We have become aware, by questions asked by Branches and members, that Branch rides can be both a pleasure and a source of discontent. The Guidebook for Members (version 6 will soon be available) and it has detailed information about Branch and group rides, however here are some reminders, tips and advice.
Many of us join the Ulysses Club for the sense of belonging and sharing of our experiences. All of us have different riding experiences and it is important that branch leaders recognise the differing abilities that each participant enjoys.
It does not hurt to think about how your rides are structured and to ensure you are offering rides for all levels of riders who come along to join in.
A good and competent ride leader will be able to recognise varying skill abilities and make adjustments that are appropriate.
Here are some of the options available to Branches:
1. Selecting some competent riders to watch over each ride group. Breaking the group up to deal with all levels of competence.
2. Grading rides so that potential participants know whether the ride is suited to their skills, experience level and mode of transport. Members need to be reminded that the safety of all member's is always the prime consideration whenever planning, leading or taking part in an organised ride.
3. Rides on weekends may vary from midweek rides depending on skill level.
4. Branches may want to consider differing times, routes and guidelines for each group.
5. Communication is key - advice may be offered to riders joining the Branch Ride for the first time to ensure they understand the group dynamic. Branches may consider appointing a "rider's friend” to look after the new person/s. That person should ride with the new rider/member and make sure they are introduced around until the new rider/member is comfortable with the group
6. Differing start times may work. This should allow for the more sedate vs those that need to get there.
7. Group rides can seem too formalised but regular interaction with members can determine whether there is too little or too much.
8. Encourage everyone to ride within their limitations and express themselves if they are having a problem.
9. Encourage training!!! Let's repeat that - encourage training!
10. Ride single file, buffering and maintaining crash avoidance space. (If you do not understand those terms refer to no. 9)
11. Change the ride leaders so that new ideas are introduced and debrief the ride event to work out what worked and what did not.
If you have any specific issue with your Branch rides, please contact me and I will seek advice on your behalf from the Road Safety Committee members, or ask the State representative to contact you to assist.
The Road Safety Committee members welcome the return of Shaun Lennard who is now the Victorian representative, as well as Jim Beck from Queensland.
Jennifer Woods #21395