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Your indispensable guide to becoming a Half-Fast Ride Guide

Anyone is welcome to suggest a ride. Even better if you can organize the ride and take us out for some cycling fun. Here are some of the things you'll need to consider in setting up a ride.

Preparation

Ideally, scout the ride on your own first, looking for things that a group will want to know: beer machines, toilets, stations, convenience stores, beer machines, etc.

Ride information

We will need to know the following information about the ride to advertise it:

  • Ride title (short and descriptive; starting with "Tour de..." is unoriginal and pretentious)
  • Ride description (what is fun/interesting/special?)
  • Starting place and starting date/time
  • Route map (prefer MapMyRide or RideWithGPS for this)
  • Total distance
  • Approximate finishing time
  • Difficulty level (especially hills/mountains)
  • Meet-up/bail-out points (and approximate times) en route
  • Leader contact info - your mobile phone number and e-mail address
  • If trains, ferries, etc. are involved, the costs and times
  • If it's a multi-day ride, accommodation options, costs, and deadlines
  • Equipment requirements - bike bag, lights, sunscreen, etc.
  • Any exclusions - not suitable for some types of bike, rider?
  • How a GO/NO-GO will be communicated if the weather looks changeable

If you're offering one of our four standard rides - Odaiba, Haneda, Tamagawa, Arakawa - you can omit a lot of this information.

Communicating/advertising your ride

It's OK if we have more than one ride on the same day if they are targeted at different levels of rider. But please try to remain flexible on your preferred dates.

When you have the necessary information together, send it to Mike or Don (or both) for approval and forwarding to the group.

Successful group riding

There's a bit more to leading a group than saying "I'm going on a bike ride - come along if you want to." It's important to consider the group dynamic and to appreciate riders' individual challenges if everyone is going to have a fun day out.

If you're guiding a large group (more than 12), consider splitting into two. Everyone should understand who is at the front and who is at the back of each group. Agree points (in time or space) to regroup. Ensure that the front/rear riders of all groups know how to contact each other.

It's better to guide from the front. Be clear with the group that you are leading because you know the way; any rider who overtakes you is responsible for themselves.

When riding, give instructions and hand signals clearly and in good time. Riders in the middle should repeat them for those behind. Avoid waving your hands toward local points of interest, as riders may misinterpret your gestures as hand signals. If you're not sure of the route, slow the group down and explain.

Remember that we're Half-Fast, not a racing team. Drafting/pace line/peleton-style riding on public roads and cycleways can lead to accidents. Be realistic about speeds and schedules. It's more important that the group has a safe, fun ride.

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