GSW Ride Leader Guidelines

Thank you for agreeing to lead a GSW ride. Remember that on the day of your ride, you'll be riding for the club, not for yourself. Be aware of your responsibility to the club and to all the other riders who will be depending on you.

Following are some guidelines that will help you prepare for your ride and to lead a safe, fun and successful ride.


Setting Up a Ride:

Call or email the Ride Coordinator early to lock in a date for your ride.

Decide whether your ride will be a "novice ride". If you designate your ride as a novice ride, you are committing to lead novices yourself or to enlisting the help of a co-leader who will ride with any novices who show up for your ride. Whether your ride is a novice ride or not, a co-leader is often a good idea.

Send the details for your ride to the Ride Coordinator before the deadline for rides (printed in every issue of Pedal Talk). Include day, time, place, pace, terrain, description, directions, contact information, and dates (if applicable).

Mapping Out a New Ride:

Find a starting location with ample parking. Obtain the owner's permission to use the area. If proof of insurance is required, contact the GSW office (address below).

Next, sketch out your tentative route on a draft cue sheet or highlight it on a map. Avoid unpaved and poorly paved roads. But, if short stretches of poor pavement can't be avoided, be sure to call them to riders' attention before the ride. Also, avoid unnecessary conflicts with heavy traffic, such as left turns on heavily traveled roads.

Ride the route or drive it in a car. Note correct distances, unusual hazards, landmarks, rest stops, etc. on your draft cue sheet. Some ride leaders find a hand held voice recorder works well for this.

Preparing a Cue Sheet:

Remember, you know your route; others may not. A good cue sheet is essential. Some riders prefer a map over a cue sheet while others prefer a cue sheet. A good cue sheet can be followed by anybody, but a map is more useful for a rider to find his/her way back onto the route if he/she strays. The best solution may be a cue sheet map, showing the highlighted route and adjacent roads.

Note both point to point mileages and cumulative mileages. Double check your mileages and your arithmetic. Note landmarks, points of interests, unusual hazards, stores, etc. on your cue sheet.

Double check your cue sheet and map before you make final copies. If you can, have someone else proofread it for you--preferably while riding the route.

Keep your cue sheet and/or map simple and easy to read from a moving bike. Include only information that is needed for following the route. Don't be verbose.

If you use a computer or a word processor, two column cue sheets are easy to read and work well. If you can't use columns, leave every third or fourth line blank. This helps the reader to follow a line of print from left to right without inadvertently skipping lines.

Use only standard abbreviations and include a key to the abbreviations on the cue sheet. The standard GSW abbreviations are below. Please refer to the Pedal Talk Formatting Guide for further formatting information. Example cue sheets are available upon request.

Symbol = Meaning
R = Right
L = Left
S = Straight
X = Cross
BR = Bear Right
IMM = Immediate Turn
TSO = To Stay On
T = T Intersection
Y = Y Intersection
> = Road Name Changes
CL = Caution Light
TL = Traffic Light
SS = Stop Sign
YS = Yield Sign
Food = Food
Toilet = Toilet

An on-line archive of cue sheets is being organized so that riders can review them and print if they like. See the cue sheets we have collected so far HERE
Ride Leaders: Please send me your cue sheets in MS Word, Open Office, PDF format, or in the content of an email so that they can be shared with other riders. Thank you!
Barbara Amos, web publisher


Before The Ride:

Arrive about 20 minutes early (try to be the first one there). Get yourself ready to ride then set out the sign-up sheet(s). Be available to answer questions about the route, cue sheets, etc.

Designate a co-leader for each cue-sheeted ride or for each show & go group. Try to hold the number of show & go groups to two or three. Make sure co-leaders go over the route verbally for all riders, especially on show & go rides.

Designate a sweep. The sweep should be someone who is very familiar with the route.

Welcome riders to the ride. Ask if there are any novice riders or riders new to the club. Find someone to accompany them or do it yourself.

Make announcements:

Highlight road hazards, construction, or other changes since the cue sheet was printed.

Describe food and water stops along the route and planned stops for regrouping.

If there will be an after ride gathering for socializing, tell where.

Ask riders to notify someone if they intentionally drop out of the ride. Remind all riders to sign in when they return.

Describe the rules of the road and state that it is GSW policy to obey them.

Describe GSW practices and courtesies. ("On your left", "Car back", "Stopping", etc.)

Describe the "Wave then turn" practice: Wait at every turn until the next rider is in sight. Wave. Don't turn until he/she returns the wave. If no rider makes a turn until he/she is certain the rider has seen him/her, no one will ever get lost!

Send riders out in small groups unless traffic is very light.

Count the number of riders in your immediate group.

Remind riders to report any incidents of harassment by motorists. Most cell phones have a voice recorder feature that can come in handy to note a license plate and car description. Please do NOT talk on a cell phone while riding. All serious incidents and accidents should be documented in writing then mailed to the GSW and the NH DMV:

Safety and Education Chairperson
Granite State Wheelmen, Inc.
PMB 216
215 South Broadway
Salem, NH 03079-3309

Officer William Whitcher
NH Dept. of Safety, DMV
James H. Hayes Safety Building, Rm 107
23 Hazen Drive
Concord NH 03305

During The Ride:

Continue to promote "wave then turn". Recount the riders as often as necessary.

Make sure riders follow simple safety rules (e.g. don't unnecessarily obstruct traffic, stop at stop signs, traffic signals, etc.)

Remind riders to stay single-file in traffic and leave a gap for traffic to pass if there are more than 5 or 6 riders.

Observe and note any riders that exhibit unsafe riding practices. If you observe someone doing something dangerous or illegal, please speak with the rider in private after the ride. Try using a friendly tone and inform them of the GSW's Inform, Educate, and Enforce (IEE) policy.

After The Ride:

Make sure all riders have returned or are accounted for.

Make sure all riders have signed in after the ride.

Send completed sign-up sheets, with mileages, to the Club Mileage Chairperson.

Be sure to note any aspects of the ride (i.e. enjoyable routes, helpful riders, humorous events, etc.) on the sign-up sheet when you send it in.

Please send your suggestions/or updating this sheet to
Erich Whitney, 5 Wilson Ave., Derry, NH 03038-2117 (603) 537-1120

This document was originally prepared by GSW member G. Darcy Hart of Bedford, NH and is dedicated to his memory.

File: GSW RL Guidelines Rev 5.doc

Granite State Wheelmen