Ride Leader Guidelines
Providing club members with a variety of interesting and enjoyable rides of different distances, elevation gains and pace is our primary club mission. It is however highly dependent on club members leading rides on routes they enjoy. Without your help we won’t have the variety or frequency of rides we would all like. Leading a club ride is the simplest and most important contribution you can make to our club. It’s also fun and easy to do. This is your opportunity to dream up unique and interesting routes or simply share a favorite route with your friends. Of course it can also be a little bit intimidating but there’s really nothing to be worried about. Those who decide to do the ride have read the description and are there because that’s the kind of ride they want to do. They’re riding because they enjoy it and are predisposed to have a good time.
These guidelines and suggestions are intended to provide answers to questions you may have along with the system and forms the Club uses. In addition to what’s here, a Board member is always available to help new ride leaders develop the route, and assist in leading the ride. Simply ask any Board member and we’ll be glad to help. Other experienced Ride Leaders are also available and willing to help.
Although this guidance includes several items that are required on each ride (e.g. helmets, liability, waiver for non-members), the suggestions allow for ride leaders to use their own good judgment to promote safe and fun rides.
Ride Leaders are the representatives of the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club and the first contact that potential new members have with the Club. Be as informative and friendly as possible. Take the time to ride with them and be available to help or answer questions. Your planning, enthusiasm, and leadership on the ride will make the ride more enjoyable for everyone.
Planning the Ride
The Ride With GPS website (ridewithgps.com) will enable you to design a route for your club ride. Although RWGPS is extremely helpful and saves time, it may not be entirely accurate and may not distinguish between dirt and paved roads. Ride leaders should verify that all roads are accurately depicted and appropriate. Route sheets that provide route directions in text should be available for each ride. A quick RWGPS tutorial can be found here to get you started designing a route. Many RWGPS routes are available in our Ride Archive and in past rides found on our Ride History page.
Pre-ride Prep Work
- Use the Ride Entry Form found on our website under the "Ride/Event" tab to start the registration process. The form will guide you through the steps of inputting the RWGPS route number and prompt for additional ride details. Since the steps do include updating our club calendar, you will be initially prompted to login using your membership e-mail and password.
- Route sheets should:
Note: Many riders today use Garmin type GPS cyclo-computers which can have the route info downloaded. If you provide a RWGPS route, fewer route sheets will be needed.
- List road names, mileage at each turn, and turn direction.
- Use large enough print that reading glasses aren’t necessary.
- Note rest/regroup stops and availability of water, food, and restrooms.
- Ride leader cell phone number.
- Make as many copies as riders you expect.
- The final steps of the ride entry form include printing the route sheets, and ride roster. Have a printer available when completing the form.
- Bring a clipboard to the ride with the ride roster for everyone to sign in. In addition to the roster, your clipboard should include the ride waiver.pdf, minors_waiver.pdf, and accident_report forms. These forms can be found under the "Rides/Events" tab at the Ride Leader Forms link.
- The ride entry form should be completed at a minimum two days before your ride. However, some rides should be added to the calendar well in advance of two days. This would include the longer Sunday rides and enduro rides. The ride announcement e-mail going out to the group should however be sent out a few days before the ride. The ride entry form instructs you how to do this.
- Subsequent e-mails to update the group of your ride can be sent using the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that YOUR e-mail address must be registered in the sfcc_group directory.
- If there is a possibility of a last minute ride cancellation due to rain, smoke, fog, etc., send out a cancellation e-mail to the group. This should be sent out no less than 1.5 to 2 hours before the ride start. Not everyone who attends our rides (eg, guests) are not on our group e-mail distribution so you should also indicate a cancellation in the calendar ride entry using the ride entry form.
Day of the Ride
- The day of the ride, arrive at least 20 minutes before the ride is scheduled to start. Pass out the clipboard right away with the route sheets, get you and your bike ready, then walk around with the ride roster to ensure everyone is signed up.
- Assemble the group of riders and introduce yourself and any guests. Let guests know about the Club and how to join.
- Be certain all riders have signed the Ride Roster, non-members have signed the Accident Waiver and Release of Liability form, everyone has a route sheet (who wants one), and everyone has a helmet.
- Minors: Riders under 18 must complete the Parental Agreement form (also part of the Liability Waiver) and have it signed by their legal guardian.
- Briefly describe the route, any hazards, tricky turns, regroup and water or food stops.
- Remind riders to initial out on the Ride Roster at end of ride so you won't have to worry about lost riders.
- Stress the need to ride single file and stop at intersections in addition to obeying other traffic laws. Remind riders to point out hazards, approaching vehicles, and upcoming turns for following riders.
- Safe, legal, fun and enjoyable rides are the objective of every club ride. To meet these objectives it is Club policy that no riders are ever dropped. Ride leaders must account for all riders either by the rider’s arrival at the end of the ride or knowledge of the rider’s voluntary departure from the route.
- Riders leaving the route must advise the ride leader to enable accountability.
- It is recommended that all riders carry identification with the name and contact information of who to call in the event of an emergency.
- Sweeping the course is a policy. It is important that new members, guests, and slow riders are not left behind or forgotten. Rides that are not swept must be pre-announced via email and the calendar listing. You do not have to sweep riders who tell you they do NOT want to be swept.
- Make sure all the riders have returned and have signed out on the Ride Roster. You may have to drive the route in reverse to assure that all riders are ok.
- NOTE: You do not need to do anything with the Ride Roster and any signed waivers once you are assured all riders are back safely.
Thank you for being a leader! Our members appreciate your leadership. The Club wouldn’t be much fun without Ride Leaders and their rides. Mentor a newer member with Ride Leader potential, they are the lifeblood of our Club.