Five Steps Pertaining to Pre-Ride and the Ride Day 

1. Pre-Ride Preparation-before leaving for the ride

  • Read the Ride Leader Guidelines on the NSC Ride Leader Information page and review the What to Bring List.
  • For Sunday Ride Leaders: Send a reminder email to on Thursday night or Friday - note that if the weather is uncertain riders should check their email Saturday night or Sunday morning for the final call.  Use the template from previous rides and add information if you wish.  Be sure to provide the website ride page link for the details.
  • For Recurring (weekday and Saturday) Ride Leaders: If the weather is clear a reminder email to is optional.  If the weather is uncertain keep the members informed via email to  If you know the weather won't be suitable for riding you can cancel either the night before or the morning of the ride.  If it's in doubt during the day you can wait until up to an hour or two before start time to make the final call.
  • For guidance on Cancelling a ride go here. Use good judgement and err on the side of caution. Feel free to consult one of the officers or the ride coordinator.  DO NOT CALL IT A SHOW AND GO
  • Feel free to also publicize your ride on the NSC FaceBook page.
  • Be sure to have the the Non-Member Sign-In Waiver Form (for non-members)
  • Also be sure you have sufficient cue sheets available for each route.  We have a lot of new riders, some of whom do not have navigation.
  • Formulate your pre-ride speech ahead of time so you know what you are going to say.
  • Be sure sufficient parking is available. If necessary be prepared to designate someone to direct riders as to where to park.
  • Be familiar with What To Do In An Emergency
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2. Pre-Ride Preparation-upon arriving at the start

  • Arrive early to coordinate pre-ride activities.
  • Be available to answer questions about the ride, mileage, food, etc.
  • Be sure cue sheets are handed out by yourself or an assistant. When handing out cue sheets ask if the rider is a member and if not get them to sign the waiver.
  • If it is not obvious that a rider will be wearing a helmet, tell them the NSC requires helmets.
  • Make sure every non-member signs the non-member waiver.  Non-members are allowed one ride as a non-member.
  • Make your best effort to identify riders who do not have someone to ride with and wish to ride with someone.
  • Gather the group just before ride time, remind them briefly of basic safety guidelines (see below)
  • When faced with a large crowd (primarily Sundays) it will help to split the group based on the distance people are planning to ride and have an experienced rider assist in getting riders signed in and a separate safety talk.
  • Standing on a step stool / ladder will help you gain control of the audience.
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3. Provide a pre-ride speech suggestion. This has to be short but effective.

  • Introduction: Introduce yourself and welcome everyone on behalf of NSC.
  • Call for non-members: "Is anyone not a member of NSC. Please come forward and sign a waiver form."
  • Safety Talk: Reinforce safety issues. Where applicable, cite any known safety issues on the ride. Reinforce the following safe riding principals:
    • Obey all vehicle laws.
    • Pay attention to road conditions, traffic, and other riders.
    • Signal intentions verbally and with hand signals - this includes: turns, slowing, stopping, holes and other road hazards.
    • Call out "on your left" when passing - this is important to make sure the person in front does not pull out in front of passing cyclists
  • Ride Information: Briefly describe the ride. Remember only a few points can be retained so make them count.
    • Indicate major points of interest
    • Indicate major problem areas with reference to mileage.
    • Indicate the mileage for splits
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4. Ride Start

  • If the group is small, announce the start and let riders filter out, faster riders first
  • If the group is large, stagger the start to avoid congestion. Release groups by distance, with the long going first. Allow several minutes between groups.
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5. After the Ride


  • Offer snacks, dinks and a social gathering (Optional but highly recommended)
  • Note any feedback regarding the route, cues, or any safety issues.
  • Try to account for the riders that started by checking for empty cars in the parking area. Ask the later riders who arrive if they know of someone still riding. If you are aware that a rider remains out much longer than expected recruit help from other riders and backtrack partway by car.  However, be aware that a missing rider may have deviated from the route or stopped as a shop for food or bathroom.  
  • Police the area for litter and trash after most of the riders have returned.


