Guide for Ride Leaders
Leading a ride is easy, fun, and a great way contribute to your club and to get to know club members. You don’t need any special training or skills. You do NOT have to be a bike mechanic or have special first aid training.
- Submit your ride description to the appropriate A/B/C/D/E ride coordinator (see the Flat Tyre for contact information and monthly ride coordinator deadline). Include date, title, start time/place, distance, rating, lunch arrangements, and your phone/email contact information. We encourage leaders to use the convenient and easy to use Ride Listing Assistant which will make sure that you submit all the necessary information.
- "Impromptu Rides" are rides that are submitted after the Flat Tyre deadline, often during the week before the ride. Impromptu Rides should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the Ride Listing Assistant. Please try to submit your Impromptu Ride two days before the ride (Thursday evening for a Saturday ride). Do NOT email your listing directly to the email list(s).
- If you find that you are unable to lead the ride, attempt to find a replacement leader or consider going to the start and handing out route sheets.
- If you need to cancel your ride (due to weather or other reasons) post a cancellation notice on the Ride Cancellations forum topic. (NOTE: your cancellation posting will automatically be forwarded to the wwbc-RIDES email list – do not send a separate notice to the email list).
Prepare for the Ride
- If you are not familiar with the route, try to get out via bike or car to check out the route so you have a general idea of where the ride goes and if there are any special hazards (construction, heavy traffic due to special events, etc).
- Prepare a route sheet for riders, including appropriate regroups along the route. If possible, locate regroups where water/restrooms are available. If the weather is warm/hot, ensure there are sufficient water stops. A & B rides have frequent to semi-frequent stops to wait for all riders. C rides have regular stops dependent on the ride (some rides have mandatory regroups). D & E rides have less frequent stops and riders are expected to be more self-sufficient.
- Route sheets can be simple or very detailed. The basic need is to correctly note every turn. More detailed route sheets can include leader’s cell number, cumulative mileage, mileage between turns, hazards, and terrain changes such as steep climbs. Make sure sheets are legible and easy to read while riding (avoid too small a font).
- Be prepared for your ride and make sure your own bike is in good shape. You are NOT required to be able to repair other bikes, have spare parts for others, or have any special first aid training. Bringing a small first aid kit is a good idea, but not a requirement.
Day of the Ride
Take With You:
- Sign-Up Sheet and pencil or pen.
- Route sheets for riders.
- Your fully charged cell phone (if you have one).
- Arrive at the meeting point BEFORE the listed meeting time.
- All riders must sign in on the Sign Up Sheet. Members print their name and cell number in case contact is needed, non-members print and sign to accept the Release of Liability.
- Introduce yourself, give a brief description of the ride, review the pace and difficulty. Distribute route sheets. Review known hazards on the route. Let riders know lunch plans and your policy on regroups.
- It is a good idea to give a safety message at the beginning of every ride. Encourage riders to point out hazards to others and use voice signals when appropriate (car-back, passing on your left, etc).
- Choose a co-leader to sweep, or lead, the ride with you. The sweeper’s responsibility is to keep track of riders so no one gets dropped by accident. If a rider is riding substantially slower than the advertised pace of the ride they should not expect the ride to wait for them. Use your best judgment, but try to let anyone left behind know if you are going ahead without them. Ask riders to inform you if they are leaving the ride early so that you can keep an accurate count of riders.
During the Ride
- Follow route sheet. If you change the route or regroup points, make certain that all riders are aware of the change. Remind riders of good riding practices if necessary.
- Keep track of all riders. If there is a mechanical problem, assist if able, but you are NOT responsible for repairing the problem. In the case of a physical problem or accident, call for help if needed. Provide first aid if qualified (but remember that as a leader you are NOT required to have specialized medical training). Ask other riders or members of the public for help if available.
After the Ride
- Complete the sign up sheet (estimate average speed and total climbing if you don’t have data).
- Send sheet to the statistician via email or regular mail (address on sheet).
- In the case of an accident or incident on the ride, note it on the ride sign up sheet. (If necessary, complete the LAB [League of American Bicyclists] Incident Report Form.)
How to become a better Ride Leader:
If you think about why you get together with others to ride your bike, you will have a pretty good idea about why other people are attracted to group riding. If you think about the qualities you like in a ride leader, you will have some good notions about what others would hope to get from you. There are some general aspects of ride leadership which, when kept in mind, can make for a more enjoyable experience.
People ride in a group to be with other people. Give some consideration to how you can promote the social aspects of the ride. Simply asking people to introduce themselves can go a long way in that regard. Rest and lunch stops often encourage socialization.
People will naturally look to you for direction and guidance when needs or problems arise. Problems can be avoided if spotted early. Keep the status of the group as a whole in mind. Be aware if people are lagging behind or experiencing mechanical problems. Exercise your best judgment when decisions need to be made. The safety of the group should be your highest concern.
Ride leading is the backbone of our club. It is your willingness to lead a ride that supports and promotes our primary purpose: bike riding. Always remember that people appreciate what you do. Every Sept/Oct all ride leaders and co-leaders from the previous twelve months are invited to celebrate their efforts at the Ride Leaders BBQ.
Revised: June 1, 2013 GS
Revised: May 9, 2013 ACR
Revised: April 12, 2013 MSK
Revised: Apr. 8, 2011 MSK
Revised: Feb. 12, 2004 RAB
Revised: Sep. 28, 1999 CBS
Revised: Oct. 18, 1996 RAB
Draft 1: Jun. 1988