Advice for Ride Captains

This Advice is intended to let our club Captains know what is expected of them when leading a ride with our club. The help and advice given is taken from Cycling UK resources and HoECC guidelines. The ride Captain has a duty of care towards the riders and as such it is very important that before leading any HoECC rides you familiarise yourselves with the contents of this guide.

All .gpx files for up-coming rides that are to be added to The Library should be emailed to  at least 5 days before the ride date. 
[The link should open a new email message ready to attach the file and any details, and then send]

  Before Setting Off

   We all know preparation is important before setting out on a project or task. Leading a HoECC ride is no different. Here are some reminders and tips:

   The Captain is registered, by default as an HoECC member,  by the Club Secretary in order to activate Organiser’s Liability Cover. Whilst not compulsory we recommend you wear a correctly fitting and adjusted cycle helmet on all club rides.

  The Captain should make preparations for the ride by way of route planning which is expected to use minor roads for the majority of the route. Use of main roads should be kept to a minimum and extra thought should be exercised in order to reduce danger or avoid large traffic islands and right turns off main roads.  

   Captains should plan a route distance that gets the riders to the refreshment stop in a timely manner: the lunch stop by no later than 1300 in summer and 1230 in winter – and leave enough time for any mechanical breakdowns to be dealt with, while still enabling riders to get home before dark or the rush hour build up of traffic.

   Consider meal arrangements, check that the establishments intend to be open and book if necessary.

   Advise riders no later than 08.00 on the day of the ride, by way of updating the WhatsApp Group and/or the Event Listing on the HoECC website if cancellation or changes are necessary due to adverse weather conditions or other factors. When considering changes due to adverse weather, Captains can delay the ride start time to avoid the worse of the expected weather; however, if there is a doubt about ride safety due to expected frost, ice, high winds or extreme heat, then the ride should be cancelled.

   Carry at least two HoECC Membership Forms, copies of which can be printed out from the HoECC website.

   Carry at least one HoECC Incident Report Form, copies of which can be printed out from the HoECC website

   At the Meet

   Riders at the meet shall all be looking out for the Captain; some riders may be new to HoECC or need some other special attention. Our advice is therefore:

   Be at the Meet in plenty of time to greet riders.

   Welcome new riders and introduce them to the group, and  identify non-HoECC Members (lapsed members will not always be easily identified without full records to hand).

   Riders under 18 are not permitted to ride with HoECC.

   Obtain relevant Runs Book and record all participants at the meet or as soon as practicable.

   Appoint a Backmarker to ensure that no one gets left behind, and check that Captain and Backmarker can communicate by mobile phone.

   Brief riders on any particular hazard expected to be encountered on the ride.

   Remind riders to leave a sufficient gap between ride groups so that other road users may overtake safely.

   If the group exceeds 11 in number, the Captain should appoint a secondary leader and backmarker and split into groups of approximately equal size.  Riders should be reminded to “single out” on busy roads and leave gaps for other road users to overtake when safe to do so.

  On the road

   Obviously when leading a group of cyclist on the road a Captain has a very important role to play. You should therefore:

   Give clear instructions to the group.

   Regulate the pace of ride to that of the slowest rider and be prepared to adjust the route accordingly.

   Indicate well in advance changes in direction or a stop.

   Check for presence of Backmarker at changes of direction.

   Highlight particular hazards to the group e.g. steep descents, very bad road surfaces.

   Avoid stopping on bends and brow of hills. When pausing during a ride stop in a safe place, preferably off road or if not somewhere that does not obstruct or hinder other road users.   

   Avoid riding through fords and deep standing water. Stop at the water and instruct riders to walk over the footbridge (at most fords) or avoid standing water.

   Require that bikes and riders are off the road, not obstructing pedestrians, when a group stops by the roadside to resolve mechanical problems and punctures.

  End of ride

   OK, you have got everyone back and you can relax! Well not quite. There are still some final tasks:

   Check new riders know their way home and arrange for relevant members to return them to the meet or a point where they are familiar.

   Pass on Runs Book to next Captain or to someone intending to attend the next ride.

   Contact the Club Secretary as a matter of urgency to advise of any incident that is being reported on a Incident Report Form.

   Send forms by scanned e-mail as soon as possible to those listed on the form.

   Send off within 5 days any completed Membership Registration Forms to the HoECC Secretary by post or scanned to e-mail.

  Finally . . .

   Leading a successful ride is generally very satisfying. You are greatly appreciated, by the riders themselves and the wider HoECC. Your focus on the small things has meant a lot.