A ride leader has 3 basic tasks:
- To prepare a route or choose one from the library.
- To follow the selected route with the group.
- To make sure no one gets lost and that everyone gets home (i.e., no drop).
Preparation for the Ride:
- Prepare a route – either from scratch or from the library. If a route from a library is used ensure it is suitable for your group (distance, type of roads, use of bridleways etc.).
- Familiarise yourself with the complete route asking other members for help if need be.
- Communicate the route to other members including distance, elevation and expected pace.
- Emphasise any points which may be particularly pertinent to the route or the weather conditions etc.
- Check the forecast and consider options for varying the route to suit the conditions.
- Collect a list of all riders in the group and ensure their contact details are available.
- Welcome new riders and introduce them to the group and their “buddies”.
- Ensure that all riders have your phone number.
On the road: The leader’s main roles on the ride are to:
- Regulate the pace of ride to suit all the riders and be prepared to adjust the route accordingly.
- Follow the route. Ideally, you will know the route well enough to manage with your Garmin just as a back-up.
- Keep the group together and make sure everyone makes it back from the ride.
- Ensure anyone who opts to leave the ride is happy to make their own way back.
- Coordinate the group’s activities should an accident or emergency occur.
Some other points to note:
- Indicate well in advance changes in direction or a stop.
- Highlight particular hazards to the group e.g., steep descents, very bad road surfaces.
- Avoid stopping on bends and brow of hills.
- Make sure that bikes and riders are off the road, not obstructing pedestrians, when a group stops by the roadside to resolve mechanical problems and punctures.
- Keep the group compact, orderly and considerate to other road users including splitting the group on major/busy roads.
End of ride:
The leader should usually return to the start to make sure that everyone has found their way home.
What a leader is not obliged to do:
- Be on the front the whole way, the best place is at no. 2 or 3 where they can direct the rider(s) at the front.
- Fix punctures and make other mechanical repairs.
Ultimately, the choices of destination; the route to and from it; and the maximum pace of the ride are the leader’s.