All of our rides are led by Different Spokes members who volunteer their time and effort. No one is paid to lead rides, so we don't have rides unless you, our members, schedule them. Please share your favorite route by volunteering to lead a ride. Study the "Ride Leader Tips" section below and post your ride on the calendar. (Note: the calendar does permit multiple postings on the same day.) If you are uncomfortable leading rides, consider "co-leading" with a more experienced ride leader first. Use the message board if you’d like to discuss your ride with other members prior to posting it on the calendar.
- Easy: 12-14 mph
- Moderate: 14-16 mph
- Brisk: 16-18 mph
- Fast: 18+ mph
Paces are based on the average speed-range over level ground.
To determine if a ride is a good fit for your abilities, factor in not only the expected pace, but the number of miles, characteristics of the terrain, and the duration of the ride. Be considerate to the ride leader, to the other ride participants and, most importantly, to yourself by selecting rides that you are physically capable of doing. Discuss your concerns with the ride leader before and during the ride. For your own health and safety, know your limits.
- Inclement weather, such as rain, can cancel a ride. It's up to the ride leader. Check the calendar and/or contact the ride leader an hour before the start time to see if the ride has been cancelled.
- Front and rear lights are required for night riding.
- Helmets are required on all rides.
- All traffic laws must be obeyed.
Leading a ride is a great way to meet people and it puts you in control. Here are some tips to ensure the best possible ride leader experience:
Before the Day of the Ride
- Ride the route yourself and become familiar with any potential "trouble spots" (intersections, high traffic areas, tears in the fabric of space/time, etc.)
- Make sure that your bicycle is in good working order.
- A map or written directions can be helpful, but are not mandatory.
The Day of the Ride
- If the weather is at all questionable, show up at the starting point and decide with the other cyclists whether or not to proceed. Members are frustrated when they show up and the leader does not.
- If you need to cancel a ride, update the calendar as early as possible.
- Bring a cell phone and/or spare change for emergency phone calls.
- Bring a copy of our Safety Affirmation and Release form for non-members to sign.
Make sure all riders have their helmets (and lights if riding at night). Require non-members to sign the Safety Affirmation and Release form. With large groups, see if you can get someone with ride leadership experience to "sweep" (bring up the rear) for you.
Find out who has bike repair equipment and who doesn't. You are not responsible for changing flats, fixing broken chains, etc.
Go over the following information with the group:
- Introductions - Say hello to everyone. Make sure everyone knows that you are the ride leader. Take a head count.
- Route - Describe the route you will be taking. Address any points of confusion riders may have.
- Group Riding - When there are new faces, go over the principles of group-riding:
- Staying together
- Obeying all traffic rules
- Using hand signals
- Regrouping after hills, intersections, etc.
- Riding single-file
- Wet-weather hazards (increased braking distances, wet leaves, etc.)
During the Ride
- Obey all traffic rules
- Keep a proper pace (a speedometer helps here)
- Periodically check that you haven't lost anyone
- Regroup at key intersections
- Hand-signal "problems" such as glass and pot-holes
- At food stops, let riders know the length of the stop and the estimated time of departure
- Be prepared for issues that may arise. These include:
- Someone can't keep up or is racing ahead
- A medical emergency
- Flats and other minor bike repair issues
- Someone wants to change the ride or has a complaint
- Personality conflicts among riders
After the ride
- Thank everyone for coming!
- If anyone is missing, attempt to contact the person by phone or, later, by e-mail. (Sometimes a rider peels off in a different direction intentionally.) If you don't have her/his contact information, describe the situation in an e-mail to the club's contact address. In fact, report any unusual occurrence to this address.
- Mail the signed Safety Affirmation and Release form to the club if you had any non-members on your ride. You can contact us for the address.
Most of all
- Have fun! Because leading a bike ride should be fun.