Ride Starter Information
We need ride starters and no-drop leaders! Why? We want to make our rides as friendly and enjoyable as possible, especially for new riders. As a ride starter, you serve as the face of the San Antonio Wheelmen for a particular ride and your actions will have a direct impact on how new riders and visiting riders feel about our club.
A no-drop leader will lead a specific route of a ride and ensure that no rider is left on his or her own. This is also an important role that could use your support.
Please read "How to be a Ride Starter" below for details on what's involved.
If you are interested in becoming a ride starter or a no-drop leader, please contact David Levinson.
Documents for Ride Starters
Starting a SAW Ride
1. What should I bring?·
- A color map copy for each mileage route with the route marked out clearly in marker
- 25-30 black-and-white copies of the general route maps (Maps are available in the Ride section of the SAW website)
- 3-4 copies of liability waivers (Available in Rides/Ride Starter section of SAW website)
- Clipboard to hold waivers
- Pens for filling them out
- Masking tape to attach the color marked route maps to car windows
- Highlighter markers for riders to mark up the black-and-white maps with their routes
- Piece of paper with your cell phone number to tape up by maps
- List of any hazards on the route (call/email the lead ride starter for the ride or the ride chair if you haven’t ridden it recently).
2. Can I get reimbursed for copying and supply expenses?
- Yes, save your receipts and send them to SAW or give them to a board member. Make sure to include a note of explanation and your return address.
- The mailing address is: San Antonio Wheelmen - PO Box 34208 - San Antonio,TX 78265 - C/O Ride Chair Cindy Kuenzi
3. What time should I arrive?
- Arrive 30 minutes before the ride to set up maps and supplies.
4. Riders are showing up, what now?
- Ask riders to sign the liability waiver—never call it a signup sheet! Be clear that it is a liability waiver to release the Club from all liability in case of an accident.
- Introduce yourself! Ask riders if they’ve ridden with the Club before, are they new, do they know the routes, what mileage they are planning to do, do they have anyone to ride with? Get to know new riders.
- At ten minutes to start time, begin announcing that the pre-ride briefing will start in five minutes. Start gathering people in.
5. The Pre-Ride Briefing
This is the scary part for everyone…don’t worry, you don’t have to be perfect!
- Welcome everyone to the ride. Remind everyone to sign the liability waiver if they haven’t done so yet.
- Ask if there is anyone here for their first ride. Introduce and welcome new riders.
- If there will be a no-drop ride, introduce the no-drop leader and give the no-drop mileage. If there is not a no-drop ride, announce that this ride is not a no-drop ride.
- “Does everyone have a helmet?” Helmets are required on SAW club rides.
- Look around to be sure everyone has a helmet.
- “SAW rides are unsupported, meaning there isn’t anybody to pick you up on the route. We need to watch out for each other.”
- NEVER leave a rider who has taken a tumble. He/she might not be aware they are injured.
- Carry plenty of water and drink often during hot weather. Emphasize if it is going to be hot/humid! Warn riders to watch out if fellow riders start seeming “off” or confused, they need to be taken to some shade and encouraged to drink water.
- I’m assuming everyone has tools and can change a flat.
- “Bicycles are legal vehicles on the road and are required to obey all traffic laws."
- Stop at stop-signs and traffic lights.
- Use hand signals when making turns.
- Ride as far to the right as safely possible, never more than two abreast.
- Go to single-file when necessary. Do not obstruct traffic.
- Call out “Car Up” or “Car Back,” when vehicles are approaching.
- Call out “On Your Left,” when approaching slower riders.
- Point out hazards such as potholes, glass, and gravel.
- “Does everyone have a map?” “Which of you are familiar with the route?” “Who is totally unfamiliar with the route?”
- Mention any known safety issues such as high traffic areas, road conditions, or construction.
- Point out where water stops are (ask riders to be courteous at store stops)
Group the Riders
- Group people by mileage. “Who is doing the 50 mile ride? Who is doing the 30 mile ride? Who is doing the no-drop ride?… etc”
- “Does anybody need somebody to ride with?”
- Try to place unattached riders in a group of similar riders. It may not always work, but try.
- Try to get riders unfamiliar with the route together with someone who knows the route.
Release the Riders
- If there is a no-drop ride, direct no-drop riders to gather around the no-drop leader, or wait for you if you are also the no-drop leader.
- Release the longest mileage groups first. “Okay, 50 milers, head out!” Release new groups at about 1-minute intervals.
6. No-drop Ride Leaders
If you are a no-drop leader, gather the no-drop group around you. If you’ve got new SAW riders:
- Review the mileage and ask who is familiar with the route. Faster riders will often pull ahead and take off on their own. If you know they know the route, you can watch them go and not be concerned.
- Explain how the no-drop ride works: you will stop and group up at turns along the route. If anyone wants to ride ahead, ask them to please let you know first.
- Introduce who will be riding sweep. If you don’t have a sweep rider, try to assign somebody the job—offer to trade off between leader and sweep.
- Count heads. Keep a count at group ups.
- Ask if there are any questions or concerns.
- If you end up with a really slow new rider, it’s okay to suggest they take the RR 101 class to get some experience first. May have to assign leadership to someone else and take them back to their car—it’s the way it goes sometimes.
7. After the Ride
You should be getting a self-addressed stamped envelope in the mail to return the liability waiver, do this within a week. This is really important! Email ride chair if you don’t get one!
8. Canceling a Ride
- We cancel rides for safety reasons. It’s up to the ride leader to make a judgement. Cancel by 1 hour before start time.
- Cancel if the roads are wet, if it is currently storming, or if there is a strong prediction of storms. Weather is fickle in south Texas, so don’t beat yourself up if you cancel and the sun comes out.
- Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make the subject line “Cancellation of the ____ Ride”. In the body, have one sentence similar to "The ___ ride is cancelled due weather". Carbon copy (CC) email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. One of us will post the cancellation to the SAW Facebook page.