Leading a Ride

The NER Ride Leader is the person who organizes an event, coordinates the volunteers and supplies, and generally is responsible for the day-of-event paperwork. It’s a critically important role. Ride leaders generally have the freedom to pick and tweak the route to be used and set the ride’s start time.

The below assumes a fully supported long brevet. For short (<200k) or unstaffed events the process is simplified as you normally won't have volunteers or gear to manage. Timeline of required actions: 2+ months in advance of the event:

  • If designing a new route for the event you should have the route submitted for approval about 8 weeks before the event date. If planning on using a new route make sure you have a “backup” route available in case RUSA rejects your proposed route and you do not have time to make the required changes.
  • Write up a detailed description of the event for the website, include photos if possible. Send this to the NER webmaster for posting. Verify the start time & location listed on the website is accurate.

4 weeks in advance:

  • Determine how many volunteers you will need for the event. Working with the Volunteer coordinator, line up people who can commit to helping volunteering. In the case of 400k and longer events you’ll likely need to coordinate the logistics of when control volunteers can pass off supplies to one another if the same volunteer isn’t working multiple controls.
  • Drive the route and make sure there aren’t any major changes (construction, bridge out, etc) which will require cue sheet modification.
  • Contact control locations and request permission to set up canopy or verify they are OK with initialing rider’s brevet cards. In some cases permits will be required which can add significantly more time.
  • Talk to NER’s equipment manager about what gear you’ll need for the event, if any.

14 days in advance:

  • Up to 14 days before the event the ride leader and volunteers may pre-ride the route for credit. Make sure to contact the volunteers and give them the option to pre-ride with you or at a time of their choosing should they want to be credited for riding the brevet. After this ride, modify the cue sheet & RWGPS if required and send a copy to the NER webmaster for posting to the NER site.
  • Contact NER’s President, Treasurer, or RBA to discuss picking up the paperwork needed for the event. Make sure you understand what’s included and what needs to be done — an NER official will go over this with you if it’s your first time running an event.

1-2 days in advance:

  • Review the Supplies Needed for an NER Event page.
  • Meet with the volunteers to hand off the equipment they’ll need. Make sure they understand what needs to be done, how to fill out the forms, etc.
  • Prepare the event-specific paperwork: Create brevet cards for riders. Create control check-in forms with the names of the registered riders already listed. Remember cell coverage can be spotty so having a paper backup of rider lists, etc is important.
  • Go shopping for supplies for the staffed control locations. Alternatively you can ask control volunteers to do the shopping on their way to the control location provided supermarkets will be open and the volunteer has time in the morning. If asking control volunteers to do the shopping, provide them with a detailed list of what quantity of each item to buy.
  • Create the Brevet Cards for the registered riders with the rider’s name and info printed. See the “Supplies Needed” page to help calculate quantities needed.

60-90 minutes before event start:

  • Set up the canopy if the weather is bad, otherwise just assemble a few folding tables and a chair. Place a box of zip-lock bags for brevet cards for riders to take if desired.
  • Hand riders them their brevet card and a cue sheet once they have signed the waiver. (Note: Do not leave a stack of brevet cards for riders to pick through themselves. Inevitably people take the wrong cards.)
  • If starting the ride before sunrise, verify the bikes and riders meet the safety requirements. If riders might finish after dark, ensure they have lights and the required clothing with them. Deny a brevet card to any rider which lacks the required lighting and safety gear, including a helmet.
  • If offering a bag drop, make a “drop area” (ex: your car’s trunk) for riders to drop off their LABELED bags.

A Few minutes before the event start:

Assemble the riders and give them any last minute instructions or tips they might need. Remind them to ride safe and follow the rules of the road. Let the riders go exactly at the publicized start time. (If there are many riders, send them out in groups based roughly on speed and separated by a few minutes.)

After the riders leave the start location:

  • Wait for 15-20 minutes for anyone arriving late. Riders may start up to 1 hour past the start time however we do not need to wait the full hour. (Riders who arrive after the volunteers have departed will not be part of the ride.)
  • Pack up supplies and let the volunteers know how many riders departed.
  • Note your car’s odometer reading.

During the event:

  • Often the ride leader doubles as a control volunteer.
  • Communicate frequently with the staffed controls; let them know when a rider has DNF’d, around when to expect riders based on the time they left the previous control, etc.

At the finish Location:

  • Make sure you or another volunteer will be available as the first finishers arrive.
  • As riders come in, note the time on their brevet card and in the finish control log. Remember that groups of riders finishing together get the same finishing time.
  • Make sure the rider signs the back of their card!
  • Try to have food and drinks available for finishers. Hot Pizza, cold sodas, etc. (This isn’t always possible but is always appreciated.)
  • When getting close to the time cut off, consider sending out an available volunteer to drive the route in reserve to figure out how far away the remaining riders are from the finish.

Within 24 hours after the event:

  • Clean and return the equipment to the storage shed. Please keep it neat! Let the equipment manager know if anything broke or needs replacing.
  • Make sure all the brevet cards (including pre-rider’s cards), control check-in forms, etc are in the brain.
  • Complete the reconciliation form which is included in “the brain” — you’ll need to list what was spent on expenses (include receipts) and how much was paid out to volunteers for mileage/fuel reimbursement if they requested it.
  • Send the full names of everyone who volunteered on the event to the volunteer coordinator.
  • Email the list of finishers and their finishing time to the RBA for submission to RUSA and posting on the website. Don’t forget to include volunteers who pre-rode.
  • Get some rest, you did a lot of work. Thanks for making the event a success!