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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Greater Atlanta
    Posts
    249

    Any ride leaders out there?

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    So I'm thinking of starting a new ride within my cycling club. As a stay at home mom with young, school-age children, I can't do mid-week 7:30a or 5:30p rides, especially when they start 20 miles away from where I live. My idea was to start a Tuesday 9 a.m. ride leaving from the local Target. After posting my idea on my club's message board, I got a few responses from people who'd be interested in riding at that time/location. My DH, however, is concerned about the responsibility involved in being the "ride captain". Like, if it's 35 degrees outside am I still going to want to show up? If it's raining, do I show up? I usually do this ride by myself anyway...but only when the weather is nice. Does anyone have "group ride captain" experience they'd like to share?
    She's going the distance...

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    '14 Orbea Orca Dama, Specialized Jett
    '10 Giant Avail
    '87 Schwinn Cimarron, Brooks B17
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Set whatever parameters you can live with, e.g., not raining at the start, no thunderstorms in the vicinity, and above x degrees. If you'd like to give yourself a bit of wiggle room, mark the route with paint so that if you can't show up for some reason, people can do the ride in your absence. If there's a only a small group interested, I doubt you'll have to formally "lead" after the first few rides. Our club's training rides have official ride leaders, but beyond keeping the route marked and periodically checked, there's not much to it. The rides usually on meet from April until late October (mostly because they're in the early evening and we don't have enough daylight in winter).
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    Our club rides get.canceled due to weather often enough. Sometimes they get canceled for other reasons, e.g., the ride leader had a last-minute conflict. Everyone understands.

    Usually in the ride listing they will specify weather conditions under which the ride will be canceled, such as temps below or above a certain point or wet roads at the start time.

    - Gray Trek Madone 4.7 road bike, mystery crack in top tube repaired by Calfee, Bontrager Affinity RXL saddle
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    It really depends on the club.

    I belong to three clubs.

    One has leaderless rides that follow the same route on a fixed schedule. Who shows up, rides.

    Another club has two weekly rides; one person for each ride is responsible for posting the route each week to the club forum. I'm one of those people. I'm not really a ride leader and this is made clear on the forum. I watch the weather, etc., ahead of the ride, and post if I'm not planning to make it, but if anyone else wants to ride it's up to them.

    The third club I belong to is a large and well-regulated club. Every ride has a leader who's been through a training that lasts at least one day and I think two. Paper maps are provided, and the "big" Saturday rides are marked as well. Every rider has to sign a release and the leader is responsible for making sure everyone gets back okay.

    So there's really a range.


    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    If you'd like to give yourself a bit of wiggle room, mark the route with paint
    That's an enormous undertaking. I mark routes for the ride one of my clubs puts on once a year, and this past year I coordinated the marking teams. My estimate is that it takes about 10 person-hours per 30 miles of route. And I insist that my marking teams go out in pairs for safety. You don't want to be kneeling down in the road without someone else watching for/signaling to traffic.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 08-13-2011 at 04:15 PM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Top of Parrett Mountain, Oregon
    Posts
    453
    I lead rides for a few different groups - not clubs. I ride in any weather, but if I was to lead a ride during the winter I would set parameters like Indysteel suggested. I map the route in MapMyRide, post the link and I print out cue sheets that I hand out at the beginning of the ride. I am not the fastest so I am not in the lead position. Last month I was the ride leader for a group of about 35 cyclists, and one fast cyclist in the actual lead about 2 miles from the start took a turn that he should not have, didn't consult the cue sheet, and the other real fast cyclists (the ones going around 20 mph) followed him and they all went a good 5 miles off route before getting back on course. I don't sweep but I will ask specific group members to keep an eye out for all cyclists and I stick around at the finish to make sure everyone got back ok.

    My Tuesday morning group ride leader just sends out an email the night before because we are a small group, at most 12 females, and she says she will be at the start point, and who is going. We respond to the email if we are going to show up for the group training ride. So real simple. We decide on the route and total miles at the start, based upon member's time commitments. She is real fast and doubles back to do a sweep if anyone is lagging behind during the ride.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    It really depends on the club.

    I belong to three clubs.

    One has leaderless rides that follow the same route on a fixed schedule. Who shows up, rides.

    Another club has two weekly rides; one person for each ride is responsible for posting the route each week to the club forum. I'm one of those people. I'm not really a ride leader and this is made clear on the forum. I watch the weather, etc., ahead of the ride, and post if I'm not planning to make it, but if anyone else wants to ride it's up to them.

    The third club I belong to is a large and well-regulated club. Every ride has a leader who's been through a training that lasts at least one day and I think two. Every rider has to sign a release and the leader is responsible for making sure everyone gets back okay.

    So there's really a range.




    That's an enormous undertaking. I mark routes for the ride one of my clubs puts on once a year, and this past year I coordinated the marking teams. My estimate is that it takes about 10 person-hours per 30 miles of route. And I insist that my marking teams go out in pairs for safety. You don't want to be kneeling down in the road without someone else watching for/signaling to traffic.
    I was assuming this was a fixed route, so it would presumably only need to be painted every so often as the paint wears off. All of our club's weekly training ride routes, which average 25 miles, are marked and it is not a huge undertaking to maintain.

