by Martine Palmiter
So, here is the proposition for all my fellow cyclists and club members: Can you lead one ride a year? Can you post one cue sheet a year? If everyone did this, our Club would have a great quantity of diverse and fun rides to choose from. There would be more rides in MD, DC and VA―at all levels. There would be short trail rides for beginners, social rides that end with a brewpub or sandwich shop, there would be 6 am “midweek/before work” rides to catch the good weather, there would be a night rides, city rides, or overnight touring rides! We need ride leaders of all ages and abilities. The Club needs you, really!
Why would any cyclist want to lead a Potomac Pedalers ride? Maybe to earn the really cool Potomac Pedalers Ride Leader jersey? Perhaps—and the reality is that you need to pick a route, send it in for posting on the website, prepare a cue sheet, introduce yourself at the ride start to other cyclists and newcomers , go over safety rules, and arrive early for the ride start. It seems like a lot to do. And that is the most difficult part…the best part of leading a ride is you also get to meet new people (who will thank and appreciate you for leading a ride), pick and share routes you love, increase your biking social network, get out more often on rides, learn leadership skills, and still have a blast!
Okay. How do you do this? Lead the first ride with a co-leader! Ask a friend or contact the ride coordinators in your ride class and ask for names of possible co-leaders or mentor to help train you or share the ride. Weekend rides are most popular but if you can do midweek only, go for it! Cyclists are a friendly and helpful bunch! If you have never led a ride before, we invite you to try it.
What happens if you are a new Pedalers rider and/or new cyclist? Can you lead a ride? Yes!!—I started leading rides because I wanted to be a better rider, wanted to do winter riding, and wanted to meet other cyclists in my ride class. I did learn a few things as I went along and made a few mistakes but cyclists are a forgiving bunch. I posted a few C level January rides in Brookeville by taking a cue sheet from the library, but never having tested it called it “mildly hilly” and posted it. A crowd showed up! The ride ended up being very hilly and challenging for the C riders (who all chided me about the mild hills) but it all worked out. The experienced B riders showed up, knowing it was a hilly ride, and blasted off ahead of me and I never did see them again, but the C riders and I huffed and puffed up the hills and made it!!! We cheered over a beer at the local BBQ joint after the ride. Fun time and many new friends made. I will never forget one comment: “you are the best ride leader ever!” That kept me encouraged to lead more. I learned another lesson—I planned a ride leaving after lunch in the winter, because it was warmer of course—but not realizing the sun was setting as we neared the end of our ride. However, again, fellow riders were so encouraging and thanked me for posting and leading a ride. And it was fun!
Proposition Two. Can everyone commit to posting one cue sheet a year? Do you have one route you love that you can share with the Club, to post for all members? It may encourage others to lead rides. If everyone can post just one a year, and submit it to Erik Pilsk, our Cue Sheet Librarian, and he will post it up on the website. Having cue sheets available helps others want to lead rides. The more Ride Leaders we have, the more exciting rides we’ll have, the more networking, and the more diverse rides that will be offered. Give it a try!
Want to lead a ride but not sure what to do? We can pair you with a Ride Leader Mentor or someone to co-lead a ride with you. Contact Martine Palmiter or Linda Kolko for details.