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Cancelling a Ride


Weather issues are the main reasons to cancel rides.  Over a 40% chance of rain during the ride time (not just during the day) is a general guideline for cancelling.  Roads must be dry at the start of the ride so allow time for them to dry after an early morning shower.  Wind, cold and snow are also an important part of the equation.  It is important that the ride leader feel comfortable leading the ride under the predicted weather conditions.

If the reasons are personal please try to find a substitute ride leader for your ride.  The best bet for a substitute for a recurring ride is a regular rider of your recurring ride. If none is found reach out to the ride coordinators for assistance.  If time does not provide for these suggestions then Cancel the ride.


WEBSITE – The ride cancellation is to be displayed on the home page and ride page of the NSC website. Each ride leader has access to their ride through their “My Account” page.  After signing into your My Account page you will see links at the top of that page starting with Member Info.  Clicking on My Rides will display your rides as ride leader.  Clicking the ride you wish to cancel will bring you to the ride page with the Edit title highlighted.  In the Basic Info tab right below the Ride Name you will see Cancel.  Check that box and Save at the bottom of the page.  Your ride will display as Cancelled on the homepage and the ride page.


EMAIL - Sending an email through the listserv noting cancellation within two hours of the start time is the NSC guideline. Be very clear to say the Ride is cancelled in the title and as the first line of the email.  Then you can give the reasons if you wish. 


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Ride Announcement Email Requirements and Template

The ride announcement email should include the following information, at a minimum.  Feel free to promote your ride in your email and on the ride page noting sights and stops and other features.  The email is sent to NSC@NSCYC.orgfrom the email address that you receive ride announcements to.The bold words below are what to include. The italicized words are for the Saturday Fitness Ride used in this template as a sample email announcement:

[Subject Line]  Saturday Fitness Ride Tomorrow 10:00 AM

Fellow Riders,

[Ride Name, Date/time location] The Saturday Fitness Ride is tomorrow, 10:00 a.m. at Masconomet High School in Boxford

[Include the link to the ride page]  Please review the ride details, routes and download the current RWGPS files using this link:

[Enter a brief description of the ride] This classic and scenic NSC ride through the back roads of Essex County is a great way to start your weekend.

[Weather details]  Plan on cloudy skies and chilly temperatures ranging within a degree or two of 50.

[The ride-leader is responsible for the ride page content that should include non-changing feature of the ride. Any ride specific details not included on the ride description page should be in the email. This may include: Where can I get food/water during the ride?  Where are the bathrooms?  Are there refreshments after the ride?  Safety concerns such as a steep descent into a stop sign.  

Plan to include them in the pre-ride safety talk.

If these are non-changing features of the ride, it is best to add to the NSC ride page and the GPS cues.]

[It’s your option to include]Non-members are welcome to ride one ride and are required to sign a waiver. A second ride requires membership in NSC.

[If deemed relevant, include line stating “any change or cancellation will be emailed no later than 2 hours before a ride start time”]If anything changes, such as a time change or cancellation,   an email noting the change or cancellation will be sent Saturday morning by 8:00 AM.

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NSC Sample Pre-Ride Talk Script for Ride Leaders

Before we start the ride today, I’d like to have your attention for a couple of minutes to remind you of some general safety issues and go over a few points specific to today’s ride.

These recommendations apply to ALL riders, so please listen up!

