Leading and Sweeping Venus Bike Club Rides
Volunteer leads and sweeps are critical to the success of our club rides. Based on previous years, we may need 20 volunteers or more each week. You will receive a $5 credit toward the next year’s club membership each week you lead or sweep in appreciation for volunteering.
Before the Ride
- Please sign up in advance of the ride on the sign-up form. Include your phone number so your partner lead/sweep volunteer can save it before the ride, and so the ride coordinators can reach you if needed.
- Know your route ahead of time. The route can be found on the Member Events page. Review the weekly email that we send to lead/sweep volunteers for detailed information about the route, including suggested water and rest stops and regrouping spots.
- Please arrive at the ride start at least 30 minutes before the ride (e.g., if the ride leaves at 9 am, you should be there and ready to ride by 8:30 am).
- Know the basics of the club safety speech. You need to review safety with your group.
- Make sure you have a cell phone and have your route map downloaded for offline use. The lead and sweep should exchange phone numbers.
- Carry your own water and food, and basic repair tools. You are not required to fix a rider’s mechanical, but someone may need a tool.
- Have everyone introduce themselves. Welcome new members.
- Communicate your route, stops, pace, hand signals, known safety issues, etc.
- Start your ride on time!
On the Ride
Follow all traffic rules. Understand the new Colorado Safety Stop law and what it means for our group rides. Ride safely and predictably. YOU are the role model!
Stick to the designated pace of the ride unless the entire group wants to go slower or faster.
Keep the group together. Communication is key!
- Announce your plan to regroup after lights, or after several lights if there are many in a row.
- When you regroup, signal that you are stopping, pull completely off the road where it’s safe to do so. Be sure to wait right before or after the turn so cyclists further back can see you waiting and don’t ride past. (Don’t stop right at the intersection, as that can be confusing to drivers.) Wait until the last riders to arrive have had a chance to drink/rest. Ask everyone if they are ready before starting again.
- If the group is getting spread out, you may need to slow the pace. The exception to this is on long straightaways or hills/climbing.
- If the group is consistently getting too spread out, you have the option to split into two groups and ask for additional volunteers so both groups have leads and sweeps. Nothing is rigid; you can make changes to the group as needed.
- If a rider chooses to pass the lead, the lead should let her know the next location to regroup. The rider who goes ahead assumes responsibility for knowing and following the route.
- Remember, no one gets dropped, unless she specifically says she is leaving the group. If a rider needs to stop and tells the sweep, “Go ahead” or “I’ll catch up,” clarify if the rider is saying it’s ok to be dropped or if the expectation is to wait at the next turn or stop sign until they catch up. We don’t want anyone left behind due to miscommunication.
- If a rider can’t keep up with the group and falls behind causing a large gap in the group, the sweep can offer to break from the group to ride the route with that rider and someone else from the main group replaces the sweep. Suggest the rider consider a slower-paced group or shorter route next time.
- It is also ok to have a faster/slower rider move into a faster/slower pace group mid-ride. The rider and both leads need to communicate for this to happen. This may only occur when the two groups are in the same location at the same time.
- If RwGPS decides to be unfriendly and you lose the turn by turn directions, it’s ok to stop and look at the map. Be sure to download it for offline use before the ride!
- If you make a wrong turn, no worries! Stop where it is safe, communicate with your group what your plan is. Correct course safely, being mindful of traffic.
If someone has a flat, it is not your responsibility to fix it; however, in the spirit of sisterhood, support the rider who needs help.
- Everyone must have a spare tube and tools with her.
- Communicate through the group that you are stopping.
- New riders and those in the short group may need help fixing a flat. Help them learn how and encourage them to attend the next fix-a-flat clinic.
- If the flat occurs near the back and the group is spread out, the sweep should call the lead and let her know to stop the group and wait to regroup.
- The group should stop and wait till the flat is fixed, unless the person fixing the flat says it’s OK for the group to keep going. Make sure the flat-fixer is in a safe place.
If there is a mechanical issue, the entire group should stop.
- You are not required to know how to fix the problem, but if you can help, please do!
- If the issue can’t be fixed, have the cyclist call someone who can pick her up and her bike. Make sure the rider is in a safe place to wait. If a second rider stays with her, make sure there’s a plan for the second rider to get to the ride’s end safely.
If a rider is seriously injured, call 911.
If you see unsafe actions on your ride, you can do one of two things:
- Address the issue immediately. Discreetly explain to the rider(s) why what they’re doing is unsafe.
- If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, please tell a Ride Committee member what happened, so we can address the issue. While it’s important for everyone to have fun, our #1 priority is making sure everyone has a safe ride.
We also have a Lead/Sweep Debriefing form where you can report anything about the ride, whether it was an unsafe situation, an accident, comments on the route, or something that was particularly fun or inspiring.
Thank you for volunteering to be a ride lead/sweep!
We held a 2022 Clinic for Leads and Sweeps on March 29. View the video recording. The passcode is “Clinics4Venus!”