of room for the marker to re-join the group.

Note: If road conditions dictate that the "tail end Charlie" has to continue without allowing the marker to pull out, the "tail end Charlie will keep his speed down to allow the marker to overtake (when it's safe to do so) and take the appropriate position within the group.

Image 3 - Marker re-joins the group in front of the "tail end Charlie"

The group is now ready for the next junction and the next set of manoeuvres.



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