Imagine 300 people biking through San Francisco with music, lights and costumes. That was my first San Francisco Bike Party and it totally changed my perspective on what a bike ride could be.
Since then I've planned many of my own group rides. I am currently in the process of designing the route for the SF Tweed Ride next weekend.
Here are 10 rules for designing a great group ride:
- Make safety the priority.
- Design for your audience. Imagine your least skilled rider and design the route around their needs. This will vary significantly by audience.
- Find great spots to stop at. I favor beautiful views and sunny parks.
- Plan a route that safely connects your spots. Avoid left turns and consider intersection safety, tracks, pavement conditions, lights with a short green phase, etc.
- Use Google Maps. It's a great way to plot the distance, elevation changes, and waypoints of your ride.
- Do the research. If your city publishes cycling injury data then take a look. Some intersections just aren't worth the risk.
- Don't go with the first version! Always test ride first. You will find problems.
- Be honest with yourself. Do you have concerns about a certain intersection or stretch of roadway? Change the route.
- Every time you change the route test it again. You will be surprised at how many times your assumptions are proven wrong on a test ride.
- Test your route the day before the ride. You never know what might be under construction today that wasn't during your last ride.
BONUS RULE: Have fun!