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Ride Leader Guidelines

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We really appreciate your taking the time to lead a group through your favorite area. You will find that it is a lot of fun and just a little work! We want everyone who goes on the ride to have a great experience. Aside from these guidelines, be sure to observe the Evergreen MTB Alliance Website Code of Conduct.

Above all

Ride on open and legal trails only!

Before the ride

Consider whether the trails are in ridable condition. Taking a group on wet, soggy, muddy trails can do real damage. In rainy weeks, please pick appropriate places to ride.

Print a copy of the sign up sheet from the web calendar

  • The ride leader should arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the stated meeting time.
  • Encourage riders to come prepared and be ready to leave by the posted ride time.

Ride leader preparation

  • Carry a small first aid kit containing bandages, aspirin, gauze and Neosporin.
  • Ride leader should wear appropriate clothes for conditions and ALWAYS a helmet.
  • Ride leader should know the route unless the ride is advertised as exploratory.

At the trailhead

  • Introduce yourself as the ride leader
  • Bring a copy of the ride sheet and have riders sign in.
  • Keep the ride sheet on you where someone else will be able to find it if necessary.
  • Allow a 5 to 10 minute grace period, then assemble the riders and outline the expectations:
    • If someone exits from the ride, they MUST tell someone (preferably ride leader).
    • Give an estimate of the length of the ride.
    • All riders MUST wear helmets. NO exceptions.
    • Announce regrouping points and bailout points if applicable.
    • State proper trail etiquette, including brief recap of IMBA rules of the trail.
    • Make sure riders have proper supplies. Use your discretion – if a rider is very unprepared (e.g.: very little food and water, inadequate clothing) for an epic backcountry ride, you may have to turn the rider away.
  • Hand out maps if appropriate.
  • Count number of riders.
  • If it’s a large group request a volunteer “sweep”.

On the ride

  • Before you start each section, establish the next regrouping point.
  • Be aware of how many are ahead of you and how many are behind.
  • At breaks consult maps with the group, if appropriate or available.
  • Watch for stragglers and make sure to keep them with the group.
  • Manage the group pace to finish the ride within your expected time frames.
  • After breaks make sure everyone is ready to go before getting back in the saddle.

Back at the trailhead

  • At the end of the ride, wait for everyone to finish before you leave.
  • Remember to thank them for coming.

Post ride wrap up

  • Please complete the ride sheet and send it to the rides coordinator.
  • If you have time and creative energy, please post a ride report!


  • Beginners belong on beginner rides. If someone cannot keep up, be ready to send that person back or have them use a safe bail out point, if there is one. It's better to send them back early in the ride than to find out 20 miles out that they cannot finish.
  • At the start of a long ride the ride leader(or the assistant) should evaluate the group and turn back anyone who is not up to the distance or technical difficulty of the ride. This might be difficult, but much safer for the ride and the rest of the group.

Unconventional or exploratory rides

It is OK to lead an exploratory ride or a “you’re on your own ride” as long as it is clearly advertised as such.

Example of exploratory ride: You want to check out a new area, you would like some company. You post a ride on the calendar and clearly state “I have not ridden here before, expect possible hike a bike, route finding and post-dark return to the car.” 

Example of “You’re on your own” ride: You plan to go do a hard fast ride and think others might enjoy it. You post a ride on the calendar and clearly state “I will be there, but will not have maps and will not be regrouping. This is for independent riders who want to share a great trail. Possible post ride beers and food, campout, etc.”