How to organize a ride

By admin - Posted on 29 April 2008

Below are some tips for helping you organize a ride. I decided to construct such a page after one of our local rides. As we were getting ready to start out on the ride, a new rider showed up on a cruiser. I had already set the speed limits for the ride, but I didn't think far enough ahead to check with the new rider to see how long he had been riding, or talk to him to get a feel for his riding abilities. Sure enough, he went down around a turn, damaging his bike and his pride. This incident motivated the creation of this page.

  1. Select a place to meet that is easy to find and visible. If you want to increase participation, nothing works like the sight of a group of riders parked chatting to one another.
  2. Ensure that everyone knows the speed limits that are set for the ride.
  3. Watch out for riders who show up with skinned leathers/bikes. They may be unsafe. Also, bikes that appear brand new with green riders are equally dangrous. Have these riders either ride at the back, or if they seem too risky gently deny them the right to join in. It is OUR club.
  4. Place an experienced rider at the front of the pack to lead the ride. This person is responsible for setting the pace and ensuring that the riders don't get too strung out. If vehicles need to be passed, the lead rider ensures that the whole formation passes before he/she resumes the pace Place another experienced rider in the middle of the pack to watch for those in front of him/her. If someone goes down in front of this rider, he/she can organize help for the downed rider. He/she can also run ahead to the front of the pack to let the lead rider know if the pace is too fast.
  5. The lead rider, the middle rider and the trail rider should all have first aid kits.
  6. Place a responsible rider in the rear of the pack. This person is the "mopping up" person, and is responsible for monitoring the degree to which the formation "snakes" and if any riders are performing in an unsafe manner.
  7. Have a safety briefing with the entire group before heading out. At the safety meeting, instruct all riders to be responsible and provide the following guidelines:
    • Speed limits. I found that setting a speed limit of 10 MPH over posted limits on straights and 2x the posted limits in turns works well.
    • What to do in the event of a crash. Help goes to the rider and then his/her bike. Help the rider and if he/she is really shaken do NOT let him/her ride any more. Responsibility comes with having a group ride. If the rider wants to ride the bike home, ensure that the bike is indeed rideable, and have the rider leaves a message that he/she made it home safely. If the rider's bike is incapable of continued travel, give them a ride home. Friendship comes before the need to ride under such circumstances.
    • Stop points - Establish stop points every 50 miles or so. I call these rally points. Let eveyone know where these points are and the total length of the ride.
    • Point out that the group ride is for all skill levels, and isn't designed for just the canyon carvers. If you plan ahead, you can also set up a blitz ride, and point the most ardent "twisty seekers" to an alternate choice of group rides. Or you can organize the pack into slow and fast groups.
  8. Have everyone top off before beginning the ride. It wastes time to have to stop the entire pack for one rider to refuel.
  9. Use stop points to build comaraderie and the spirit of riding. That is what a group ride is all about. It isn't about blitzing. If several riders want to blitz, have them ride ahead on their own, but make it clear that if they leave the pack, they leave the safety of the pack as well.
  10. Remember that few people will remember a single biker as they pass, but they will remember groups of riders. Don't give the club a bad name. Good roads are hard to find. Don't "pollute" the waters.