CCC Ride Leader Guidelines
Before we get into the details, we want to say THANK YOU! The core activity of most bicycle clubs, including CCC, is group rides. But group rides could not happen without dedicated volunteer ride leaders like you.
The Role of CCC Ride Leaders
Ride leaders are volunteers who like to ride. As a ride leader, you get to decide when and where to ride, how far you will ride, and your pace. Your volunteer responsibilities (as described below) should not have a negative impact on your riding experience. In fact, being a ride leader should enhance your rides by helping to make sure that you have a fun and safe group of people to ride with.
Fundamentally, ride leaders have three roles. First, they are ambassadors for the club who do their best (within reason) to try and make sure that the riders have a good experience. This can include welcoming people who are new to your ride and trying to make sure that they have someone to ride with (assuming they can maintain the advertised pace for your ride).
Second, ride leaders serve as an administrative point of contact for CCC. That includes coordinating with CCC’s Ride Director to make sure that the Ride Director has all the information needed to maintain an accurate description of your ride in the CCC event calendar.
Third, ride leaders can help keep everyone safe by encouraging and practicing safe riding practices. From time-to-time you might remind people about the club’s “Ride Rules” which are available on the Ride Rules webpage.
Many rides leaders also do a short safety briefing (e.g., review hand signals, discuss the importance of riding predictably, etc.) at the beginning of their rides. That is a great idea.
Finally, if you observe someone who needs a little help being a safe rider, please try to assist/advise them. Most people will really appreciate the assistance/advice. If, despite your friendly attempt to provide assistance/advice, a rider continues to ride in an unsafe manner please alert the CCC board at your earliest convenience.
Ride Leader Liability
CCC’s current general liability policy defines a “club ride” as a ride that is “conducted and supervised” by CCC.
Ride leaders leading club rides have $1,000,000 of liability coverage under CCC’s current general liability policy. On top of that coverage, the policy provides defense coverage in the event that someone sues you. For more information about CCC’s current insurance coverage see the LAB Insurance Program Brochure.
Furthermore, under the Florida Volunteer Protection Act, a volunteer serving a nonprofit organization (CCC is a nonprofit) is generally immune from liability. For more information see the Florida Volunteer Protection Act Statute.
CCC also has an excess accident medical policy that covers you and all CCC members on club rides for up to $10,000 of excess (i.e., secondary to the member’s primary health insurance coverage) medical expenses.
Important Note: CCC insurance coverage only applies to club members on club rides. It does not cover ride leaders leading informal or “pick up” rides that are not sponsored by CCC. It also does not cover CCC members on non-club rides. The best way to make sure that you have insurance coverage is to make sure that your ride is being “conducted and supervised” by CCC, that the Ride Director posts your ride as a club ride in the CCC Event Calendar and that you and all of the other riders pre-register for the ride.
Limitations of Insurance Coverage
CCC’s insurance policy excludes coverage for both racing and mountain biking activities. Please do not lead any club rides that involve either racing and/or mountain biking.
Ride Leader Qualifications
Ride leaders must be members of CCC in good standing with significant riding experience and a good understanding of bike safety. Anyone with the right attitude can become a great ride leader. Most club members already qualify to be a ride leader.
If any ride leader or prospective ride leader would like additional information or safety training, they should feel free to contact CCC’s Ride Director, who will be happy to help them become a great ride leader.
“Leading” a Ride
Being a ride leader does not mean that you have to stay in the front of the group for the entire ride. Some ride leaders like to be in front of the group, especially on more casual rides. On faster rides, especially those with pacelines, the ride leader will typically rotate through the paceline like everyone else. However, where you ride in the group is your personal choice.
Ride leaders are not responsible for making sure no one gets lost. Obviously, you will want to be as helpful as possible to people who are not familiar with the route. But CCC routes are generally published along with each ride listing in the CCC Event Calendar and in the CCC RideWithGPS Route Library. It is ultimately up to each rider to know the route and to be able to get back to the ride start if they become separated from the group. Club members get a free club subscription to RWGPS so there is really no reason for anyone not to have the route on their phone or in their bike GPS.
All that said, if you are so inclined, leading “no-drop” rides from time to time (or even all the time) is encouraged. They are a great for new riders, new members, and people who just really like riding with others. Even if you don’t want the responsibility of a no-drop ride, consider structuring your rides to include periodic re-group stops.
Flats and Other Mechanicals
Obviously, we want to try to avoid ever leaving a rider stranded with a mechanical breakdown or problem. However, routine CCC group rides are not supported bike tours. Ride leaders are not responsible for changing flats or fixing broken bikes. Of course, you will want to be as helpful as possible within your skill set and taking into account any physical limitations (some tires can be very hard to remove from rims). However, all riders are ultimately responsible for their own bike and at least need to be sure that they have a mechanical kit (including a basic tool set, at least one tube, a patch kit, tire levers and an air source) on all rides. Also, keep in mind that AAA membership includes bicycle roadside service. For more information see the AAA Bicycle Service webpage.
In the event of a crash with injuries, always contact 911 immediately and request EMS support. While waiting for EMS, do whatever you can within the limits of your abilities to keep the injured rider(s) safe and comfortable. Also, please make sure that someone contacts the injured rider’s family. Finally, if an injured rider is not able to continue the ride, please make sure that someone takes care of the rider’s bike.
When planning a route, always consider safety first. We have a lot of great roads in the area but some are safer and more comfortable than others for riding. We have an extensive library of routes published in the CCC RideWithGPS Route Library. However, you should personally review any route you find in that library. Do not assume that a route is safe or comfortable just because someone posted it in the library. If you have an idea for a new route, contact the CCC Ride Director who can help you create the route in RWGPS and add it to the club route library.
Waivers of Liability (also called “releases”)
Waivers of liability (i.e., releases) are required from everyone, including members, who ride on CCC club rides. CCC members are required to sign an electronic waiver of liability when they join the club. So, we should have a waiver of liability on file for every member even if they did not specially registered for a particular ride.
CCC policy also requires that all non-members register for each ride. The registration process includes a requirement to electronic sign a waiver of liability. As a ride leader, you can see everyone who registered for a ride by clicking on the ride listing in the CCC Event Calendar. You should be able to access the event calendar on your phone.
If someone shows up on your ride that you do not know to be a member, you can check the event listing on your phone and see if they registered. If they did not, you should politely explain that club policy requires all non-members to register and ask them to take a moment to register (which includes signing an electronic waiver) on their phone. The club secretary also has paper waivers available if you want to keep a few in your car. Contact the secretary for more information. If they are resistant to registering, you can assist them in at least signing a waiver of liability by using the CCC’s website’s “quick release” feature. However, if they refuse to sign the quick release, CCC does not expect you to push the issue to the point of being uncomfortable. Rather, report the incident to the CCC board at your earliest convenience.
Please note that, while we welcome new members, at some point, people who show up regularly for club rides need to join. If you have someone who is showing up regularly on your rides but not joining the club, it would be great if you could point out the benefits of club membership to that person. The insurance alone make membership a great value, not to mention all the other benefits of CCC membership as listed on the CCC Member Benefits webpage.