Ride Leading

Got a route to share? Lead a ride! It’s not hard.

You must be a current Harpeth Bike Club member.

  • You are responsible for calling off the ride if the weather makes it unsafe. All official rides are cancelled if it’s raining at the start, the roads are wet, or heavy rain is eminent.

  • You are responsible for getting the ride roster signed by any guest rider, and collecting information (email address and/or phone number). We will only use this information to follow-up with the guest about joining the club or if there is an incident.

  • You are responsible for producing a good cue sheet (for Saturday rides).

  • You are responsible for making sure that no one gets lost, and that anyone with a mechanical problem receives help. If you don’t sweep, you need to designate a sweep that understands what a sweep is.

    • What is a sweep? They’re a strong confident rider that is always last. No one gets dropped. The sweep is last to start, last to finish. The sweep has the lowest average speed on the ride. Some mechanical aptitude (minimum knowing how to change a tire) is helpful.

  • You are responsible for coaching other riders if you become aware of any unsafe or uncourteous behavior. That includes failing to allow cars to pass, rolling stop signs, weaving or whatever. You are the person that has to say something and do it politely.

  • In the unfortunate case of an accident, you are responsible for completing an accident report and contacting the ride chair.

Harpeth Bicycle Club Ride Leader Guidelines

NOTE: These instructions, and other tips, are also available on the ride roster.

As a Ride Leader, you are the representative of the Harpeth Bicycle Club. Be as informative and friendly as possible. Welcome those who may be visitors or new to the club. Take the time to explain the route to participants and to answer questions. Your enthusiasm, planning and leadership will make the ride safe and enjoyable for everyone.


  1. Check the HBC website to insure the information listed is correct, including your name and contact information, the start location and time, and the distances and descriptions

  2. If you are leading a Sunday ride, print a copy of the Route Sheet and the Ride Roster Form.

  3. If you are leading a Saturday ride, you can use a route that has been done in the past that you enjoyed or you can create a new route. In either case, you will need to obtain or create a route sheet listing mileage, turns, and significant landmarks. Note: For long rides, it is desirable to have a shorter alternative if possible

  4. Once the route is determined, the best method to establish a cue sheet with mileage and turns information is to drive the route with a partner to obtain accurate data. Note the rest stops and the availability of food and water. If possible make two-sided copies with the map on one side and the cue sheet on the other. Note: With the advent of computer software, it is possible to create a route on your computer or have one of the ride coordinators assist you. While the accuracy of computer programs is getting better every day, it is still a very good idea to physically check the route to insure the roads are suitable for bicycle travel and there is no confusion during the ride. Many roads are marked differently than a mapping program may show. As any of us who has lived in Tennessee for any length of time knows, a road may be called one thing on one end, but if you are coming from the other direction the street sign says something totally different.

  5. Download and print copies of the Ride Roster from the club website, or contact the Ride Coordinator to obtain a copy.

  6. If there is any question about the route, drive or ride the route no less than a week before the ride to note any last minute changes or road hazards.

  7. At least one week before the ride, send the route sheet, street address of the start location, and a short description of the ride to the Ride Coordinator. This allows the Ride Coordinator to post the route sheet on the web site (so that riders can print their own copies), as well as describe the ride in the weekly Announcement e-mail.

Day of the Ride

  1. Bring with you …

      • Ride Roster and pencil or pen.

      • Maps and/or cue sheets — at least one for you, but you may want to bring extras for riders. (Riders should print and bring their own copies, but often fail to do so.)

      • If possible, it is a good idea to carry a cellular phone on your ride for use in the event of an emergency.

  2. Check the weather report before leaving home. It is the Ride Leader’s responsibility to call the ride off due to unsafe conditions. If there is any question about safety, it is best to call off the ride before it starts.

  3. Arrive early, at least 30 minutes before the start of the ride so that you can have your bike, clothes, etc prepared to ride before everyone else arrives.