    I've lead a club ride for the past five years that has four route options, the longest being 65 miles. It takes 3-4 people the better part of six hours to mark. It's a PITA, but once it's marked, it's good for at least a few months, especially if I use white paint. It seems to last the longest. Of course, these are rural roads that get less traffic.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    I am a ride leader for the Appalachian Mountain Club and I also ride with another large club. I went through a 2 night plus a weekend outdoor leadership skills training course, that while it is geared toward hiking leaders, is required for all activities in AMC. We have 2 kinds of rides: show and go and those you sign up for and the leader screens for. It is much different than a regular bike club and I am glad. I have led both types of rides; the difference is on our weekly show and go rides, different leaders sign up for the season and there is a coordinator who reports to the cycling committee of the chapter who keeps track of who is leading which date. The routes are set by the leaders and are not the same, though on these show and go rides, they tend to rotate through a set number of loops. DH and I led about 5-6 Friday morning series rides a couple of years ago; however, they got so fast that people stopped coming and it was hard to find leaders.
    I prefer leading the "day trip" type rides that I plan and people call me to sign up. I screen them for ability and even so, there will be someone who lies to me and ends up struggling. Since our policy is there must be a leader and a sweep, unless someone tells me they are off the ride and absolves me of my responsibility, the sweep has to stay behind them. We are forced to keep the group together somewhat, because of our liability rules. But, I am glad I went through the training; it makes it feel professional and i have had more than one person comment how they felt welcomed and how AMC was not like "the other clubs." We have rides that are rated "beginner" with a 10-12 mph average and intermediate, with an average of 13-16. We give everyone cue sheets.

    The other group I ride with is part of a large club, but is a very distinct group. It's strictly social, average about 13-14, with a faster group sometimes splitting off, which averages about 15 or so. Every week a different person leads, with a lunch stop involved. The rides get progressively longer as the season goes on, although the group rides all year long, only a few ride through the winter. There is always an alternative x country ski, snow shoe or hike in the winter. They use a human arrowing system, no cue sheets, which is a bit daunting if you haven't experienced it. Someone right behind the leader volunteers to take a turn, stop, and position their bike toward the direction of the turn. You have to stay there until the sweep passes, and with 30-50 riders, it's a job. Then you ride to catch up. I'll do it if I'm around here, but not in an area where I don't know where I am. The leaders in this group can be anyone, but some are not what i'd call the best. They are nice people and very experienced riders, but after going through the leadership training, I have rather strict ideas of what a leader needs to do.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    My husband and I lead a ride that's advertised in two local bike clubs. Every week we send out an email with a gps of the route and the start time and post this on the group's Facebook page. If the weather is bad, we'll send out an email/post on Facebook. People also have our email/phone number for weather concerns. Seems to work pretty well.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    where ARE we?
    Posts
    435
    Most all rides in our tiny group are planned/led by either myself and one guy. We send out an email to about 12 folks, with the ride mapped out in mapmyride or ridewithGPS (great site, elevations are in it). Norm hands out cue sheets if it's a new route, we have about 10 that we use regularly though all of them change over time as we increase mileage during the riding season.

    Rides do get canceled due to inclement weather. We all know to check email an hour before the ride to be sure the ride was not cancelled. Since our group is so small, we don't really sweep, we just pace ourselves so nobody gets dropped, if we do find a rider or two is falling behind, we rest more or wait for them at turns/tops of hills as needed.
    2009 Fuji Team

    My blog - which rarely mentions cycling. It's really about decorating & food. http://www.crisangsteninteriors.com/blog

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toltec, Arkansaw
    Posts
    514
    The Cascade Bicycle Club has some really good info for ride leaders posted on their web site... http://cascade.org/EandR/Ride_Leader_Info.cfm. Nice little handbook, as well as pre-ride briefing cards, waivers, etc....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822
    I have been leading rides both on and off-road for more years than I care to think about . Some of these have been organized by myself to a like group of people/friends and others have been formal club rides requiring waivers, etc.

    In either case, email lists are the best communication. As the ride leader, you get to determine if the ride is/is not happening for whatever reason. After some amount of time, your group will take on a life of its own, and if you can't make it due to illness, appointments, etc., someone else will step in so the ride is not missed. Weather (rain/storms) always canceled.

    I would be careful about the painting on the road. Around these parts, permission is required, and can be difficult to obtain, especially if a town doesn't have a high tolerance for cyclists to begin with.

    You've gotten some great advice. If this is what works for you, and you want to lead, go for it! I've met some great friends/riding partners this way.

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    South of Boston, MA
    Posts
    114
    how do I find a club in my area? I'm South of Boston, MA.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Greater Atlanta
    Posts
    249
    Thanks for the feedback, everbody!
    She's going the distance...

    [COLOR="Red"]
    '14 Orbea Orca Dama, Specialized Jett
    '10 Giant Avail
    '87 Schwinn Cimarron, Brooks B17
    Trek mountain bike...don't know what year

 

 

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