Become a Ride Leader!

Becoming a Ride Leader

Ride Leaders are the heart and soul of our Rides Program. Close to 300 volunteer Ride Leaders keep Cascade's calendar filled with amazing rides and keep the Free Group Rides program free of cost to all those wishing to join in on the fun! If you have an idea for a new route, are interested in helping others ride, or don't see your favorite rides listed, consider joining our team. For a full outline on what it means to be a Cascade Ride Leader please see the Ride Leader Guidelines.

How to become a ride leader

We are excited you want to join our wonderful community of Ride Leaders. Listed below are the steps involved in becoming a Cascade Ride Leader. If you have any questions or concerns along the way, please get in touch with us.

Become a Premium or Champion Level Member

To become Ride Leader you must be a premium or champion level member of Cascade Bicycle Club. If you are not currently a premium member you can become one here.

Participate in at least five Free Group Rides

Participating in al least five Free Group Rides prior to applying for Ride Leader status is a requirement. The five rides cannot include event rides such as STP or RSVP, training series such as CTS, Policy Rides, or self-paced rides such as Winter Training Series. The idea is to have potential candidates experience a diversity of rides, directly observe Ride Leaders in action on a Free Group Ride, and get the chance to talk to Ride Leaders about their experiences. 

Attend a Ride Leader Certification class

After you have participated in at least five Free Group Rides and made sure that you currently have a Cascade Premium or Champion level membership you are invited to enroll in our free Ride Leader certification class. This is a 1.5 hour reoccurring tutorial taught by experienced Ride Leaders about once a month. This tutorial will cover Cascade’s Free Group Ride policies, how to plan a ride, how to write and submit ride postings to Cascade’s calendar, best practices to lead a safe and fun ride and much more. A mentor will be assigned to you based on your pace preference and geographic location to help you through your first few ride postings. You will also receive the paperwork and waivers you will need to lead your rides as well as materials on general bicycle safety.

Questions? Email our Volunteer Ride Leader Certification Coordinator.

To find the next Ride Leader Certification class, Check the Cascade calendar for the next scheduled training >>

Complete two mentored rides

The last step in becoming a Ride Leader is to successfully lead two Free Group Rides with a Ride Leader mentor. Mentors are experienced Ride Leaders who can guide you in planning and executing your mentored rides. A list of Ride Leader mentors and their contact information is provided at the Ride Leader certification class.

Mentored rides should reflect the type of rides you plan to post as a Ride Leader. Choose two mentored rides that reflect the pace and riding distance that you are comfortable with. It is also beneficial to chose a mentored ride that is located in the regional area in which you will be posting rides. Mentors will help you select or create a ride that reflects thee factors.

In addition to being a mentored ride, your two test rides should: 

  • Be at least two hours long
  • Have at least six people present, including the Ride Leader candidate and mentor.

You will be evaluated on all steps of ride preparation and leading your mentored ride using the criteria below. Important aspects to leading a successful ride include:

  • Pre-riding or pre-driving the route you plan to use for your ride.
  • Noting any errors or areas of concern with the route and sharing them with your mentor before the ride.
  • Bringing all necessary forms (liability waiver, Ride Leader candidate evaluation form, incident report and witness forms), a pen or pencil, and the tools and equipment required to change a flat on your bike.
  • Arriving at least 20 minutes early at the start location.
  • Making sure that all participants have pre-registered or signed the waiver correctly and legibly bfore the ride. 
  • Checking that all participants are wearing correctly fitted helmets.
  • Briefing ride participants on the ride plan and SMART safety guidelines.
  • Following all rules of the road, practicing safe riding skills, keeping the advertised pace, and handling any safety issues or incidents that arise while leading and sweeping for at least a quarter of the ride each.
  • Interacting with riders in a friendly and professional manner and following the Ride Leader Code of Conduct.

After your mentored ride, be sure to check in with your mentor for feedback and suggestions for future rides. Mentored rides are a great opportunity to build your capacity and confidence as a Ride Leader.

Congratulations!

Once you complete all of the steps above, you will become an official Cascade Ride Leader! There are many benefits to being a Ride Leader, including earning Ride Leader jerseys; accumulating incentive points that can be used to register for major club rides or membership renewal; attending our dinner and happy hour meetings each quarter; helping to expand the bicycling community; and, most importantly, improving lives through bicycling. 

Your First Ride Leader Jersey

Ride Leaders are recognized for their time and effort support the club at the annual volunteer recognition party, and through awards and incentives that vary from year to year. One such award is a complimentary Ride Leader jersey given to new Ride Leaders by the club after they have posted and led a minimum of three rides and have served as an active Ride Leader for a minimum of three months. There is an expectation that newly qualified Ride Leaders will lead at least six rides per year.