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August 19, 2018 4 min read
Understanding the Marker system is important, as every rider needs to do their part to avoid anyone getting lost.
Each group will have a designated ‘Ride Leader’ and a ‘Tail End Charlie’. The positions of these two riders will not change throughout the run. They will be introduced to all the riders in the group at the start of the run, when the leader briefs the group on the ride.
Whenever or wherever there is a change of direction at junctions, and all roundabouts, the rider, (now referred to as “Marker”), immediately behind the leader will indicate the direction taken by the leader. He stays as a Marker for all the following bikes. To do this, the Marker should pull in at the side of the road, in a safe place where he/she will be visible to the rest of the riders, so the direction can be indicated to all the following riders. It is most important that the Marker stops in a position where:-
The Marker should clearly indicate the direction taken by the leader, using hands.
When the Tail End Charlie approaches the Marker, the Marker should take up position in front of the Tail End Charlie. The Tail End Charlie should leave enough space for this to happen. If it is not safe to pull out in front of the Tail End Charlie then the Marker should re-join the traffic when possible and take up position in front of the Tail End Charlie as soon as it is safe to do so. It could happen that the number two rider (The Marker) forgets to mark a direction change – in which case the next rider (Number three) should take it upon themselves to be the marker, and mark the direction change to prevent the chain from breaking.
This approach involves the entire group and the Marker gets rotated from front to back and naturally moves up to the front.
Here is a couple of videos which help to explain it visually. Please note that these are not created by LAM and are used only as guides.
In this first video notice how long it can take for all the riders to go past you. It is important to wait until the Tail End Charlie arrives and indicates for you to go. If you leave too early there is the potential the group will get split up and riders will get lost.
In this second video there is an example of how not to position yourself as a marker. Watch from about 50 seconds into the video – the Ride Leader indicates for the marker to position himself on the left, but the marker moves to unsafe position in the middle of the road. Pay attention to where the Ride Leader tells you to be positioned.
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