Leading a Social Ride

Please read our Public health page for info on riding safely during the pandemic and beyond.

You should consider the below points when creating your ride. They’re all optional, but strongly suggested to keep things going smoothly. For more details than this checklist, check out this detailed guide (PDF)!

Ride-Leading Tips comic

  • Consider your ridership: Will the ride be for family-types or for the independently-natured? Give your riders some idea about the ride’s behaviorial tone.
  • Determine a start location: If it is not in the biker-hive of central Portland, then consider a place not too far from a Trimet transit center to allow folks to get there easily while saving their energy for your ride.
  • Plan a safe route: Since most Shift rides are social rides, consider use a bike map to make for a safe, leisurely route. If you plan to ride on ‘challenging’ roads, be sure to tell your participants this both in the ride description AND at the start of the ride.
  • Be a leader: It’s nice when one takes charge, has a voice, and lets everyone know what is going on before and during the ride.
  • Pre-announce Dress Code and other relevant details: Shift rides offer the out-of-the-ordinary because they are about a celebration versus a race or challenge. Many rides feature a theme which participants are encouraged to dress/accesorize to match. For best success you should be very clear in the ride description what you’re hoping to see your riders do. This crowd loves to get theatrical!
  • Food and beverage: People tend to connect well when sharing sustenance or celebratory libations in close proximity to one another. Not recommended to eat or drink while riding, but one successful pattern is to create a potluck and/or feature a food store stop along the route.
  • An appropriate time: To assure your ride receives maximum ridership, avoid conflicts with other rides. Please check our fabulous calendar when scheduling your ride!
  • Get the word out: The best means of getting riders for your event is telling people about it! Things like creating a facebook event about your ride, passing out a flyer about your ride at similar rides happening before yours, and otherwise “advertising” your ride is a great idea to supplement your event listing on our calendar.
  • Estimated departure: Chill out! Whatever your specified ride time, you should leave fifteen minutes or more later (known as “bikey time”). This allows those running late some time to arrive. Since Shift rides are not a race, punctuality of ride departure isn’t first priority. Besides, you’ll allow early or on-time arrivals to make friends and find out about the ride before you leave.
  • A feeling of rejection: Sometimes people just don’t show up to a ride; it happens. When it happens, be glad of the effort you made, and know your bicycle will ever always bring you happiness. We creative bikers are a fickle bunch, yet we are compassionate. Consider pinging the Shift mailing list and asking for advice in rescheduling your ride to attract more participants.

Happy Riding!