Ride Leader Guidance

Please read the details below when you first becomne a ride leader, and annually to refresh your memory. We also provide some pocket checklists which you can carry with you when leading a ride:

  • Ride Start Checklist for Leaders
  • Coronavirus instructions for Ride Leaders
  • Ride Changes and Cancellations

    Ride Leaders - ensure you post any late changes to your ride on the Fleet Cycling Facebook Page as this feeds directly to the Calendars pages on the website and can then be seen by all members with internet access.

    There is also a Fleet Cycling WhatsApp group that allows riders to share road conditions before the ride in near real time. This often informs our decision on whether to delay or cancel a ride. If you require access to the WhatsApp group please contact Andrew Perkins

    Advice to Fleet Cycling ride leaders

    The ride leader should be well organised and supportive, and present themselves in a way that shows the club is not negligent in its approach to safety and quality issues; be positive so that guests are encouraged to join more of our rides.

    The role of ride leader

    The ride leader has a duty of care towards the riders and must ensure as far as reasonably practicable that the safety and enjoyment of all participants and the public has been taken into account in the organisation of the ride. As ride leader you have no specific authority over the group, although the Rides Secretary must be certain that the members selected to be ride leaders can carry out the requirements in this guide to the expected standard.

    New Ride Leaders - the skills and qualities that a ride leader must possess are a knowledge of the group and members, familiarity with the roads and lanes around Fleet, the skill to assess potential hazards and the respect of their peers. A new ride leader will usually lead their first ride under the tutelage of an experienced ride leader who will report comments to the Rides Secretary, who will ensure a rider leader self declaration is completed (click here to download a copy of the form) and that a proposer and seconder (who must both be members of the committee) support the appointment.

    All Fleet Cycling ride leaders are registered in that role with Cycling UK by the Registration Officer (the Club Secretary), who keeps a list of all those registered as ride leaders. Ride leaders are protected by the Cycling UK organisers' liability insurance. Fleet Cycling member group insurance details can be found on the Cycling UK website:
    Ride and event organiser insurance - Cycling UK

    Before the ride

    For our regular club rides Cycling UK does not require a specific risk assessment because regular club rides in our normal district have a good safety record. This safety record relies on the experience and common sense of our ride leaders who are able to assess the terrain and traffic and make appropriate judgements as the ride progresses.

    The rider leader should have a specific route in mind before the ride starts and should have considered the known potential hazards and the likely weather conditions in relation to the level of experience for the expected participants. If new or inexperienced riders turn up then the ride leader should consider whether the planned route needs to be modified.

    'Known hazards' are such features as steep or winding descents, main or busy roads or crossings and the state of trails or lanes. These can be made safer by communicating with riders before reaching a feature and asking them to take appropriate caution.

    A key consideration is the weather forecast; the ride leader should consider whether the planned route should be modified especially in wet or icy conditions. If there are severe weather warnings in place then the ride leader should consider, in dialogue with the Rides Secretary, whether the ride should be cancelled. Such a decision should be communicated to the membership via Facebook Page, What's App and the Website (ask Andrew P, Saty M or Colin W).

    The ride leader should check that the refreshment stops will be open and for pub lunches the ride leader should make a reservation for the likely number of participants - some pubs will request confirmation of numbers on the day of the ride.

    The ride leader should have a map (paper/electronic), mobile phone, cash, tool kit, pen and guest registration forms available.

    A "guest" rider may attend three rides before having to join Cycling UK. The ride leader is responsible for obtaining a completed Fleet Cycling Guest Rider Form from each guest, and for retaining the form for at least the duration of the ride. The ride leader may pass on the form to the Secretary or Rides Secretary if they wish, but all forms and copies of the data must be destroyed within six months, or less on request of the guest.

    This guidance on the Cycling UK website is well worth reading and new riders might find it useful as well.

    At the start

    Welcome new riders and introduce yourself and tell them about the ride. Ensure all riders are carrying emergency contact details. Some new riders will have a Guest Rider form already completed - if not give them a form and ask them to complete it. If a new rider completed the form on an earlier ride they do not need to complete another form. Children must have a parental consent form signed by their parent or guardian if they are unaccompanied.  Children under 13 years must be accompanied by a responsible adult who must supervise them on the ride (if this adult is not their parent or guardian then they must have a signed parental consent form).

    Appoint a "buddy" to new riders not just for safety but also to ensure they are included in the ride and introduced to other riders.

    Appoint a "back marker" to accompany the last rider and to wait with them if they stop. At junctions check that you (or someone you nominate) can see the back marker.

    If there are more than, say 8 riders, consider splitting into groups of 4 to 6 riders, particularly on busier roads, so traffic can move past the groups. Appoint a leader for each group and if required leave a rider as a "marker" on each major turn on the route so other groups can follow the correct route.

    During the ride

    Stopping - choose a safe place to stop the group and get everyone off the carriageway. Enforced stops - assess the problem and if necessary move the bulk of the group to a safe place and consider whether to hold up the ride or leave a small group behind with details of the route to the next stop.

    As ride leader communicate your standards of behaviour by dealing with hazards, junctions, potholes, vehicles, passing traffic, narrow roads, dangerous descents, passing horses, etc. Make sure knowledge of hazards is passed quickly back through the group. If riders have an unsafe technique or equipment then speak to them and ask them to conform to the behaviour of the group.

    If you leave the front of the group make sure that the lead riders do not separate from the rest of the group by asking them to remain in contact. If a rider says they will leave the group, then establish the reasons and consider whether to alter the ride to accommodate their needs or appoint an experienced rider to stay with them.

    Encountering irate motorists: encourage all riders not to engage in bad behaviour to motorists even when provoked by poor behaviour or abuse by the motorist. When motorists behave well and wait behind or stop to let the group pass then make sure that you thank them.

    After the ride

    Notify the Rides Secretary of the total number of riders and the names of guest riders.

    Reporting Incidents

    If any incidents occurred on the ride then complete an Incident Report. A copy of the latest form is available from the Cycling UK website (other useful resources on this page) and details of how to process the form are detailed on the form; send your form to the Secretary with a copy to the Rides Secretary. The Secretary will send the form to Cycling UK.

    Thank you for undertaking the duties of ride leader - without your support the club could not function. If you would like any specific training then contact the Chairman or Secretary and we will contact Cycling UK HQ to obtain the training for you. If you think the guidance could be improved or there are any omissions please send your suggestions to membership@fleetcycling.org.uk

    Issue 2.3, 12th October 2019

    For further reading see http://www.cyclinguk.org/uk-cycling-events/resources-for-cycle-event-organisers-ride-leaders-and-cycling-group-officials