Welcome to Free Group Rides

Whether you are entirely new to bicycling, a newcomer to the Puget Sound, or a seasoned local rider, Cascade’s Free Group Ride program has a ride for you!

Free Group Rides are daily rides offered year-round throughout the Puget Sound region. Ride location, length, pace, terrain, and theme vary widely - we offer ten mile city tours, twenty mile bakery runs, thirty mile island loops, hundred mile century rides, and everything in between and beyond!

Our Free Group Rides Program is pedal-powered by a cohort of 300 volunteer Ride Leaders. All rides are led by our experienced leaders. Anyone can participate in these rides for free.

How to Ride SMART

Riding SMART keeps you, other riders and the volunteers who lead rides safe. Following SMART practices also ensure that other vehicles and pedestrians can predict your actions and leave enough space to keep you safe.

Cyclists at the Fremont Troll

Expectations of ride participants

Whether you are a new or experienced cyclist, you will be expected to follow certain safety guidelines and participant expectations on Free Group Rides.

Safety expectations:

  • Pay attention to the Ride SMART safety briefing at the beginning of the ride, and follow all SMART safety guidelines during the ride.
  • Cycle in a safe and courteous manner.
  • Wear a correctly-adjusted helmet while riding.
  • Never ride with earphones or earbud(s) or bluetooth speakers.
  • Pull off the road and stop when using a cell phone.
  • Read and acknowledge the safety and liability waiver when you register for the ride and include a valid emergency contact phone number.

Other expectations:

  • Carry a pump or CO2 cartridge, spare tube, and patch kit, and know how to fix your own flat tires. Don't know how to fix a flat? Sign up for one of our basic bike maintenance classes.
  • Have an emergency plan. It’s a good idea to bring money, an ORCA card, photo ID, a charged cell phone, or whatever else you might need to get home safely in case of an incident or mechanical breakdown during the ride.
  • Arrive at the start with plenty of time to get your bicycle ready to ride. Be ready to go at the designated time in order to listen to the SMART safety briefing and route instructions, do your ABC quick check, and meet the ride leader.
  • For the group's enjoyment as well as your own, choose a ride with a pace and distance that matches your current ability.
  • Treat all of our Ride Leaders respectfully and listen to their instructions while riding. Ride Leaders volunteer their time, energy and passion to plan and lead safe, free, and fun rides every day of the year.
  • Treat your fellow riders with courtesy and respect.
  • All participants are expected to be personally responsible for their conduct and decisions while on a Cascade ride.

For new riders

If you are new to bike riding, or just returning after a long absence, don’t worry - Free Group Rides are a great way for beginner riders to:

  • Learn bike safety and rules of the road.
  • Find safe and fun routes to ride.
  • Meet people in the cycling community.

Before your first ride you DO need to:

  • Make sure you have a working bike: Take your bike to a bike shop or community bike repair organization and get it tuned up - make sure you are safe by riding a bike in good repair.
  • Buy a helmet: Wearing a properly fitted helmet while riding is a requirement on all Cascade rides and events. If you are not sure how to adjust your helmet, or how it should fit properly, ask a Ride Leader to help you at the ride start.
  • Choose a ride you feel comfortable starting with: Choose a ride that you feel confident about, and with a location you are comfortable with. If it is too easy, you can look for a faster paced ride next time, and if you can’t finish, it’s better to be in an area you are familiar with and know how to get home from.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, contact the Ride Leader: All Ride Leaders include their contact info in their ride posting. Once you have found a ride you would like to do, feel free to reach out to the Ride Leader before the ride if you have any unanswered questions or concerns.

You DON’T need to:

  • Wear spandex: Some people swear by it, but no, you don’t have to wear lycra or spandex to go on a bike ride. Wear clothes that you are comfortable moving or exercising in, layers for cold or rainy weather, and closed-toed shoes.
  • Be a fast rider or “in shape”: Biking is a great form of exercise, especially for those just starting to get more active. We offer rides of all speeds for riders of all speeds. If you are new to cycling, start out slow! The only way to get better is to start riding and keep at it.

For newcomers or visitors to the region

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest! Free Group Rides are a great way to get to know the area, and the people, better. Search our Free Group Rides by Location tag to find a ride starting near you.

For new group riders

Already an experienced cyclist, but new to group riding? Group riding has many benefits, including building community, helping you establish a training regime, and diversifying your riding routine. 

Electric Assist Bikes on Free Group Rides 

Electric assist bikes (E-bikes) are bikes that have an electric motor to provide pedal assistance to the rider. Cascade Bicycle Club promotes the use of E-bikes as they offer more mobility to many and offer a solution to Seattle's hilly topography for bike commuters. More bike commuters means more demand for safe bike infrastructure, and thus helps the club's advocacy goals. Local governments and trail organizations have varying rules for the use of E-assist bikes on streets, trails, paths and sidewalks in their jurisdictions,

Cascade Bicycle Club has adopted a policy to include most E-bikes on the majority of our Free Group Rides. You can read that policy here.

Find a ride

All Free Group Rides are posted on Cascade’s calendar. Rides are added daily so check back regularly to find a ride that works for you. Find a ride now >>

How to pick the right ride for you: Read our guide to ride classifications to determine the best ride for you.

Have any more questions? Check out our FAQ page or contact us here.

We hope to see you out on your first Free Group Ride soon!