Planning a Ride

The majority of effort in leading a ride happens before the ride day. This includes route selection, choosing a starting location, and specifying start times.

Route Selection

  • Choose an existing ride - You may work with the ride coordinator to select a ride in the NSC library. If you select one of these rides and make no changes, you should still familiarize yourself with the route before you go out to arrow it in case any changes need to be made due to road closures or construction.
  • Modify an existing ride - You may choose a ride from the library and modify it to make it new. You will have to make a new cue sheet and you should submit it to the ride coordinator to add to the library.
  • Create a brand new ride - If you want to create a brand new ride, plan for large groups. On a Sunday ride with 50 or more riders it is not uncommon for groups of 10 to stay together over the whole route. Some routes may not be appropriate for large groups.
Avoid these Hazards
  • Dirt or poorly paved roads
  • Bike or recreational paths
  • Extremely fast, busy roads
  • Dangerous intersections, especially when a left turn is required
  • Bridges on busy roads or other choke points for heavy automotive traffic
Plan for a Short and Long Loop
  • Rides occurring in the height of the season should be longer than rides in the beginning of the season (when fewer riders are conditioned) or in October (when it's getting cold).
  • Plan the short loop to use roads on the long loop to reduce arrowing and give short and long loop riders a chance to cross paths. Remember that short loop riders prefer flatter terrain.
  • Short loop of 20 to 40 miles
  • Long loop of 40 to 70 miles
Designated Lunch Stops
  • Lunch stops are generally not designated on NSC rides, but if there is an attraction or event near the route consider incorporating it into the ride. The Llama farm in Rock's Village is a typical NSC example.

Choosing a Start Location

  • Avoid town centers without a large municipal lot.
  • Avoid small shopping centers with stores that are open on Sunday.
  • Provide a safe and legal entrance onto the roadway for bicycles at the ride start.
  • Obtain permission when using public schools and commercial lots for starts.
  • Try to be aware of local community activities the same morning as a ride, such as a pancake breakfast, church bazaar or a local fair. If necessary change the location of the start site. Do not conflict with these activities.

Specify Start Times

  • Don't set start times earlier than 8:00 AM.
  • Set start times to get riders to the same place at the same time - for example, if there is an attraction on the ride.
  • Or set start times so everybody returns about the same time.
  • Note - The faster riders on the long loop will average about 18 mph and the slower riders on the short loop may only average 12 mph when stops are considered.
  • Be sure it has sufficient parking - In the summer months plan for about 30 cars. In early spring or late fall you can arrange for fewer cars.