Rides as Leaders
It is the policy of the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club to have ride leaders for all our scheduled and special rides. There are times when a scheduled ride leader cannot make their ride or no leader could be found. At these times, the ride becomes a "Participant Lead Ride." This means that all participants should assist in seeing that an appropriate pre-ride discussion is held.
The majority of our rides do not hand out route slips and depend on participants having some understanding of the area and possible routes. This only works because most participants are regulars. It means that the presence of new riders should affect the pre-ride discussion and during ride behavior.
Note: SLOBC members that are not regulars at a particular ride should be considered new riders—knowing a member does not mean the member knows the area or route.
Once new rider introductions have occurred, the route or route alternatives should be generally described and the destination identified. It is important to identify the first rest stop for each route and any special route related safety issues between the start and the first rest stop. Keep information simple as regular riders know it and new riders will not remember details.
The next part of the discussion should focus on subgroups. Who and how many are going on which routes? Who and how many are going faster or slower? This can be accomplished with a show of hands for long enough for riders to take count and visually inventory of who is part of their subgroup. It might mean that subgroups should gather together so they will not be separated during the start of the ride.
The next issue to address is how the riders are going to take care of each other. If there is going to be a sweep for each route, identify the person. If the next-to-last rider is going to automatically become the last rider’s buddy, describe this process. Remind riders that knowing where they are within the group or subgroup is key to taking care of each other and that disappearing off the front of a group or subgroup puts a rider on their own and may put a rider behind them without a buddy.
Finally, remind riders to model "Safe Cycling Best Practices" and perhaps highlight a practice or two you have seen poorly modeled.
Having this simple pre-ride discussion is central to creating safer and more enjoyable rides. If every rider would expect the discussion, ask that it occur if it does not and contribute to it at "Participant Lead Rides," the culture of safety within our club would be strengthened.