Notes for leaders and backmarkers including checklist for leaders
Checklist for Leaders – Revised January 2020
This checklist is designed as a summary of the Notes for Leaders and Backmarkers. It includes links to the relevant paragraph in the Notes
Before the ride
a) Devise a suitable route (distance and pace).
b) Publicise the route on the Winchester CTC Google Group if coffee and lunch destinations not in programme - include a gpx if you have one.
c) Take a copy of route or list of key locations to give to the backmarker.
More Info “Route”
a) Contact coffee stop & lunch stop if appropriate giving approximate number of riders and time.
More Info “Refreshment stops”
a) Check weather forecast and act accordingly.
More Info “Route revisions/cancellation”
On the day
At the start
a) Appoint a backmarker and advise him/her of route. Exchange mobile phone numbers.
b) Welcome new riders and take contact details.
c) Introduce yourself and backmarker to group and explain ride format.
d) If Group size exceeds 12 – 15, split into two groups with a leader in each group, and split into smaller groups when leaving Winchester.
More Info “At the start”
On the ride
a) You do not have to be at the very front of the group.
b) Lead the ride at the advertised pace.
c) Mechanical problems: Ask other riders for help if necessary. More Info “Punctures/mechanical problems”.
d) Towards end of ride ensure that everyone knows how to get back into Winchester. More Info “End of the ride”.
After the ride
More Info “After the ride”
Winchester CTC – Notes for leaders and backmarkers
How to become a ride leader: If you wish to lead rides for Winchester CTC, you must be a Cycling UK member and registered as a volunteer leader. Your coordinator will ask the Winchester CTC Secretary to register you with Cycling UK, so that you have the additional organisers’ liability cover. For more information on organisers’ liability cover, see Cycling UK website
Ride leader training: We regularly run ride leader workshops. Speak to your coordinator if you have not attended one or would like a refresher. In addition, many leaders will willingly share their knowledge and act as a mentor.
Leaders’ Google Group: This group is used for swaps and general issues relating to leading rides. Please check with your coordinator that your name has been added.
Before the ride
Route: Devise a route suitable in distance and difficulty (see “Our Rides” for approximate distances and speeds for each type of ride). Wherever possible use minor roads and avoid complicated junctions, although it may be necessary to use short sections of main roads. Mapping tools such as Plotaroute and Strava can be helpful but are not essential.
Route library: There is a route library on the Winchester CTC website. Other leaders will also be happy to help you work out a route.
Refreshment stops: These are an integral part of the rides. Check that the chosen stops are open and can accommodate the likely numbers. A list of suitable cafés in south Hampshire can be found here. Ring the café or pub from the start if the numbers on the day are significantly different to your booking. On Sunday rides, please liaise with other groups using the same venue.
Notifying the group: If you are a member of the Winchester CTC Google Group, send an email to the Group with the route information in advance of the ride, including a gpx if available and/or link to the route on a mapping tool. This email is re-posted on Facebook, so do not include personal information. It can be helpful to have an extra paper copy of the route available on the day for backmarkers.
Route revisions: When there is ice or snow it may be necessary to modify your route. Often the roads are only icy early morning. See the Hampshire Gritted Roads map for roads that are usually gritted. The roads shown in red are usually gritted and so can be used at the start of rides (ignore the blue routes).
Cancellation of rides: You may decide to cancel a ride, e.g. when poor weather makes riding dangerous. It is your decision whether to cancel or not but if you do, please communicate this decision to riders, as follows:
- If you are members of other groups associated with Winchester CTC, e.g. WhatsApp, circulate to these groups.
- If the roads allow it, go to the start at the appointed time in case a rider has not picked up the message. If you live out of Winchester, you can probably get a volunteer to do this for you.
Organising the group: Make sure that riders and/or bikes do not cause an obstruction at the meet point. Appoint a backmarker - if possible a registered leader. Exchange mobile phone numbers. Make sure the backmarker knows the route, including the location of refreshment stops and ideally give them a map. Introduce yourself and the backmarker to riders and explain briefly where the ride is going. On Sunday and Wednesday rides, we have 2 and in some cases 3 groups starting from the same venue. Liaise with the other leader(s) so that you know who is in your group. When you are about to leave with your group, say clearly which group is about to move.
