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GUIDELINES FOR Ride Leaders

Who Can Lead a Club Ride?

Any member can lead a ride! Leading a SRCC Club Ride is as simple as choosing a route, submitting a ride here, and being at the start location with copies of the waiver and incident reporting forms (and a pen).  See guidelines below.

There is also an OPTIONAL Ride Leader Training and incentive program and a Ride Leader Mentoring Program

Leading a Ride

Leading a ride is one of the most essential contributions you can make to the Club.   After all, club rides are at the heart of what we do!  Dreaming up unique, interesting and adventurous routes can be a delight; leading them can be even more fun!  Remember that coming on a ride implies an informal contract.  The leader provides the route and ride plan, and gives guidance and support to help participants complete the route safely.  The rider's job is to show up on time, follow the route and ride plan, maintain the listed tempo, and cycle safely and cooperatively by following the Rider Responsibilities.

Developing a Ride

It is generally recommended to choose a familiar route that you have ridden.  At a minimum, study the route carefully, and then ride or drive it beforehand if possible.  There is a Club Ride Archive for many rides Club members have done before.  These are organized by distance, starting point or difficulty, and each includes a map and route slip. This can be a good place to start when developing a route.

Choose a starting point that is centrally located, easy to find, and has bathrooms and ample parking.  See the Common Ride Start Locations.

Choose a route that has:

  • safe places to regroup
  • water, food, bathrooms and other amenities (i.e. coffee shop, park, store, school, mini-mart, etc.)
  • minimal traffic, stop signs, traffic lights, construction zones, and anything that might prove hazardous to cyclists

Determine spots to regroup.  Choose locations that:

  • are easy to find and safe (i.e. allow the group to pull completely off the road)
  • offer bathroom facilities and amenities (i.e. a coffee shop, park, store, school, mini-mart, etc.)
  • come after situations where separation normally occurs in a group (i.e. long climbs, windy areas, heavy traffic conditions)
  • occur after a time period or distance where separation is likely to happen

Use Ride with GPS to develop a route with a map and a cue slip.  You may want to “clean up” the route slip with spreadsheet or word-processing software to reduce it in size, and to add regroups and stops.  Remember that it can be hard to read while a bike is moving, so make the print large, dark and easy to read.

Submitting a Ride

The ride submittal form is here.  To complete the sections on terrain, tempo (i.e., pace), mileage, and regroup frequency, refer to The Ride Rating System.  In the area asking for a description, include a general overview of the route and ride plan, including any special information, plans or instructions that will enhance the trip. If you plan to offer multiple paces (e.g., a B pace group and a C pace group), please note this in the description and indicate if there will be different leaders for each pace).

Be sure to enter your cell phone number and email.  It is then listed on the ride posting and the route slip.  People can call ahead of time with questions, and during the ride for emergencies or mechanicals.

If you have any questions about organizing the ride or want to do something unique, contact the Ride Director.

Your ride will be listed on the SRCC website calendar and you will get an email once it is posted.

Additional Ride Information

The Club Ride Info Forum is a place for Ride Leaders to post additional information or changes regarding rides that are listed on the ride Calendar.  Topics may include a RwGPS/route link, start time, start location, parking considerations, cancellations due to weather, route changes, or any new information that is pertinent to an upcoming ride.  Members can also post questions or comments about upcoming rides.  Members who subscribe to this forum will receive email notifications about each new post.  Although anyone can view these posts, only SRCC members can reply to posts after logging into the club website.

When posting a new topic in this forum, be sure to include the identifying ride information in the [Topic] title.  These include:  Ride Name, Ride Date, Ride Rating, Start Location and Start Time.  This will enable readers to easily cross-reference the update with the ride as it is listed on the Calendar.  Here is the link for the Club Ride Info Forum.

Getting Ready For the Ride

Riders are expected to bring their own route sheets.  You may choose to bring several cue sheets for riders who forget to bring a copy.  When you leave the parking lot, leave spare cue sheets under a car wiper blade or in some other visible location for latecomers.

Non-member riders are expected to come with a completed and signed copy of the club waiver form.  As a back up make a copy of the Release and Waiver of Liability form and bring a pen.  The Club insurance policy requires all non-club riders to sign a release of liability before the ride, and to join SRCC prior to subsequent rides.  Remember to bring at least one waiver form and a pen.  Completed waiver forms must be sent to SRCC, P.O. Box 6008, Santa Rosa, CA 95406, or scanned and sent to the club insurance coordinator.

All participants are required to have a properly fitting helmet, personal ID, and medical and emergency contact information.  Check during the pre-ride talk to make sure that all riders are compliant.

Prepare what to cover in the pre-ride talk. 

The Pre-ride Talk

Arrive early and be ready to ride.

Distribute route slips if provided, and collect waivers.  By doing this before starting, the pre-ride talk can flow more smoothly.

Begin collecting the group before the posted time so that the pre-ride meeting can start on time. 

Introduce yourself, and if the group is not too large, have riders introduce themselves. Welcome new members and guests.

