Ride Leader Guidelines and Suggestions


Providing club members with a variety of interesting and enjoyable rides of different distances, elevation gains and pace is our primary club mission. It is however highly dependent on club members leading rides on routes they enjoy. Without your help we won’t have the variety or frequency of rides we would all like. Leading a club ride is the simplest and most important contribution you can make to your club. It’s also fun and easy to do. This is your opportunity to dream up unique and interesting routes or simply share a favorite route with your friends. Of course it can also be a little bit intimidating but there’s really nothing to be worried about. Those who decide to do the ride have read the description and are there because that’s the kind of ride they want to do. They’re riding because they enjoy it and are predisposed to have a good time.

These guidelines and suggestions are intended to provide answers to questions you may have along with the system and forms the Club uses. In addition to what’s here a Board member is always available to help new ride leaders develop the route, and assist in leading the ride. Simply ask any Board member and we’ll be glad to help. Other experienced Ride Leaders are also available and willing to help.

Although this guidance includes several items that are required on each ride (e.g. helmets, liability, waiver for non-members), the suggestions allow for ride leaders to use their own good judgment to promote safe and fun rides.

Ride Leaders are the representatives of the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club and the first contact that potential new members have with the Club. Be as informative and friendly as possible. Take the time to ride with them and be available to help or answer questions. Your planning, enthusiasm, and leadership on the ride will make the ride more enjoyable for everyone.

Planning the Ride

  1. Route sheets that provide route directions in text should be available for each ride. Examples are available in our ride archive and at every ride. There are a number of on-line software systems available (e.g. to enable you to design a route. Although these are extremely helpful and save time, not all are accurate and may not distinguish between dirt and paved roads. Ride leaders should verify that all roads are accurately depicted and appropriate.
  2. Route sheets should:
    1. List road names, mileage to each turn, and turn direction.
    2. Use large enough print that reading glasses aren’t necessary.
    3. Note rest/regroup stops and availability of water, food, and restrooms.
  3. Other helpful Route sheet suggestions:
    1. Tracing the route on a map with a highlighter may be helpful.
    2. Make as many copies as riders you expect—generally 15-20 is adequate.
    3. Elevation gain or profile maps are useful but not necessary on all rides.
    4. Maps of the route and surrounding area are helpful if riders get off course and need to take another road to return.
  4. We have members of all abilities and interests. So rides with different start times, locations, distances, elevation gain, pace etc. are all useful. Some members will appreciate any ride you lead. Ride Leaders have discretion on when, where, and what route to lead. If possible, consider starting or ending a ride at a club sponsors business or stopping there for coffee or lunch en route.
  5. Drive or ride the route about a few days before the scheduled ride for any last minute changes, construction issues or road hazards.

Scheduling the Ride

  1. A ride is not an official Sierra Foothills Cycling Club ride unless it is announced via our e-mail list or published on our website.
  2. Ride Leaders schedule a ride by submitting a Ride Description form to the Ride Director.
  3. After the Ride Director has updated the online Ride Calendar with your ride:
    1. Verify that your ride was entered correctly on the Ride Calendar.
    2. Verify that your Ride Description is the way you want it to appear.
  4. Let the Ride Director know immediately if there is anything you want changed.

Day of the Ride


  1. Assemble the group of riders and introduce yourself and any guests. Let guests know about the Club and how to join.
  2. Be certain all riders have signed the Ride Roster, non-members have signed the Accident Waiver and Release of Liability form, everybody has a route map or directions, and everybody has a helmet.
  3. Briefly describe the route, any hazards, tricky turns, regroup and water or food stops.
  4. Remind riders to initial out on the Ride Roster at end of ride so you won't have to worry about lost riders.
  5. Stress the need to ride single file and stop at intersections in addition to obeying other traffic laws. Remind riders to point out hazards, approaching vehicles, and upcoming turns for following riders.
  6. Rides cannot be canceled by e-mail or online alone since guests and some members may not have access to the club e-mail list. The Ride Leader needs to show up at the scheduled start location by the scheduled start time to inform potential riders of the ride cancellation. It is not sufficient to say “rain cancels” because of riders coming from different geographical areas.


  1. Safe, legal, fun and enjoyable rides are the objective of every club ride. To meet these objectives it is Club policy that no riders are ever dropped. Ride leaders must account for all riders either by the rider’s arrival at the end of the ride or knowledge of the rider’s voluntary departure from the route.
  2. Riders leaving the route must advise the ride leader to enable accountability.
  3. It is recommended that all riders carry identification with the name and contact information of who to call in the event of an emergency.
  4. Sweeping the course is not a policy, but one of courtesy. It is important that new members, guests, and slow riders are not left behind or forgotten.
  5. You may lead the group from the front or from the back it’s possible to stay on top of things either way. Some ride leaders choose to lead from the rear, knowing the faster riders tend to be self supporting and the slower ones need more assistance. Others lead from the front so they can control the regroups and the pace. Almost anything will work, and almost all of your riders will be fairly self-reliant, so you won’t end up riding much differently than you would on any other club ride.


  1. Make sure all the riders have returned and have signed out on the Ride Roster. You may have to drive the route in reverse to assure that all riders are ok.
  2. NOTE: You do not need to do anything with the Ride Roster and any signed waivers once you are assured all riders are back safely.


  1. Our insurance carrier requires that everyone sign the Liability Waiver they provide. Members sign each year when paying dues and do not need to sign before each ride. Non-members must sign the Liability Waiver form prior to a Club ride.
  2. Helmets are mandatory on all rides. We cannot stop a person from doing a ride, but we will not allow him/her to sign the Ride Roster or obtain a map of the route if he/she is not wearing a helmet.
  3. Use the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club Ride Roster, and have all riders sign it before starting the ride. Remind riders to initial out upon their return. This enables Ride Leaders to verify that everyone has returned.

  4. Minors: Riders under 18 must complete the Parental Agreement form (also part of the Liability Waiver) and have it signed by their legal guardian.

  5. Accidents: If an individual on your ride has an accident, please contact the Ride Director and Club President or Vice President as soon as possible. An Accident Report form should be completed by the Ride Leader as soon as possible and forwarded to the Ride Director who will submit it to our insurance carrier.

Thank you for being a leader! Our members appreciate your leadership. The Club wouldn’t be much fun without Ride Leaders and their rides. Mentor a newer member with Ride Leader potential, they are the lifeblood of our Club.


Revised 1/13/2010