Novice and Century Prep Series Leader Suggestions
Here are general planning suggestions for GPC novice and century-prep rides. They are based on feedback received after past rides. These are typically our largest club rides, and consequently require a bit more planning than usual. When done right, however, they can be immense fun. A second file, Ride Leader Checklist contains a more detailed checklist.
- Remember, you are representing the club to the bicycling public. GPC is always friendly, but this is a good time to be extra-friendly to newcomers.
- These are large rides -- turnout often exceeds 50 and sometimes 70.
- They always have genuinue guests WHO WE HAVE INVITED and who don't know anybody and don't know what to expect. Put yourself in the place of such a guest and ask yourself what you'd like to see happen.
- The ride sheet should contain both a cue sheet AND a map. Ideally, it should also note regroup points and any available toilets and/or water.
- Find out how many people to expect based on the number at previous rides in the series.
- Overestimate the number of ride sheets to make!
- Plan, in advance, who will do what.
- As with other aspects of the rides, planning is primarily the leader's responsibility. But most likely your co-leaders will have valuable ideas and suggestions and will be ready to help in all sorts of ways. The most sucessful large group rides are team efforts.
- Minimize riding through town. Traffic lights split up a group, especially large group rides like these.
- Plan a full regroup for shortly after the last traffic light, and plan adequate regroup points.
Bring To The Ride
- At least two clipboards and two pens, to expedite sign-ins. Having only one pen will delay things if 50 riders turn out.
- Street Smarts booklets
- GPC club info fliers
- Wheel Truth
- Ride Series fliers (for the early rides in the series)
- Leaders and co-leaders who have cell phones should bring them, and trade phone numbers before the start. (Darn, another thing you have to plan in advance). This can help no end if there's an incident, or a big delay of some sort.
- Also, the usual: ride sheets, sign-in sheets, pump, tools, etc.
Day Of the Ride
- Arrive at least 25 minutes early -- ie, 9:35am very latest. People will start arriving by 9:45.
- Start the welcoming comments at 10am; aim to start riding at 10:15.
At The Ride Start (10am)
- Welcome everybody. Introduce yourself, and also all the co-leaders.
- Announce the regroup points ... announce them all at the beginning, and also at each regroup point announce the next regroup point. Probably not everybody will listen, but make sure that at least ALL THE COLEADERS know what the regroup points are.
- It's good to have one leader (or co-leader) for every 10 to 15 riders. If you have only 3 leaders, and 60 people show up, ask for some volunteers from the club members present, and introduce them as coleaders too.
- Hopefully you noted the regroup points and pit stops on the cue sheet. At the opening announcements, point this out. Guests may not realize what the cue sheet is good for.
- Especially for the novice rides: Announce any tricky parts of the route, and explain how you expect the novices to handle it. (Eg: traffic situation, the group should take the appropriate lane; or, steep downhill, control your speed).
During The Ride
- One leader should ride at the front, so the group knows where to go. This person sets the pace and makes sure the group actually stops at the regroup points. Also, this person should be sure that the group doesn't get too split up by traffic lights in town -- ie, by waiting appropriately.
- One or two leaders should ride at the very rear, playing sweep, so that you'll know when the last straggler arrives at each regroup, and so that noone is abandoned.
- Other leaders should spread throughout the group. For in-town riding where the group gets broken into platoons by traffic lights, try to have one leader per platoon.
- You can trade around positions between regroups.
- It helps to plan in advance who will ride what position; whether you'll do full regroups or rolling regroups (or, you can decide this at the first regroup spot, based on the speed differential of the riders) and basically how spread out you'll allow the group to be.
- If you can figure out what the pace ratings actually mean, try to follow them. (If you can't, well, you're not alone, but give it your best guess).
- Phil Morton says: We are Gregarious Grizzlies. Many people got started in this club based on others in the club being friendly to them.
After The Ride
Ride to eat, eat to ride. My burning question is -- where do we eat? Have fun, and make sure the guests do too!