Utah Velo Club
RIDE LEADER GUIDELINES
As a Ride leader, you are a representative of the club. As such, you should be informative and friendly and take special pains to insure new riders know the route and are not left to feel they are not "part of the group". Your actions on club rides may be the lasting impression that new riders remember of UTAH VELO CLUB.
Use these guidelines plus a healthy dose of common sense for each and every UTAH VELO CLUB ride that you lead.
1. BEFORE THE RIDE
Marked routes are best. Maps are almost as good. Unmarked or unmapped routes should only be used when everyone knows the route or the ride leader is going to stay with new riders.
2. DAY OF THE RIDE
Arrive in plenty of time to meet new riders and prepare your bike and yourself for the ride (at least 15 minutes before departure time is recommended).
Make sure you arrive - If a conflict arises - arrange for a replacement leader.
If the weather is questionable - go to the start point anyway to meet any hard core riders intent on riding rain or shine.
Decide if the weather will create an unnecessary hazard to the safety of the riders. Everyone wants to get a ride in, but, if there's Thunder and lightning, or driving rain or snow are imminent - its better to cancel than take a chance
Introduce yourself to the group as ride leader. Let the riders know you appreciate their participation.
Announce the route. If everyone present has done the ride many times, just a statement of "our usual route" is enough. If there are changes to the route due to construction or other reasons, make sure everyone knows what those changes are. If you have more than one route, make sure everyone knows which one you are taking.
Discuss any potential hazards on the route.
Announce regroup locations. Except on A-B pace or marked rides it's a good idea to regroup at least once unless everyone stays together or there is an agreement that there will be no regrouping. If there is to be no regrouping, make sure everyone understands that before the ride begins. You may also indicate additional regrouping stops, especially on centuries, during the ride if necessary.
Advise riders that they are riding at their own risk on roads that are shared with motorized traffic.
Remind riders to inform the ride leader or another rider if they leave the route for any reason.
Remind riders that bicycles are vehicles and encourage adherence to traffic laws.
Begin the ride promptly at the advertised time. - Out-of town starts may have some lee-way but those who come on time shouldn't be penalized for those who are habitually late- leave cue sheets on your car if someone expected has not shown up and its time to go.
3. DURING THE RIDE
Set the example regarding safety. It's unreasonable to expect others to ride safely if you aren't doing so yourself.
If you observe unsafe actions, tactfully suggest to those committing those acts that they are endangering themselves and the group.
Keep the ride at the advertised pace (exception: when all riders present agree to a different pace).
If stronger riders decide to go faster, the ride leader should keep to the advertised pace unless there are no other riders who wish to ride at that pace.
Never leave a rider stranded. The ride leader should carry a basic tool kit, tubes, pump, patch kit, etc., and be prepared to assist riders with mechanical problems if necessary. If you aren't especially adept at mechanical repairs, recruit someone else on the ride to lend assistance.
4. NEW RIDERS
Ask if there are any first time participants of the ride (not necessary if it's a small group and you recognize all your buds).
Notify new riders of the distance and average speed of the ride. Ask them if they feel they are able to maintain the stated speed for the stated distance. If they are not, suggest to them another UTAH VELO CLUB ride which may be better suited to their riding abilities. If there are multiple groups on the ride, suggest they ride with one of the other groups (assuming there is a group slower than yours).
Make sure new riders understand the route. Provide a map or cue sheet. (It's a good idea for all ride leaders to keep copies of maps of their routes in their vehicles at all times for handing out to new riders.)
Be cognizant of new riders during the entire ride. If they have overestimated their abilities and are not keeping up, either go back and ride with them or secure a volunteer to do so. Dropping a new rider is very poor cycling etiquette. Also, it could lead to a dangerous situation if the rider should crash, flat or get lost.
Don't block the roadway when motor vehicles are present and wanting to pass and safe road conditions permit passing. Those at the front cannot always see the traffic behind the group. Prior to the ride ask those at or near the back to call out "car back" when a car approaches. The group should go single-file on two-lane roads when being passed by a car (it's state law to do so).
Observe traffic control. Yeah, we all "float" stop signs, but running a red light should not be tolerated and you should stop at stop signs when traffic is present on the cross street. This is more than common courtesy, it's the law and it could save your life.
Don't call out clear when crossing intersections - make sure everyone has to look for themselves and avoid the herd mentality to blindly charge forward.
Don't pull in front of motorists at stop signs or lights. This only aggravates the motorists and forces them to have to pass you down the road. Keep your place in line as any driver would do.
Use proper traffic lanes. Never ride left of center. Merge to the left-most lane before making a left turn. Make sure to check behind you for clearance before merging to the left
6. AFTER THE RIDE
Check the parking lot to make sure all vehicles have someone with them - its always possible that someone could have made a wrong-turn on the route and run into trouble. The rider signup sheets now have a column for license number of the vehicle that riders arrive in to assist in this.
Back-Check the route if the missing don't show when you are ready to leave.