  4. As riders arrive, ensure that they have cue sheets. Welcome guests, have them sign the Ride Roster, and determine how familiar they are with the area, the ride pace, and if they know any other riders. Generally, you should try to be available for questions such as “how hard is this?” “are there any shorter options?” “can someone help me with . . . ?”, etc. For non-members, let them know they can join by visiting the website. All non-members must sign the Ride Roster to acknowledge the Waiver.
    Note: Helmets are mandatory on all rides. Make sure everybody has a helmet

  5. Approximately five minutes before the start, call the group together and introduce yourself and any guests. Briefly describe the route, the markings if any, hazards, tricky turns and rest stops. If you want people to “regroup” at any particular spot, point that out at this time. Explain that it is not a policy, but one of courtesy to sweep the ride. Participants should let others know if they need assistance or deviate from the ride course. (A common problem is getting back to the parking lot and all riders have not returned because they “took the long way back.”) Explain the level of support that participants should expect during the ride. Ask if there are any questions, particularly from those new to the club or who may be new to cycling.

  6. The best way to lead a ride is from the back of the ride. Select someone familiar with the ride to lead the group from the parking lot and everyone will follow.

  7. The most important aspect is to not lose anyone. This occurs in one of three ways:

      • The riders in the front don’t pay attention, miss a turn and are off in the wrong direction – if your route sheet is clear, this is not your fault. The good news is that the riders in the front are generally very good riders — a few extra miles trying to find the route or their way home will not normally be a problem.

      • Medium-skill level riders get isolated in the middle of the group and make a wrong turn because of some confusion or they followed a cyclist who was not on our ride. Again, this really is not your fault – at the beginning of the ride, point out that if someone is not sure of where they are going they should stop and wait for the ride leader coming behind them.

      • The last rider gets dropped or has a problem, and no one knows about it. This is your responsibility. Either you, or someone you have delegated, always has the last rider in sight.

Post Ride

To the best of your knowledge, ensure that all riders have returned. With large groups, some may take longer routes and it is difficult to be sure who has returned and who has not. At a minimum, try to keep track of those riders who may be new to the club or cycling, ask others if they know where they are, and as a last resort, you may have to drive the route in the reverse direction to assure that everyone is OK.

Check the roster for completeness and email, hand deliver it to one of the HBC Ride Coordinators or snail mail the form to:

Harpeth Bicycle Club
P.O. Box 680802
Franklin, TN 37068-0802

If you are interested in writing a short story about the ride or any interesting events, please feel free to do so and send it to the list.

IMPORTANT – The Ride Roster Form

  1. Have all non-members sign the Ride Roster to acknowledge the waiver and liability release at the top of the form.

  2. Non-member minors (those under 18) must have a Parental Consent Form signed by a legal guardian.


Check List

One Week Before

  • Check website for accuracy

  • Obtain or create map/cue sheet

  • Ensure map/cue sheet is complete and accurate

  • Check that roads are open and suitable for bicycle travel

Before Leaving Home the Day of the Ride

  • Copies of Map/Cue sheets

  • Copy of Ride Roster Form

  • Pen

  • Cell Phone, Charged

  • Check Weather Report

At the Start Location

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before start time

  • Hand out maps/cue sheets

  • Welcome guests, non-members and have them sign Roster

  • Check for helmets

Five Minutes before Start

  • Assemble group

  • Introduce yourself as the ride leader

  • Introduce any new members, guests if possible

  • Ask if all non-members have signed the roster

  • Check for helmets and eyewear

  • Give brief description of the route, any markings

  • Point out any hazards, tricking turns, etc

  • Let people know you or your delegate will be “sweeping”

  • Let people know where to regroup or rest stops

  • Introduce whoever you selected to lead the ride out of the parking lot

  • Begin the ride

Post Ride

  • Ensure everyone has returned (or has indicated they were doing additional miles, etc)

  • Mail in the Ride Roster