Tips for leading successful Group runs

A series of tips aimed at new Green Badge holders, intended to help them organise and lead a safe and enjoyable Group ride.  To be read in conjunction with Doc. 010 Guidelines for Run Leaders and Back Markers.
If any SAM member would like to contribute to this list, please would they send their tip(s) to the Group Rides Co-Ordinator.
1 Ideally you will have planned and ridden the route beforehand, to be aware of the best and safest positions to place markers.
2 If there is an unexpected large number of bikes on the day, with the cooperation of another volunteer to lead, consider splitting the run into two more manageable groups with similar rider ability.  The “quicker” group could leave first, with the “slower” group following.
3 When setting off, remember to mark the first junction or roundabout, as this will help give confidence to 1st timers.
4 There should be no need to stop and regroup during the ride if the marker system is working properly.  If you run out of markers for your immediate needs, then of course you will need to stop until the next rider has caught up before setting off again.
5 If you notice that the following group is not complete at any time, then regroup at the earliest and safest opportunity.  Ideally, wait until you reach a spot where the whole group can pull off the main carriageway, so as not to be a hazard to other road users, or risk the safety of other riders.  Do not stop too soon after a junction or roundabout, where a mass of bikes slowing to regroup could hamper following traffic.  It is illegal to stop and regroup on a motorway hard shoulder.

6 It is crucial to observe good lane discipline at all times, especially at roundabouts and one-way systems.  Where there is a choice of lanes, take up position in good time in the correct lane for the direction the group is to travel.  Avoid confusion within the group caused by last moment lane changes, resulting in riders being stranded in the wrong lane.  This may cause the group to split up, or worse, leave riders and other road users in a dangerous position.

7 Before joining a fast A-road, dual carriageway or motorway, ensure a good number of riders, preferably the whole group, is in view before accelerating to the speed limit.  In not doing so the group can become fragmented.  Also, riders can feel pressured to exceed the speed limit, simply to catch up.  If the group is incomplete, maintain a reasonable minimum speed on the carriageway which allows riders to catch up but does not cause a hazard to following traffic.

8 Before reaching your exit off an A-road, dual carriageway or motorway, or when approaching a quick succession of course changes, try to plan ahead for the number of markers you will need.  Such situations may quickly use up markers.  For instance, an exit slip road immediately followed by a couple of roundabouts may call for at least four riders, including one to follow you onward.  To avoid running out of markers, if necessary, slow down so that they are at hand when you need them.

9 Besides the Guidelines for Run Leader and Back Markers, Doc. 010, also be familiar with the Participants Guidelines, Doc. 011, in case you are asked about them.

10 Exchange mobile telephone numbers with the Back Marker, and offer your mobile number to other riders in the group, in case the group gets split and you need to contact each other.  Radios might not cover the distance

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