  • Is everyone a current NSC Member? Introduce new riders.
  • Does everyone have a helmet? (Required).
  • Ride in a straight line and always single file on the busier roads.  If you ride double on a back road please be aware of vehicles behind you. This works much better if you have a mirror. We strongly encourage you to get use a mirror-they are cheap. Do not ride three abreast.
  • Signal your moves including left turns (demonstrate) - left arm extended, elbow straight, left hand pointing left), right turns (left arm extended, elbow bent, left hand pointing up) slowing and stopping (left arm extended, elbow bent, with left hand pointing down - right arm also is acceptable)
  • Call out and point (demonstrate) to major potholes, rough roads and obstacles such as glass, rocks, gravel, sand, or large branches.  Don’t overdo it. Please do not call out every crack in the road or obstacles that don’t actually protrude into the road.
  • Pass on the left only and call out “on your left.” First check traffic and bikes behind you, then signal.
  • Call “car back” on less traveled roads where there is not much traffic or when another rider is passing and not aware of the approaching vehicle. Don’t overuse it – not necessary to call out every car on busier roads where there is a steady stream of traffic.
  • Call “car up” to indicate an oncoming car of concern.
  • Call "walker up" to alert the riders of walkers in or near line of travel
  • Pass calls and signals on to fellow riders ahead or behind.
  • Single up AS SOON AS you hear “car back.” Usually the rider on the left scoots ahead but that needs to be coordinated with fellow riders.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs, and observe yield signs. Try to make eye contact with drivers entering the intersection.
  • Don’t block vehicle traffic when you  stop to regroup and wait for other riders.
  • Allow safe distance to the rider in front of you and don’t overlap wheels.  Allow more distance on hills.
  • Don’t talk on your cellphone or wear earbuds while riding.
  • Avoid unannounced moves or braking when leading a group of riders. Look ahead and choose a smooth line because riders will follow your path. Allow gaps in long pace lines so that vehicles can get by.
  • Do not ride up on the right of riders without informing them, even if there is lots of room because they are further to the left than usual.
  • Please let me know of any accidents or route issues after the ride.

Two words sum it up: Be predictable!!


Thanks for listening and now for a few specifics for today’s ride….

Examples of some ride-specific info (take note ahead of time for your talk):

-Riding through Gloucester - Allow adequate space for parked cars opening a door.

-Mention any high road edge drop-offs.

-If bad RR tracks – cross them at a right angle if possible.

Winter rides –mention if conditions might be icy, sandy, or high crosswind.

If using a bike path - slow down, keep right, yield to pedestrians, let them know you’re coming up behind with “on your left” or  “coming through”).

-Roads or trails that might have horses – let the rider know if coming up behind, give them plenty of time to get control of their animal, check that the oncoming lane is clear, stop or cut a wide berth around them

-Suggested stops for food stop or bathroom breaks (ideally should be included on cue sheets or ride description).

-Mention snacksor social gathering afterwards.

-Any questions?

-Ask who is doing which route?

-Release riders by route distance(unless a large number are doing the same route – then release faster riders first.)

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Shortened Safety Talk

Could I have your attention please so we can review a few safety rules and recommendations for the ride today?  These rules and recommendations apply to ALL riders.

Today’s ride ambassador is: _______________________________.  Please see this person to sign our waiver if you are not an NSC member, ask questions about the ride or to find an appropriate riding partner or group.

  • You must wear a helmet.
  • We recommend you have a mirror, bright clothes and lights on the front and back of your bike.
  • Ride in a straight line and single file on busy roads.
  • Signal and call out your moves (L, R, slowing, stopping).
  • Call out and point out large road hazards.
  • Pass on the left and say “on your left” as you do.
  • Call car back in quieter areas.
  • Stop at traffic signals such as traffic lights and stop signs. Make eye-contact with drivers at intersections.
  • Be aware that riders sometimes stop to regroup.  If you do this be careful to not block the roadway.
  • Occasionally, groups form pace lines.  If you are not familiar with pace line riding, ask someone in your group about the etiquette or drop out of the pace line.
  • Allow a safe distance between you and the rider in front of you.
  • You are not allowed to use a cell phone or ear buds while your bike is in motion on a NSC ride.
  • If you are leading a group, choose the smoothest path as others will follow your line.
  • If there is an emergency call 911 but if you need help otherwise ask another rider for assistance or contact the ride leader.

Most important : Be predictable.

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Things Ride Leaders Should Bring to the Ride

Personal gear:

  • Check your tool kit, spare tubes and minipump / CO2 to make sure they’re still good.    



  •  Safety Talk or main points to cover
  •  Brief notes on ride specifics (e.g., food stop/ restroom / regrouping points, what mile route splits, any weather or safety concerns, after-ride snacks or social, introduce new riders


  • Floor pump at ride start 
  • Post-ride snacks, water and drinks for the riders
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels or wipes
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