Ride Leader Guidance

Please read the details below when you first become a ride leader, and annually to refresh your memory.

Forms and Lists

Pocket checklist which you can carry with you when leading a ride.

Registration sheet for rider emergency contact details.

Guest Rider Form

Ride Leader self-declaration form

Ride Changes and Cancellations

Ensure you post any late changes to your ride on the Google Sheets ride list, as this feeds directly to the Calendars pages on the website and can then be seen by all members with internet access.
You MAY also post on the Fleet Cycling Facebook Page and/or the WhatsApp group (see below).

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 secretary@fleetcycling.org.uk

Key points

  • Please put your name down on the rides sheet as early as possible (4 to 12 weeks in advance), so the Rides Secretary doesn't have to scramble around to get leaders at the last minute. If your plans change and you have to swap with someone else or duck out a few days beforehand then we'll understand - and of course if the weather is bad then you can cancel the ride.

  • Use a Registration sheet for rider emergency contact details

  • Ask at the start of a ride about medical conditions. This would, for example, cover an allergy to bee stings or a heart condition.

  • When traffic is appreciably held up by the group, e.g., on long narrow lanes, consider asking riders to pause in a gateway and let the traffic by.

  • If you need help or guidance on planning rides, including using route-planning software, contact Sally Swift, our Rides Secretary

The role and responsibilities of ride leader

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 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.
A ride leader must have 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.
All ride leaders are registered in that role with Cycling UK by the Fleet Cycling Secretary. Ride leaders are then protected by Cycling UK organisers' liability insurance, as at 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 ride 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.
The ride leader should consider whether the planned route should be modified, or the ride cancelled, especially in wet or icy conditions.
The ride leader should check that the refreshment stops will be open and, for pub lunches, make a reservation for the likely number of participants.
A "guest" rider may attend three rides before having to join Cycling UK. The ride leader is responsible for obtaining a completed Guest Rider Form from each guest, and for retaining the form for at least the duration of the ride. All forms and copies of the data must be destroyed within six months, or less on request of the guest.
This ride leader's toolkit on the Cycling UK website is well worth reading.

At the start

Consider whether to modify the planned route due to weather or inexperienced riders. Safety first!
You must have one leader (or assistant, who may be a back marker) for every 8 riders, so split into smaller groups if necessary, and keep them apart on the road to help traffic get by.
Ask riders to fill in a sign-in sheet per group, including the column on emergency contacts.
Obtain a Guest Rider form for anyone not a member of Cycling UK. After the ride, pass it on to secretary@fleetcycling.org.uk. Unaccompanied under-18s must provide a parental consent form. Under-13s must bring a responsible adult to supervise them. If this is not a parent or guardian, they must ALSO provide a parental consent form.
Check that riders have suitable clothing.
Welcome new riders and introduce yourself.
Introduce riders who have not met and appoint a "buddy" to new riders for safety and to ensure inclusivity and introductions to other riders.
Describe the route and where the stops are, plus any special warnings about hazards.
Remind riders of etiquette, e.g., We wait for riders who drop off the back, but we don’t search for those who ride ahead of the leader; We stop to let traffic by on long stretches of narrow lane; We moderate our language with other road users, noting that we might need to use camera footage
For new riders:

  • explain that they are responsible for their own safety at all times
  • explain the procedure if the group gets separated, e.g., message on our WhatsApp group
  • explain communication and hand signals

Ask for questions
Ask about medical conditions. For instance, you could say "If anyone has a medical condition they would like me to know about then please speak to me as soon as you can, privately if you prefer." This would, for example, cover an allergy to bee stings or a heart condition.

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

Fill in the Google Sheets ride list with the actual number of riders, so the club can assess our participation figures and report to Cycling UK at the end of the year.
Pass any guest rider forms on to secretary@fleetcycling.org.uk
If any incidents occurred on the ride then complete an Incident Report, preferably the online version as explained in the ride leader's toolkit on the Cycling UK website. Please also inform secretary@fleetcycling.org.uk
If you would like any specific training or have suggestions then contact the Rides Secretary, or email secretary@fleetcycling.org.uk

Issue 3.1, 25th April 2024