When it’s only you who’s riding, it’s pretty easy to talk yourself out of it, right? Unless of course there’s something new to try, like a new trail, route, coffee shop or brewery, or new handlebar, stem, tires, or a completely new bike. They say that finding a buddy to ride with will help keep you motivated but what if you got a whole bunch of buddies together to ride? That kind of motivation doesn’t wear off so easily.
A group ride is more than just a commitment to yourself and to your fellow riders; it’s a chance to swap ride skills, critique the latest snack trends and restaurants, pan the latest streaming series, or review new bike gear. A group ride should involve fun and food and, if you believe that the world would be better if more people rode bikes, then a group ride is your best bet to light that spark for cycling in someone else. No matter whether your motive is personal – perhaps a little selfish – or more altruistic, round up a crowd and roll with it, here’s your step-by-step process for how to organize a group ride.
- Choose a date and a time
- TIP: Build in a meet-up time 15-30 minutes before your actual departure time.
- Learn how to create a custom map using Google My Maps
- TIP: Make sure to include a bike-friendly food destination, either in the middle – like a coffee shop or bakery – or at the end of your ride, maybe for a drink and some food.
- TIP: Orient your ride to pass by lesser known landmarks or monuments that have some significance and drop some knowledge
- TIP: Pick a meaningful name for your ride, one that’s inviting and intriguing enough to provoke interest.
- Create an event on Facebook; give a summary of your ride and be sure to include date, time, point of departure, what to bring, contact information AND what the pace will be in either kilometers or miles per hour + the anticipated ride duration. Share your event along with a link to your map. Encourage your friends to sign up and share it with their friends.
- Let us know about it too, Ritchey’s International Facebook page
- Design a flyer to post at your local bike shop. If the shop is also the start/finish point, ask if they would help publicize your ride too. (Make a Ritchey retailer your point of departure)
- Invite your coworkers and demystify your crazy bike obsession for them
- If you haven’t already, recruit someone to ride sweep in back. Ask for a volunteer from your group. He/she doesn’t have to ride sweep the whole time, just until he/she can find a worthy replacement to hand the job over to.
- An overview of the route and scheduled stops
- Pace, what’s the expected ride speed
- Proper conduct at stop signs and red lights
- Whether the ride is a “no-drop” (meaning the group leaves no one behind) or not
Depending upon the nature and design of your ride, here are a few more helpful tips that should come in handy:
- Plan your ride when there’s the greatest chance of good weather
- Orient your ride around an event or destination with attractive or interactive features, like a festival or ice cream stand
- Take the long way around: city centers, major intersections, traffic circles, bridges with metal grates (especially if it’s damp), and/or any other menacing obstacles
- Be willing to be flexible and alter your ride on the fly if you’ve overestimated your participants’ abilities
- Assume that everyone knows how to properly shift and/or brake. You lose nothing by reviewing these two essential actions before starting to ride.
- Introduce a complex route with lots of turns and climbs; someone is bound to get lost
- Turn your ride into a death march just to get to the end. If participants appear to be fading before the finish, call it a day.
May unofficially heralds the start of good weather and ride season in many northern climes. May is even National Bike Month in the United States. A group ride will go a long way to uncork pent up winter energy – not only yours but pretty much the rest of humanity, for whom you’d be doing a service if you organized a group ride!