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This is a detailed checklist, designed for GPC Novice- and Century-Prep Series Rides. These are large rides with multiple co-leaders and many new riders; advance planning is essential for them to be successful. This list is also helpful for regular club rides, but for those the advance planning can be less detailed.

WELL BEFORE THE RIDE (absolute minimum, one day before)

  • Leader be familiar with the route.
  • Co-leaders too, ideally. If not, co-leaders should at least know the route description and the regroup points.
  • Pace -- leader know what pace it is, what that means for that route.
  • Leader: if necessary, ask someone more familiar with the pace in question to ride at the front as a "pace-setter".
  • Jobs -- the _____'s below indicate jobs or positions which should be assigned to coleaders before the day of the ride.
  • Know-how -- All co-leaders should, at minimum, know how to change a flat tire. Ask someone to teach you if necessary.


  • Sign-in sheets, pens, clipboards (at least two; better, three)
  • Route sheets: at least 50; get estimates from previous rides
  • Series-description fliers (to the first few rides in a the series)
  • Club information sheets
  • Street Smarts booklets
  • Club newsletters, if available


  • Check your own bike -- at minimum do a complete
    • glass check
    • bounce check
    • cable check
    Ask me if you don't know what I mean by any of these. Novice rides are not the place for dumb little things to break on a leader's bike. Once a certain novice ride leader (who shall remain nameless) impressed everybody by having repeat flats on his own bike. Only a week later did he find the piece of glass which was causing them all.
  • Prepare a larger toolkit than usual. The following is to give you some ideas. For most rides, I carry:
    • tire levers, spare tubes (3), patch kit
    • glueless patches (faster than gluing)
    • tire boots (pre-cut pieces from old rim tape &/or old tires)
    • 4, 5, 6mm allen wrenches
    • phillips & slotted screwdriver
    • spoke wrench (Wheelsmith/DT size)
    • chain tool
    • extra chain links
    • extra derailer cable, pre-cut
    • zip ties and small amount duct tape
    • safety pins
    • ibuprofen
    • Presta pump
    • bandana (many potential uses!)
  • For large group rides (Novice, Century Prep, Family), I also bring:
    • 6" crescent wrench (for bikes with bolts!)
    • small pliers/wirecutters
    • more sizes allen wrench (actually, a combi-tool or two)
    • extra cables
    • spoke wrench (multi-size)
    • Swiss Army knife
    • Schrader/Presta pump
    • acetaminophen (for people who fuss about ibuprofen)
    • Tecnu (for poison oak)
    • papain (as anti-venom for bee stings)
    • small amount of degreaser (if I remember)
    • small amount of sunscreen (if I remember)
    • small first aid kit
  • On a novice or family bike, you never know what'll break, but it's a safe bet that many valves are Schrader, not Presta like you have.
  • Check the glue in your patch kit isn't dried out.
  • Novice/Family rides: if you're coming by car, please bring a floor pump (Schrader/Presta preferred).
  • If you have a cell phone, please bring it for emergency use.
  • A small first aid kit is a good idea -- at least one or two leaders should carry one. The Cascade Bike Club Ride Leader Guidelines contain a suggested first aid kit contents.

PRE-RIDE: 9:30-10:00AM (assuming a 10AM ride)

  • Leader arrive and be ready to ride by 9:35.
  • Co-leaders arrive and be ready to ride by 9:40.
  • 9:40: Brief meeting: review roles; exchange cell phone numbers.
  • paperwork: Handle sign-in sheets; hand out maps, club info sheets, Street Smarts, other handouts. _____, _____
  • Mechanicals, as needed _____, _____
  • Advice clinic / review session (early novice rides only): _____
    • Have novices check their own: air, brakes, cables, bounce check.
    • Have novices shift through all their gears (may reveal mechanicals)


  • Welcome and intro comments; introduce co-leaders
  • Handouts - explain
  • Ride tips & safety, hand signals, etc -- quick review (novice rides only)
  • Route comments, including regroups, pit stops, shortcuts, lunch site.
  • Pace, group-togetherness, & other social contracts (cen-prep rides only)
  • Does anyone else want to make any announcement?
  • 10:15: start riding


  • Front person: leads the way, sets the pace. Knows the route perfectly. Stops at all rest and regroup points. Otherwise does not stop. _____
  • Sweep: brings up the rear -- makes sure that no one is left behind, except if explicitly accompanied by a club member. _____, _____ (Exception: people who are *unnecessarily* dawdling should be told that the ride will not wait for them.) Sweep for the most part should stop only if there is noone else to handle the problem; however that will surely happen. Sweep: get to an early choke point first (eg, a Bart parking lot exit) count people as they pass.
  • Shortcut Leader (for rides with shortcuts): lead the (presumably very small) group of the slowest people through the shortcuts. Act as sweep for this group. _____
  • Middle-people (including the shortcut leader after the shortcuts are over): ride in middle of the group; stop to aid novices as needed then attempt to catch up to where you were, relative to the group. Note that stopping to aid novices is done mainly by middle people (and, hopefully, other club members). As noted above, front person does not stop (except at regroup points) and sweep will already be so far behind that s/he should stop only if if there is noone else to handle the problem.
  • All ride leaders:
    • Be outgoing & friendly
    • Deliberately introduce yourself to new people & strike up conversations.
    • Talk about how great biking is, what fun the club is, etc.


Eat lunch; get feedback from each other and from riders.