Become a ride leader

Becoming a ride leader

Ride leaders are the heart and soul of our rides program. Our 300+ ride leaders keep the Free Group Rides program free of cost and our calendar filled with great rides throughout the year. We welcome you to join the ranks! If you have an idea for a new ride, are interested in helping others ride, or don't see your favorite rides listed, consider joining our leaders' team.

How to become a ride leader

Welcome! We are so excited you want to join our wonderful team of ride leaders. 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 Member

To become ride leader you must be a member of Cascade Bicycle Club. If you are not a member you can become one here.

Participate in at least five free group rides

If you are interested in becoming a ride leader we encourage you to explore some of the different ride types and varying ride leading styles that Cascade’s Free Group ride program offers. Potential ride leader candidates must have participated in at least five Cascade Free Group Rides (major rides such as STP, Chilly Hilly, CTS or Policy Rides do not count) before attending a Ride Leader Certification Class.

Attend a Ride Leader Certification class

Participated in at least five Free Group Rides? Got a Cascade Membership? You’re ready to enroll in our free Ride Leader Certification Class. This is a three hour, sit-down class taught by experienced Ride Leaders. This course will cover Cascade’s Free Group Ride policies, how to plan a ride, how to write and submit ride postings on Cascade’s calendar, best practices to lead a safe and fun ride and much more. You will also receive all the forms you need to lead your first couple rides and materials on general bicycle safety.

Questions? Email our Volunteer Ride Leader Certification Coordinator.

Check the Cascade calendar for the next scheduled training >>

Upcoming Ride Leader Certification classes:

Saturday, Sept. 24, 3:30-6 p.m. at Cascade Bicycle Club
Tuesday, Oct. 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Cascade Bicycle Club
Saturday, Dec. 3, 3:30-5:30 p.m. at Cascade Bicycle Club

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. Ride Leader Mentors are experienced and dedicated Ride Leaders who can guide you in planning and executing your mentored rides. A list of Ride Leader Mentors and their contact info is provided at the Ride Leader Certification Class.

Mentored rides should reflect the type of rides you plan to lead as a ride leader. Choose a mentored ride at the pace(s) you plan to lead in, and with a distance and starting location similar to what you plan to lead. Most Ride Leader Mentors will help you select or create a ride that reflects your intentions as Ride Leader. Further, to qualify a Ride Leader candidate, mentored rides must:

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

After you have found a mentor and chosen a route, you will be evaluated on all steps of ride preparation and leading 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 Ride Leader Mentor before the ride.
  • Bringing all necessary forms (liability waiver, ride leader candidate evaluation form, incident and witness form), a pen or pencil, and necessities to change a flat on your bike to the start of the ride.
  • Arriving at least 20 minutes early to the ride start location.
  • Ensuring that all participants sign the waiver correctly and legibly at the ride start.
  • 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 the finishing your mentored ride, be sure to check in with your Ride Leader 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 successfully complete all of the steps above, you will become an official Cascade Ride Leader! There are many benefits to being a Ride Leader with Cascade, including earning clothing and ride passes through our incentives program, attending our quarterly dinner meetings as a member of our Ride Leader community, growing the cycling community and, most importantly, improving lives through bicycling. We welcome you to the team.

Ride Leader awards and incentives

Ride leaders are recognized for their essential services at the annual volunteer recognition party, and through awards and incentives that vary from year to year. 

Ride leaders are awarded a jersey after they have led six rides and promise to lead six more over the next year. Only two rides per month count toward the award tally, meaning it takes a minimum of three months consecutive leading to earn a new ride leader jersey.

In addition to the awards, there is an incentives program which awards entry to Cascade events and ride leader clothing items to encourage and thank ride leaders. Ride leaders also meet quarterly for an all-expenses-paid dinner.