I echo others’ comments that to be credible and properly discharge our “duty of care” as ride leaders, CTC local groups sorely need something more than a few pointers on a CTC leaflet. Well done CJ for starting to collect best practices from local groups.
How refreshing as well to read that Wantage CTC has gone ahead with some training for their ride leaders following the updating of their guidance. Now that’s taking the bull by the horns! (Thanks Chris for your material).
We at West Surrey CTC had probably been too busy riding the beautiful countryside to bother creating our own “Guidelines”. However, with a few near-misses in the past few years along with some bad press in the local papers on anti-social group cycling behaviours (mostly groups of sportives), we’ve decided to act.
Alas, not much we could do about the bad driving, but much we could do about our very own occasional bad cycling.
Here is a potted history of what we have done to make our rides safer:
1. In 2013, 10 of our ride leaders drafted a hymn sheet of both what we do well already and what CTC wants us to do, combined with approximately 5% additional content to adapt to the reality of the somewhat busy Surrey roads; often narrow, in poor condition and in places full of fast cars.
2. We claim no merit for coming up with what I think is one of the best sets of Group Riding Guidelines out there… for we have simply creatively swiped and tweaked the best available from CTC leaflets, Reading CTC, Wantage CTC, Portsmouth CTC and the San Fairy Ann (Kent) Cycling Club websites.
3. For all our members to read, we have posted on our website our values and ethos on “How We Ride”, complete with the link to our Guidelines(http://westsurreyctc.co.uk/the-club/inf ... r_members/
4. We have also sought to imbue our ride leaders with our club ethos on “How We Lead Our Rides” (http://westsurreyctc.co.uk/the-club/inf ... r_leaders/
), pointing them to 3 additional documents they need to read (see “Ride Leader Tools” as you scroll down under the same link).
5. We have recently made our new ride leader selection process a tad more rigorous. Trainees first lead a few ride segments under the watchful eye of an experienced ride leader and when they feel ready we validate their suitability during a “check ride”. Only when we are satisfied is their candidacy submitted for approval to CTC Head Office. Thus far, candidates have reported having found our Group Riding Guidelines perfectly suitable and comprehensive enough to guide them on what is expected of them in their new role as ride leaders (see our blog entry 10 April 2014: http://westsurreyctc.co.uk/category/blogs/
6. Last but not least, we have started in March 2014 our first “Ride Leader and Back Marker Best Practice Workshop”. Run by an in-house rotating team of our top leaders every 6 months, this two hour workshop has really set the tone that we are serious about getting on the continuous improvement bandwagon.
Of course, as Wantage CTC and other groups may have experienced, a few of our riders and ride leaders were a bit uneasy to being guided to adopt safer practices. However, most are now simply getting on with it. One recent comment from a long in the tooth club member in his 70s who is perhaps our most “bohemian, world travelled, hair blowing in the wind” in attitude, epitomises how benign the new “rules” are generally perceived: “Having read through the Guidelines I see nothing wrong with them and feel they are absolutely right and formalise what we do most of the time anyway”.
Some others frankly state their unreserved approval: “Today I joined one of the well-attended Wednesday rides. I was quickly impressed by the clarity of the pre ride briefings. Then I was able to relax in the experience of careful, well-disciplined packets of 5 riders that allowed me to feel safe even in the very busy Guildford morning traffic. A big thank you to all those brave souls who have sought to grapple with some of the very sloppy riding we have got used to in recent years”.
We wouldn’t have gone this far in improving our group riding without tapping into the knowledge of other CTC local groups. Thank you CTC and the above listed local groups for leading the way!
West Surrey CTC Ride Leader and Committee member