A friend was over tonight, and the topic of what do you have to do to lead a ride showed up. What does it mean to take responsibility for a group?
It means this:
- You make an informative post about your ride. Include
- Distance and speed
- equipment requirements like a helmet, flat change kit, lights.
Though, goodness knows, sometimes I forget to mention some of these things.
- If you can’t handle minor emergencies like flat tires yourself and help others to do so, you state this up front and have a plan B.
- You show up for the ride….
- On time or close.
- You have some route ideas in mind.
- You say hello to people.
- You encourage others to do the same.
- You will extend normal assistance and courtesies to the other riders.
I generally try not to drop people, but that said, if I’m planning a 15 mph ride and say so and someone can’t keep up, I’ll let them know early so they can head home, or go off on their own ride.
The most common thing to go wrong is mechanical issues. It’s good to know how to change a flat, if nothing else. But even if you don’t, if you’ve got a plan for dealing with these everyday emergencies, that should work with a group too.
In the last 12 years of riding, I’ve seen a few crashes and accidents. Most of the time, it has been minor injuries and all parties have ridden home. Let me give some advice here. If someone does have a crash, do keep an eagle eye on them, and I think someone should ride home with them to make sure they arrive safely. That’s just human decency, isn’t it?
I think maybe once someone was injured and that person him/herself called for a ride home.
I remember one time that someone got hurt at the Flagpole ride. This was a new rider, unknown to all of us. I volunteered to help. I had to call a friend to come get me and the injured rider, because his wife didn’t pick up the phone. I wasn’t going to leave him sitting alone in urgent care, and so I stayed with the injured rider. We got ahold of his wife before he was released, and she came and picked him up. I did miss my ride that day, and that doesn’t bother me a bit. I think I had a more important job to do.
Another common minor emergency is that someone forgets something like money or food. $5 has been passed around on many a ride.
Being a ride leader really isn’t tough. It does take some planning, but beyond that, it’s about being a human being to the other human beings around you. Surely we are all capable of doing that.