Insure that participants have a helmet, ID, and medical and emergency contact information. If a participant doesn't have the information needed, have them write it on their cue sheet.

Go over the route, pace, regroups and stops.  Discuss the general plan for the ride, and any special conditions or hazards that might be encountered along the route.

Briefly review any safety etiquette and Club norms that are pertinent.  See Rider Responsibilities.

Count the number of participants.  This will help in keeping track of everyone.  This is especially useful on long rides, or efforts that involve a particularly remote or complicated route.  Some groups may be so large it is impossible to monitor everyone.  Suggest that people help by "looking out" for each other.  Even then it may be impossible to keep track of everyone.  Hence the need for individual responsibility and self-sufficiency, even on group rides.

On the Ride

Start the ride 10 minutes after the posted time.

The leadership style for a particular ride is a matter of choice.  Many factors go into this decision including the type of ride, the size of the group, the ability levels of the group and the personal style of the leader.  If you lead from the front, it can be helpful to have a friendly cohort in the middle and one at the back of the group.  If you lead from the back it can be helpful to have a rider serve as an assistant at the front.  They can help keep the group organized and on track.  A "sweep" in the rear of the pack can make sure no one falls off the back. Whether one leads from the front, middle or rear, cooperative companions can help the group function more smoothly and complete the route safely.  It can be helpful to remember that it is not the leader's ride; it is the group's ride.  Ride leadership can be discussed and organized in the pre-ride talk.

Monitor the participants.  Give information and feedback as needed.  The ride leader is not a policeman or a mechanic.  You’re there to help people complete the route safely and have fun.

There will be faster and slower riders.  Foster group cohesiveness and camaraderie.  Stress the value of the regroup to collect riders together.  If a rider is clearly falling off the ride pace and looks as if they can't complete the course, suggest that they return to the start.  Ensure they know the way back and have a cue sheet before sending them on their way.

Mechanicals & Emergencies

Riders are expected to be able to fix flats and carry out simple mechanical repairs.  If a problem occurs leave one or two volunteers to help.  You may want to soft pedal to allow them to catch up, or wait at the next regroup.  If the mechanical problem is beyond roadside repair the rider might want someone to pick them up.  If there is no cell reception, send 2 volunteers on to where there is reception to make a call.

If there is an injury, wait until the rider is capable of continuing.  The rest of the group can continue to the next regroup.  Ask a volunteer to keep an eye on the injured person in case they start experiencing difficulties or showing symptoms.

For any incident requiring immediate medical attention call the emergency contact number.  If necessary, post two people to direct traffic going in both directions.  If there is no cell reception, send 2 people on to where there is reception. Render first aide as appropriate.  At least 2 people should stay with the injured rider until help arrives.  Make arrangements for the injured rider’s bike to be picked up and stored safely.

Note the time and circumstances of the incident, and at the end of the ride submit an Incident Report to the Club (see section below).

Local Emergency Contact Numbers

Here are some important numbers you should have stored in your cell phone when riding in Sonoma County. List them with the number in the name field for quick and easy access in your contacts or address book app.

  1. REDCOM  -  (707) 576-1371
  2. Sonoma County Sheriff  -  (707) 565-2121
  3. Santa Rosa Police Dept  -  (707) 528-5222

REDCOM is the emergency dispatch for medical and fire services in Sonoma County.  All agencies (except Petaluma) use REDCOM for dispatch.  If you call 911 from a cell phone in Sonoma County, it is rerouted through the CHP dispatch center in Vallejo.  Calling REDCOM direct saves you some time and possibly a wait on hold.  For other than medical and fire emergencies, call the Sheriff. This is their dispatch line.  And of course SRPD is good for within the city limits.

Reminder:  if there is a medical emergency, call for emergency services first.  Check the site for safety needs, set up traffic control in both directions, and begin to administer first aide.  Once you start life-saving actions, it becomes very hard to stop and make that emergency call.  If you discover you don’t really need an emergency response after all, you can always call back and cancel the call.  When making an emergency call, always provide the most precise location you can:  reference a nearby mailbox, intersection, public facility, etc.

After the Ride

Go over the ride in your mind or with friends.  Ask, "What are 3 things that went well?" and "What are 3 things that could be improved?"  On the next ride you lead, try to make these changes.

Mail completed waivers to SRCC, P.O. Box 6008, Santa Rosa, CA 95406. Or scan the waiver and email it to the Ride Director.

If there was an accident or injury requiring medical attention, complete the SRCC Incident Report. Mail it to the club insurance coordinator at SRCC, P.O. Box 6008, Santa Rosa, CA 95406. Or scan the report and email it to [link].

Ride Leader Pre-Ride Checklist

(Laminate this list to use as a pre-departure to do list.)

____ Collect waivers

____ Distribute route sheets (if provided)

____ Check helmets, ID, and medical and emergency contact information

____ Make introductions

____ Preview route and ride plan

  •  pace, regroups and stops
  • special conditions & hazards
  • special plans

____ Go over pertinent cycling  & safety reminders

  • procedures:  flats, emergencies & leaving the ride

____ Communication

  • pay attention > listen > speak up 


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