The Corner Man System

Explore riders in the Laotian jungle

What is the Corner Man System?

Explore Indochina follows the ‘corner man system’. It’s a method of riding designed to keep large groups of motorcyclists organised, and we’ve been using it for decades—it works very well, without being too strict or formal.

The great thing about the system is that everyone gets to help keep the group on the right track, and you can stop for photos, toilet breaks, drinks or even breakdowns without worrying about getting left behind. Everyone gets to ride at their own pace!

How Does the Corner Man System Work?

The Lead Rider and the Sweep Rider

One of the guides acts as the lead rider, while one of our mechanics is always the sweep rider. The sweep rider will have enough tools and spares on them to fix any minor problems, and the support van will always be behind the sweep rider.

Arriving at an Intersection

When the lead rider comes to an intersection where he plans on turning, he will wait for and then point to the rider immediately behind him. This second rider is now the ‘corner man’ and is now in charge of making sure all following riders make the turn.

The lead rider will then point out a good, easily visible spot where the corner man should stop. The corner man should acknowledge the instruction with a wave to the lead rider.

The Corner Man

The corner man needs to be easily seen by all other riders, or there is no point being there. Their bike should be pointing in the direction that the lead rider drove towards, so that their bike is actually perpendicular to the other oncoming riders, and hence easily seen.

The corner man will need to watch the road for oncoming riders and ensure they are not hidden or blocked by other oncoming traffic like large, long trucks. When he spots them, he should get their attention and point out the turn to be made.

The other oncoming riders should acknowledge the corner man with a wave of their hand or nod of their head as they approach the corner man. That way, the corner man knows that they have seen him. 

The corner man stays on the corner until the sweep arrives, or when one of the other guides or mechanics relieves them. Don’t pull out your camera or disappear into the trees for a leak!

What If Another Rider Passes the Corner Man?

If another rider rides past the corner man, a snap decision must be made.

If there is another rider or guide, you can send them after the person who missed the turn. If you’re on your own, you will have to gear up as quickly as possible and chase the lost rider. When you catch the missing rider, turn around and collect any other riders who followed you down the wrong road.

The lead rider doesn’t care if you don’t want to be the corner man, and riders with pillions are not exempt. If you don’t want to wait on the corners, don’t ride behind the lead!

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