HOW TO: Lead a Ride
Route planning should start at least 3 weeks prior to the ride. This will allow for time to get the word out about the ride, which is typically done at least 2 weeks prior to the ride. The most important details to nail down are the starting point and the date and time of the ride. Route revisions can then still be made up until the day of the ride, if need be, but at least riders know where and when to show up. The Geared 4 Kids ride is from 10:30am-1:00pm on the Sunday following the 2nd Friday of the month (which is the more adult East Bay Bike Party ride).
In general, it's best to plan a route that's 4-6 miles long, with the ending and starting points being the same location. In the event schedule above, this will allow for 30 minutes of getting ready and making announcements, 30 minutes for the first half of the ride, 30 minutes for a snack/play break, and 30 minutes for the second half of the ride, leaving 30 minutes of wiggle room for route length and difficulty level. Note: It's pretty important for the parents of toddlers to be back before naptime and for other ages to be back in time for lunch, so better to finish early than late.
Some guidelines for routes:
- 5 miles long (minimum of 4 / maximum of 6)
- Starting point=Ending point
- Mostly flat
- Stay off streets with double yellow lines / that Goggle Maps draws as yellow
- Right turns are preferable over lefts (to avoid traffic)
- Cross major streets at lights (potentially use crosswalks for safety)
- Cross minor streets where cross traffic has stop signs (if possible)
- Bike paths can become congested by a group ride, better to stick to streets
Some guidelines for starting/ending spots:
- Parks/playgrounds work well
- Bathrooms are a must!
- Car parking is helpful
- Nearby BART station is helpful
Some guidelines for midride stop:
Day of the Ride
- Parks/playgrounds work well
- Bathrooms are a huge bonus!
- Enough space to park bikes for awhile
Plan to show up a little bit before everyone else so that you can greet them and so that folks will know they are in the right place. You may want to bring a bullhorn and wear brightly colored clothing, both for safety and identity. Other items to bring are: printed maps/rules and the sign-in/waiver sheet.
Before the ride:
- Get folks to sign-in themselves and their children on our waiver form
- Drum up some volunteers for the ride (provide them with maps):
- At least 2 Intersection monitors -- watch for cross traffic at major intersections/alert riders when to stop and go
- At least 1 Caboose -- make sure no riders are left behind
- Make announcements
- Describe route (provide printed maps if possible)
- Review our rules / riding style (provide printed rules if possible)
- Ask for last minute volunteers (if there are still any unassigned positions)
During the ride:
- Keep the Caboose in sight, and use them to judge the pace of the ride
- If you lose sight of Caboose, find a safe stopping place to pull over until the ride can mass up
- Do not start through major intersections until volunteer help has arrived
and the ride has massed up
- Call out upcoming obstacles
- Do not allow any riders in front of you -- you are the leader
- Have fun!
After the ride:
- Congratulations! You did great!
As much as we test the routes and make safety a priority, there are still inherent dangers in bicycling.
All riders at Geared 4 Kids events ride at their own risk.