Central Oregon Wheelers

Guidelines For Ride Leaders

Leading a ride is one of the most indispensable contributions you can make to the Club.   After all, club rides are at the heart of what we do!  Dreaming up unique, interesting and adventurous routes can be a delight; leading them can be even more fun! The ride submittal form is here (you must be a logged-in member to submit).  

Ride Planning:

Developing a Ride

It is generally recommended that you choose a familiar route that you have ridden.  At a minimum, study the route carefully, and then ride or drive it beforehand if possible.  Here is a list of 100+ sortable ride possibilities. Choose a starting point that is convenient for you, easy to find, and preferably has rest rooms and parking. 

Choose a route that has:

  • minimal traffic, stop signs, traffic lights, construction zones, and anything that might prove hazardous to cyclists.
  • interesting scenery and features. (Pretty easy to do in Central Oregon!) 
  • for longer routes; one that has water, food, bathrooms and other amenities (i.e. coffee shop, park, store, etc.)

Determine spots to regroup.  Choose locations that offer some of the following:

  • are easy to find and safe (i.e. allow the group to pull completely off the road)
  • offer restroom facilities and amenities (i.e. a coffee shop, park, store, school, food carts, etc.)
  • come after situations where separation normally occurs in a group (i.e. long climbs, major highway)
  • occur after a time period or distance where separation is likely to happen

Submitting a Ride

The ride submittal form is here (you must be a log-in as a member to submit).  

To complete the sections on pace and mileage refer to The Ride Rating System.  In the area asking for a description include a general overview of the route and ride plan, including any special information, plans or instructions that will enhance the trip.

Please use Ride with GPS to develop a route with a map and a cue slip.  If this isn't your cup of tea, send the route (e.g. L Newport, R Mt Washington, etc) to the Ride Director. Here are some tips for getting started with Ride with GPS. You may want to “clean up” the route slip to remove redundant turns, change street names to those that are more recognized, and to add regroups and stops.  If you have any questions about organizing the ride, contact the Ride Director.

Contacting Registered Ride Participants

COWs asks that members and guests register for rides in advance. The on-line registration process that is conducted through our website provides ride leaders with the names of individuals who are planning to participate on the ride.  We will remind registered riders, the day before the ride, of the ride.  Registrants can unregister themselves. Inform us and we can inform registered riders when we need to cancel a ride because the ride leader becomes unavailable or the weather turns bad.  

Ride Activities:

Getting Ready For the Ride

Non-member riders are required to join as a guest online. By doing this they are insured by the club and they have agreed to the online waiver.  The Club insurance policy requires all non-club riders to agree to the waiver, i.e. the release of liability, before the ride. 

All participants are required to have a properly fitting helmet and personal ID.  Check during the pre-ride talk to make sure that all riders are compliant. 

The Pre-Ride Talk

  1. Arrive early and be ready to ride.
  2. Begin collecting the group before the posted time so that the pre-ride meeting can start on time. 
  3. Go through the Pre-Ride Checklist at the bottom. (Printable PDF)
On the Ride

Start the ride 0-10 minutes after the posted time.

Consider taking a photo of the group and uploading it to the photo page!

The leadership style for a particular ride is a matter of choice.  Many factors go into this decision including the type of ride, the size of the group, the ability levels of the group and the personal style of the leader.   

Whether one leads from the front, middle or rear, cooperative companions can help the group function more smoothly and complete the route safely.  It can be helpful to remember that it is not the leader's ride; it is the group's ride.  

Monitor the participants.  Give information and feedback as needed.  The ride leader is not a policeman or a mechanic.  You’re there to help people complete the route safely and have fun. If someone is riding unsafe after being told, please email cowheelers@gmail.com. We have a disciplinary procedure to remedy unsafe riders. 

There will be faster and slower riders.  Foster group cohesiveness and camaraderie.  Stress the value of the regroup to collect riders together.  If a rider is clearly falling off the ride pace and looks as if they can't complete the course, suggest that they return to the start.  Ensure they know the way back before sending them on their way.

Mechanicals & Emergencies

Riders are expected to be able to fix flats and carry out simple mechanical repairs.  If a problem occurs leave one or two volunteers to help.  You may want to soft pedal to allow them to catch up, or wait at the next regroup.  If the mechanical problem is beyond roadside repair the rider might want someone to pick them up or use AAA.  If there is no cell reception, send 2 volunteers on to where there is reception to make a call.

If there is an injury, wait until the rider is capable of continuing.  The rest of the group can continue to the next regroup.  Ask a volunteer to keep an eye on the injured person in case they start experiencing difficulties or showing symptoms.

For any incident requiring immediate medical attention call 911.  If necessary, post two people to direct traffic going in both directions.  If there is no cell reception, send 2 people on to where there is reception. Render first aid as appropriate.  At least 2 people should stay with the injured rider until help arrives.  Make arrangements for the injured rider’s bike to be picked up and stored safely.

Note the time and circumstances of the incident, and at the end of the ride submit an Incident Report to the Club.

If there is a medical emergency, call for emergency services first.  Check the site for safety needs, set up traffic control in both directions, and begin to administer first aid.  Once you start life-saving actions, it becomes very hard to stop and make that emergency call.  If you discover you don’t really need an emergency response after all, you can always call back and cancel the call.  When making an emergency call, always provide the most precise location you can:  reference a nearby mailbox, intersection, public facility, etc.

After the Ride

Go over the ride in your mind or with friends.  Ask, "What are 3 things that went well?" and "What are 3 things that could be improved?"  On the next ride you lead, try to make these changes.

If there was an accident or injury requiring medical attention, complete the COWS Incident Report and email it to cowheelers@gmail.com.

Ride Leader Pre-Ride Checklist (Printable PDF)

Ø      Ask if anyone wants to be a sweep

Ø      Introduce yourself and the sweep (if there is one)

Ø      Have everyone introduce themselves

Ø      Have any guests that have not registered online do so

Ø      Check for helmets

Ø      Preview route and ride plan 

Ø      Describe pace, regroups, special conditions & hazards, drafting

Ø      Describe safe cycling practices

o       Take the lane in roundabouts

o       Two riders side by side maximum

o       Stay within traffic lane

o       Avoid "herd" mentality - make your own decisions

o       Communicate with other riders

o       BE SAFE

Ø      Remind riders to notify others if leaving the ride

Ø      Take a head count


Central Oregon Wheelers is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization.

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