Ride Leader Guide
Have you ever considered becoming a ride leader for CVC?
Ride leaders are the absolute heart and soul of our club, and if you’re interested at all, we encourage you to give it a try. You don’t need to be the strongest or fastest rider–your role is really to ensure everyone at every ride level feels safe, welcome, and has a fun time–before, during, and after the ride. So what you really need is a positive attitude, a fun route, and an eye for safety.
Sounds good so far. Tell me more!
Absolutely! Being the ride leader is more than just letting people ride with you. It’s taking responsibility for guiding the group safely around the chosen route and acting as a point of contact for participants. You lead them, maintain order within the group, and try to make it fun (although the part generally takes care of itself).
What does leading a ride actually look like?
Several days before
Before the ride can happen you need to select a route and send it to the ride director so they can inform the club in the weekly ride announcement email. Piece of cake. We've got pre-created routes to choose from for every ride level.
Day of the ride–before departure
- Show up a little early and keep an eye open for new riders. Check with them about their experience and fitness levels and help them find the right group to join on that day. If it’s your group, keep a close eye on them to make sure they don’t miss any turns or get dropped.
- When we’re all gathered in the parking lot you’ll be called on to announce your route. No need to share every turn. A general summary with key landmarks and regroups is sufficient. Example: “Coastal route, returning on Mully... College driveway for first regroup, second stop: bathrooms at Sycamore… Mullholland return. Any other regroups will be announced at second stop.”
Once the ride begins:
- Start with a slight warm up. No one needs to hammer from the start. This will be especially important as our cold mornings come in.
- If someone wants to speed off the front, ignore them and don’t speed up to catch them. Counsel them if they’re affecting the safety or overall pace of the ride (yes it can be uncomfortable, but you can do it!).
- You do not have to ride at the front. In fact, many ride leaders lead from the back. That said, make sure the faster folks in the group know the route so they don’t lead everyone astray.
- If you do prefer to ride in front, use another experienced rider, if possible, to “sweep” the back. This will help ensure that an inclusive pace is maintained and no one gets left behind. Exchange phone numbers with each other in case you do get separated.
- Confirm that all riders are back with the group at all intersections.
- At each regroup, announce where the next regroup will be and use these catch ups to point out any issues that need to be addressed.
- Stoplights are a challenge since they often split the group into those who make it and those who get stuck. As the leader, you will decide if riders will regroup at the next designated regroup spot, or if they should wait for the people who got stuck at the light. Anticipate that this will happen at least once on each ride and be ready with your options...(soft pedal, quick wait).
- Also be ready to make route changes on the fly if needed to protect the group. This is rare, but if weather or road conditions call for it, you are the club’s designated representative and we expect the riders to respect your decisions.
- Finally, try to make sure the group comes back together. There is a tendency for folks to break off near the end. They race back or take alternate routes, and some of that can’t be helped, but coming back to the start should not be a free for all. We need to build community and encouragement in this club. No one wants to ride in alone.
A Few (More) Words About Safety
If you become a Ride Leader, we’ll ask you to take reasonable measures to ensure that the ride is as safe as it can be. The key word here is reasonable. You are not expected to guarantee the safety of others, merely to act reasonably. Ride Leaders are not expected to be fixing others' bike faults/repairs/punctures, etc.
As a Ride Leader you become an official of the club who is acting on the club’s specific instructions and are therefore covered by its third party insurance for your ride leader duties.
A Deeper Dive on General Ride Leader Responsibilities
- Routes are due to the Ride Director by Tuesday night prior to the weekend of the ride. (It is always fun to do when you get back home from your Saturday ride.)
- If you cannot lead a ride for which you signed up, it is your responsibility to find a substitute. Please do not call the club president or anyone else the night before the ride and ask them to find someone else.
- You may download the maps and cue sheets from Ride with GPS
- Familiarize yourself with the route in advance. If you are not familiar with the area, drive or ride the route noting any changes.
- Rides are canceled by the Ride Director only. Even in poor weather someone will likely ride. While the leader doesn’t have to ride, they should carry out the rest of their responsibilities. Inclement weather policy: In the interest of safety, whenever it is either actively raining or the ride route has wet roads, it is our club policy to cancel a club ride. Club members may still choose to meet and ride in these conditions; however, the ride will not be considered an official club ride.
- Make sure all new riders/guests sign in using the guest signup/liability sheet, which includes a liability waiver. The Ride Director and the President both have a copy of these. PLEASE ask before you start if they are a guest or member.
- Remind riders to respect traffic lights and stop signs and to obey traffic laws. See our safety pledge and become familiar enough to share bits and pieces before you begin each ride.
- In case of accident: call emergency services and get details of all parties involved. Record location, time, and weather conditions. Photograph any pot holes or other relevant details for future use. Get any notes that you can. PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL Club President if there are any accidents on the road.
- We suggest that you either have a Road ID with you or an ICE on your phone. ICE stands for "In case of emergency." Both Android phones and iPhones have this feature. It allows you to add a list of emergency contacts to your phone so that anyone can open it and find them–even without knowing your password. Please find out how to set it up.
What do you think? Are you ready to sign up? If you’re interested, we would love to have you! Simply contact the Ride Director or a Group Leader and we’ll add your name to the list.