Best Practices for Leading a Group Ride

Best Practices for Leading a Group Ride

Leading a group bicycle ride requires a lot of coordination. As an organizer, especially if it's your first time, coordinating details, people, paces, and expectations can be overwhelming. Thankfully, our Chamois Butt'r athletes and ambassadors have tons of experience taking everyone from brand new riders to elite racers out on group rides. 

We polled our crew and asked them for their top tips when it comes to leading a group ride. Here is what they said:

Manage Expectations

"Be clear and honest about the expected pace! I showed up to a 'casual shop ride' last summer and it was actually a 19+mph paceline train." -Joanna Prescott

"Set very clear expectations about what the ride will be, but be prepared for that one person who didn't hear it (or read it). In general, there's always 'one.'" -Donna Jersey

"If you say the ride is no drop, then it needs to be no drop. You cannot leave anyone behind. This happens far too often. Be clear about expectations. Pace, distance, short cuts, etc." -Kari Hutson

"Set expectations right up front! Be very clear which side of the paceline you'll be rotating off, what the speed on the flats will be, where the breaks will be, etc. Lay it all out!" -Rachel Slotcavage

"We are always very clear about the speeds of the groups as average finishing pace, not that speeds won’t be higher & slower so riders can know what they are in for, also always provide RWGPS files so people will know the turns if in-between groups… we also have an A leader, B leader & ideally a sweep." -Tom Keller

"Make sure the route is available for people to download. Most people won’t take the time to download it, but at least you made it available." -Tracy Jackson

"Welcome everyone and have a route. I’m always down to ditch the route and explore, but it’s good to have something planned." -Greg Lawrence

Stay Safe

"Go over hand signals with the group before the ride - good for those new to group riding, or sometimes people are used to different hand signals from other group." -Michelle Dickson

"Have a sweeper for those that may fall behind!" -Tay Dozier

Be a Friendly Face

"I always make an effort to ride alongside each rider and chat for a few minutes to make everyone feel welcome." -Kelsey LaPerle

"Take time at the start to check in with new folks. Especially on gravel, what's their tire pressure? Do they have anything they are nervous about or would like help with? If you're mountain biking, do you need to session anything? Make sure the new folks are prepared for the ride. I like to bring extra food, water, and Chamois Butt'r samples to share with people who may be new." -Kari Hutson

"Bring a good attitude and willingness to be patient with others. And bring post-ride beer [and non-alcoholic options] for fellowship and community building." -ORyan Patterson

Expect the Unexpected

"Be ready for the unplanned. Bike problems, road conditions, weather, sickness, people lost... The riders will look to you for help." -Keith Smith

Spread the Butt'r Love

Our athletes and ambassadors are always carrying Chamois Butt'r samples and offering them to new riders. When you give a new rider a sample, take a minute to familiarize them with the product. Say, "Here take this Chamois Butt'r sample. You apply it to your skin or chamois before every ride and it helps prevent chafing!"

Pausing to tell a new rider what Chamois Butt'r is and how to use it will go a long way in making them feel welcome (and much more comfortable) on the group ride! Happy Trails!



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