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Brenda Bettencourt | Director, Bike

NEW 2017: Guidelines for leading GGTC bike rides for Board Members and Ambassador Team.

When leading a bike ride for the club, remember that our main objective is to ensure everyone completes the ride safely and has fun. This isn’t the time to plan on meeting specific training goals in your personal plan. It is also important to know who is on the ride (get a head count) and share contact information (such as your cell number) in the case of an emergency.

These are new guidelines and common terms to be used when posting rides:


These are guidelines and obviously, speed will diminish with the number of climbs. If you are in doubt, select the higher category for a ride. Some judgement by the ride organizer will need to be used.

  • Beginner - Green: Average speed of 8-11 mph, distance of 10-25 miles, mostly flat terrain (examples are: in Golden Gate Park to the Zoo, Out and back on Canada Road in Woodside, Out and back from Mikes Bikes to Tiburon through Strawberry)
  • Social/ Casual - Blue: Average speed of 11-14 mph, distance 15-45 miles, limited hills
  • Intermediate - Yellow: Average speed of 14-17 mph, distance 25-60 miles, some hilly terrain or rolling terrain
  • Advanced - Red: Average speed over 17 mph, distance 35-100 miles, hilly
  • Strenuous - Black: Race pace and/or extremely hill ride.



A ride is classified by its most challenging single element, whether that be speed or hills. For instance, a ride that has a speed of 12 mph on flat roads will be classified as social or casual, while a ride that has a speed of 12 mph but has over about 1,500 feet of climbing will be classified as intermediate.

With some rides there will be multiple speed groups, with multiple leaders. In these cases, the rating associated with the slowest speed group will be highlighted, along with a description of each type of speed group. An example is a ride will have an "A" Group that with an average speed of over 20 and a "B" Group with an advertised speed of 15 to 18. In this the ride would receive an Intermediate rating.


NO-DROP: This means NO ONE will be left on their own. It is best to have a leader and a sweep person on a no-drop ride. These are two suggested ways to address a no-drop ride:

  • The entire group stays together and rides at the pace of the slowest rider.
  • The leader or a club member who is experienced and knows the route stays with the slower rider/s separate from the rest of the group. Another person who is familiar with the route takes the lead.
  • Under no circumstances will the slowest rider be left on their own, even if they say “its ok, I’m fine, go ahead.”
  • All beginner rides will be no-drop rides

SEMI-DROP: On a semi-drop ride, regroup points will be designated by the leader. These should usually be at turns, at water and/or food stops, and the tops or bottoms of hills. The ride leader should assess the skill levels of the riders in the group and insure that EVERYONE makes it through the ride safely and no one rides a significant part of the ride on their own. The leader (or designated person) does not leave the regroup point until all riders have arrived. If a significant amount of time passes, the leader (or designated person) back tracks to make sure the missing rider/riders are ok.

DROP: On a drop ride, the leader should make sure everyone knows the route before the ride begins. The leader needs to reiterate that the ride is a drop ride. Riders may or may not stop to assist in the event of a mechanical or flat tire. We encourage the leader to provide assistance to people in the group.


  • Catchy yet non-intimidating name if you can think of one
  • Type of ride using the rating system as a guide
  • A link to the route: Strava, Garmin Connect, Map my Ride, etc if you have one
  • Meeting Place, be as specific as you can be
  • Rolling time, can also include a meeting time, also an expected ending time
  • If it is: No-Drop, Semi-Drop or Drop ride
  • Any plan for social activity at the end or extended stop mid ride
  • Your contact info


On the GGTC Event Calendar page (make sure you are logged in) on the right hand side is a button that says “Add QuickEvent.” Click it and this is where you add all the info.