Group size: If the group is 12 – 15 or larger, we recommend splitting the ride into smaller groups. Ask someone to lead and back mark each sub-group (where possible a registered leader). See also “Large Groups”
New riders: If there are newcomers, welcome them to the group. Try to ascertain their group-cycling experience and introduce them to a few members who can “help” them on the ride. Non-members are allowed to ride with us for 3 rides before joining. Please ask new riders for contact details. Your coordinator can provide Winchester CTC business cards which include space for contact details. After the ride send the information to the Secretary.
Children on rides: We welcome children on our led rides. All children under 18 must have a signed parental consent form (available from the Secretary). Children aged 13 – 17 may ride unaccompanied if they have completed two rides accompanied by a responsible adult acting in loco parentis (during these two rides, the adult remains responsible for the child). There is no lower age limit if accompanied by a responsible adult acting in loco parentis but a signed parental consent form is still needed.
We occasionally agree to look after a child whose parent or guardian is known to us and we know the capabilities of the child. In this case, an individual rider agrees to act as the responsible adult. This must be agreed in advance.
On the road
Rider guidance: All riders must follow the Rider Guidance designed to maximise the safety of groups. Refer riders to the guidance if they do not ride considerately. If they continue to ignore the guidance, you may ask them to leave the ride.
Large groups: Large groups can frustrate motorists. It is best to split into groups of 4 or 5 when leaving town or on busy roads, with 4 – 5 cars length between each group. Ensure each group is led by someone who knows the route and where the group will re-join. N.B: If the group is 12 – 15 or larger, it should also be split for the whole ride.
Riders who cannot manage the pace: If it is obvious from the outset that a rider cannot manage the pace, you or the backmarker may suggest that they return to Winchester whilst still on familiar roads. Encourage them to try one of our slower rides. Once out on the ride, it may be possible for another leader to take slower riders on a short cut. We do not leave riders behind but working with other leaders, this situation can usually be handled.
Leader’s riding position: This is up to you but you may find it easier to lead near but not at the front of the group.
Signals: Convey information using hand and verbal signals. See website for a list of recognised signals. Give clear instructions when approaching major roads, roundabouts, fords etc. Riders take individual responsibility at junctions but you may give guidance such as “clear” or “stop, car from left”. Establish eye contact with drivers waiting at or approaching the junction to encourage them to give way. If the group has to split at a junction, wait somewhere safe to reassemble.
Horses: Make sure that riders follow the instructions in the Rider Guidance on how to approach horses <link> (to Riding Guidance
Singling up: The Riding Guidance has information on singling up when road and/or traffic conditions dictate, and where safe to do so. This instruction may come from the leader or it may come from someone else in the group who is aware of what is happening behind the group. <link to Riding Guidance
Stopping the group: If you need to stop the group, e.g. to check the route or to regroup, stop where it is safe for the entire group to do so, avoiding road junctions, bends and other road hazards. Warn riders before stopping and keep the carriageway clear.
Punctures/mechanical problems: The leader is not responsible for roadside repairs. All riders are advised to carry at least a spare tube, tyre levers and pump. Allen keys and multi-tools are also useful. Only undertake repairs where it is safe to do so, away from junctions or bends. If the problem can be dealt with quickly, you may decide to keep the group together. In other cases, it is better to split the group and several riders (ideally including another leader) should wait and help the rider sort the problem. Exchange phone numbers and ensure that they know the route.
Keeping the group together: When the route deviates from “ahead” at a junction, it may be preferable to ask a rider to wait for slower riders and link up with the backmarker if necessary, rather than stop the entire group. This keeps the group moving. If the ride has spread out, either slow the ride down or allow the riders to re-group. When re-grouping, ensure that you allow time for the slower riders to have a drink and adjust clothing before moving off again.
Accident/medical problem: In the event of an accident/medical problem, make sure that the scene is safe and that other traffic is aware that something has happened. Call an ambulance if necessary. Avoid moving the rider. If another vehicle is involved and an injury has occurred, call the police. You may split the group and either nominate a leader to take the group going on or ask some experienced riders to remain with the injured/sick rider. Exchange mobile phone numbers.
End of the ride: Towards the end of the ride, make sure that everyone in the group knows where the ride ends. Usually, riders will go their own way on reaching the city boundary, but check everyone knows how to get home from where they are.
Occasionally, if the weather deteriorates in the last few miles of a ride, some riders want to speed up to get home, whilst others prefer to go more slowly. In this case, stop the group and explain the options. Each group should have a leader who knows the route and no one should ride alone. As leader, your primary responsibility is to the slower group.