Whether it’s a small group of friends or a large organized mass ride, as a group leader, it is your responsibility to take some basic precautions.
A ride leader’s main purpose is to make sure everyone makes it to the end destination as a unit. The group should not separate at any moment of the ride.
More than anything else, the person who leads a group ride must be a competent and safe rider. They need to have a strong personality to be able to deal with every rider’s personality. Someone who’s adept at handling tough social situations is helpful. It’s important that the leader himself keeps his cool while mediating any fights.
The next priority should be that the leader is someone who is organized, punctual, and fun. An organized leader will plan the route in advance along with the halts and other small things that need to be planned in advance. The route should be memorized, mapped out on a hard copy and on a GPS if you have one. How can you lead a ride if you don’t know where to go?
Ensuring that all the riders are maintaining a constant pace is necessary. The pace should be such that it allows stragglers to catch up without much effort. Nobody should feel left out.
The leader should talk about the formation beforehand. The leader should inform everyone about the staggered formation. Newbies will be enlightened and the experienced riders won’t pay attention when you’re talking. But this shouldn’t always be the case. As a leader, see to it that everyone is listening (not just hearing) you in the pre-ride meeting. Engaging every single rider will make them listen to you.
Being the group leader is so much more stressful than just riding in the pack. But if you do it right, everyone will appreciate your efforts.
Remember: Communication is the key. Talk to everyone and it’ll be a ride to remember!