  1. Name of the ride in Title section – this is what will be seen on the calendar, so it can be simple, descriptive or catchy. Ie: Paradise Loop, Coffee Ride, Social Ride, Muffin Ride etc.. You could also make it more descriptive like: Paradise Loop-35 miles-No drop.  More description in the title can make up for some of the character limitations of the description block.
  2. Short Description –quick events are limited to a 250-character description. If there isn’t room to include enough description send the description to the Bike Director and he/she can convert the quick event to a full event and add the information.
  3. Include in the description:
    • Rolling time (can also put a meeting time)
    • Approximate number of miles and how much riding time you expect for that distance, or average pace (this helps people judge if they can keep up or if the group would be way too slow or fast for them)
    • A link to the route on Strava, Garmin connect or Map my Ride etc. Unfortunately, sometimes the links are kind of long and use up a lot of character space.
    • Use the GGTC ride description guidelines and designate if the ride is a beginner, casual, intermediate, advanced or strenuous ride.
    • Is it a drop ride, no-drop or semi-drop with meet up spots. If we can get a leader and a sweep on every ride, who know the route, we can make every ride a no-drop ride which would be awesome.
    • Any plan for social activity at the end of the ride or mid ride. Mid ride would be like planning to stop long enough at Pt. Reyes station to enjoy coffee and bakery goods. After the ride would be like late lunch somewhere or picnic at the end of the ride.
  4. The category of ride would be Training-bike
  5. Make the event visible to everyone
  6. You can choose on showing your email and your phone number. One or the other should be visible to everyone so non-club members can contact you with questions about the ride..
  7. I always check the Notify on Registration box so I get an email every time someone registers and I’ll know who is coming. The other option is to check the “registered” page.
  8. Enter the event time and Meeting Time.
  9. Select Registration as “Recommended” in the drop down menu. This will open up more dialog boxes.
  10. Cancelations allowed? Select yes and put the cut off time either at the ride start time or a half hour before. This way maybe you will get notified when people decided not to show and you will know you don’t have to wait for them.
  11. For Registrant type I have been selecting Quick Event Registration and putting 5 guests. Using this both members and non-members have been able to register.
  12. Location – Put a descriptive name in the location such as: Bridge Café Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco side, or McInnis Park (San Rafael) Golf Center Parking lot near the bathrooms, etc.  DO NOT PUT vague things such as GG Bridge meeting place.
    • If the location is a little obscure you can use the map link.
    • Put in as much address information as you think is necessary for someone who is going on a GGTC ride for the first time.

GGTC Ride Essentials - Checklist

  • Helmet!
  • Bike
  • Spare tube / patch kit (recommend both – flats tend to come in multiples)
  • CO2 cartridge + device / pump (recommend both – flats tend to come in multiples)
  • Tire levers
  • Emergency cash
  • I.D. / emergency contact – recommend Road ID or sticker in helmet
  • Appropriate amounts of food & water
  • Before you leave the house: 
    • shoes, shorts, jersey, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, lube (yourself & your chain), cell phone in a plastic bag & extra layers (you never know when it’s going to rain)
    • Pump your tires & check your tires for damage – every ride!

GGTC Ride Rules

  • Single file
  • Maintain a safe following and passing distance
  • When riding in Aero maintain 3+ bike lengths from the person in front of you
  • No ear phones
  • Follow the rules of the road – stop signs, red lights, yield to pedestrians, do not cross a double yellow line ever
  • Bike DEFENSIVELY – anticipate and be prepared for the worst from vehicles/ other cyclists/ pedestrians/ nature
  • Communicate – with hand signals and verbally
    • Upcoming hazards (road debris, potholes, upcoming traffic)
    • Stopping/ slowing
    • Signal turns
    • Passing – ‘on your left’

Pace-line Rules:

  • OVER-Communicate – with hand signals and verbally
    • Upcoming hazards (road debris, potholes, upcoming traffic)
    • Stopping/ slowing
    • Signal turns
  • No Aero – except if you are leading 
  • Do not half wheel, ever
  • Request to join pace line – no one likes a stranger on their back wheel that they didn’t know about
  • Do not join a pace line unless you are 100% confident in yourself and others abilities

Plan ahead – in the event of a crash/ emergency :

  • Keep calm
  • Safely block/ alert oncoming traffic
  • Check for injuries
  • Dial 911, if necessary
  • Get out of the road as soon as possible
  • If no apparent injuries, evaluate for head trauma:
    • Check helmet for any cracks
    • Any loss of consciousness? 
    • Ask orienting questions (Do you know what happened?  Where are you?  What day is today?)
    • Any disorientation, loss of consciousness, or cracks in helmet needs medical evaluation for possible head trauma.
  • Get witness information & file police report, if necessary.
  • Look for emergency contact info, if necessary.
    • RoadID, sticker/ written in helmet (recommended)
  • If you escape with only some minor road rash – Remember:  
    • Do not ride away without a thorough evaluation of bike for damage.
    • Get some tegaderm, celebrate your fantastic luck, and use the experience as a reminder to ride safely & defensively

Questions? Ask the Bike Director

Cliff Notes for being a "roadie"

by Julia Violich

This is a copy of the presentation given by cycling coach Julia Violich at our 2013 March Member Meeting. The file covers some of the highlights of the talk and has some tips in it.

Bike Rentals & Demos

Here are a few options of local bike retailers who rent and demo:

Route Links

Coming Soon