Ride Leader and Ride Credit Guidelines

Update 5/28/2010

These guidelines are not being implemented as stated below.  Please see the following information by clicking here.

Update 4/5/2010

From Sandy Lorber, ACTC President: “I’ve asked Marie and the board to postpone the implementation of the guidelines until June 1st.  We would like to give Marie a chance to bring all of the feedback we’ve received to the board and discuss your concerns.”

by Marie Becker, ACTC Ride Coordinator

Ride Leader Guidelines

To address concerns that have come up over the last few months, the following guidelines are being published to ensure rider safety on club rides:

  1. All Ride Leaders should lead their rides at the pace listed in the Ride Schedule.
  2. All ride participants should only attend rides where they feel comfortable riding at the listed pace.  If they are unsure they should contact the Ride Leader prior to joining the ride.
  3. All Ride Leaders should strive to provide clear and correct route sheets.  These can be distributed in either hard or soft copy.
    1. Soft copy location (or link) should be identified in the ride description on the Ride Schedule.
    2. Hard copies should be brought to the ride start.  If more riders show up than anticipated the Ride Leader should stay with the group to ensure no rider gets lost.
    3. All rides should strive to include periodic re-groups to make sure all riders are present and accounted for.  If the ride will have no re-groups it should be stated in the ride description and caution any participants to be prepared to ride alone.
    4. If riders join a ride and wish to ride faster than the listed pace, it is at the Ride Leaders discretion whether the faster rides who “go off the front” will receive credit.

To encourage members to join group rides we should strive to have consistency in how we lead our rides.  We have a variety of riders in our club and these guidelines should accommodate all.

Ride Credit Guidelines

The historical goal for recording Ride Credit was to encourage members to join club rides.  The Billy Goats were added (and expanded) over the years to promote trying new hills.  Maybe you wouldn’t try a new hill by yourself, but would if a club ride did.  And this program proved to be very successful.  As the popularity of the Goats grew, another enhancement was added to encourage riders to ride their bikes to and from ride starts, and so ride credit was given for that.  Also over the years the Awards system has evolved to motivate the membership for participation in and to lead rides.  Riding miles outside of the listed rides for credit was not intended, but an outgrowth in the recent past as a “race for the most” evolved.

The guidelines listed below are intended to reinforce the original goals.  The stats are intended to reflect those who participate in club rides, and reward those who do the most.  Accumulating stats for the sake of the biggest number isn’t in that vein.  While more time on the bike is a goal most of us have, the goal with ACTC ride credit is to recognize those who do the most club rides and miles, i.e. promoting club ride participation, not mileage accumulation.  While not mutually exclusive there is a difference.

Going forward the guidelines for Ride Credit will be:

  1. Credit for listed rides will only be given for the miles and goats listed.  If a rider does less than what is listed they will only get credit for what they do.
  2. Any additional miles ridden will be given credit under a new category to recognize those riders who ride to and from the ride starts.  A new award will be given at the end of the year to recognize the rider who accomplishes the most in this category.
  3. Riders must be at the ride start to sign in, or meet the ride in progress at a pre-designated place coordinated with the Ride Leader.  (If a person arrives late and catches the ride in progress they will get credit).
  4. Unless listed otherwise riders should stay with the group as is practical.  We all will (and should) ride at our own pace, but we should also strive to regroup on occasion to stay with the Ride Leader.  If a rider “goes off the front” it is at the Ride Leaders discretion to award credit, and should be listed as such in the ride description in the Ride Schedule.

These guidelines will go into effect May 1st.  This is to allow us to publish them in the newsletter so that they are distributed to all prior to implementation.  I believe that most rides now follow these rules, with the exception of separately recording the “additional miles”.  We will continue to record mileage in one bucket until we get the stats system automated and build in this capability.


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29 total comments, leave your comment or trackback.
  1. Penny Carl
    Apr 1st 2010

    Marie, the guidelines are outstanding. Thank you for investigating and coming up with fair and easy to follow guidelines I am so proud of you and you are ‘perfect’ for this position. Penny

  2. James (Rusty) Rustermier
    Apr 1st 2010

    I think these new guide lines are right on target. Many times in the past I’ve shown up for an LM ride to have the ride leader take off and start cruising along at 17 MPH. Better yet was when some rider in front of me ,who decided that it was time to; “drop off” and like an idiot I followed them. Nobody told me that they weren’t going to the finish. For me the answer to these situations has been simple, I stopped going on club rides.
    The ride leader should be the one in front and the sweep should be the one at the rear. If the ride is listed as an LM it should be an LM. If it is too slow for someone then they should set up their own ride and lead it at any pace they like.

  3. Franz
    Apr 1st 2010

    I reviewed the new guidelines and support them. Considering how diverse ACTC is, I feel they attempt to strike a good balance. It is difficult making changes to fit everyone’s need. Some ride leaders go faster than they post while other ride leaders have no ability to ride as fast as they post their ride. With the new pace calculator that Don Axtell posted, ride leaders can easily figure out fast they actually ride and post their rides accordingly. The important thing, especially for new members, is to have things clear in the ride posting so they don’t get surprised. Although I ride closer to a S pace now, I still remember when I was a new rider and got worried about being able to climb a hill or keeping up, especially not knowing the area.

  4. Linda Kahn
    Apr 1st 2010

    As one of the ‘newer’ members of the club (compared to some ‘long-timers’), it has been challenging for me to ride where the pace is much faster than what was posted in the Black & Blue Bottom. Because I am not a fast (and probably never will be), I could never keep up with the riders ‘off the front’…and if not for my husband waiting for me, I would be the last rider on my own…sometimes with or without a route sheet.
    This was VERY discouraging and gives a black eye to the club on many levels–as a participant.

    I’m very glad that these new guidelines are in place and I hope this will help spell out things to both Ride Leaders and partipating Riders.
    While no one can ‘police’ every ride, there are MAJOR ‘inconsistencies’ with how every ride leader did things–causing confusion, questions, and sometimes anger with the ride particpants.
    I for one want more consistency on club rides…and I hope these simple guidelines will be a positive factor in making us one of the best bike clubs in the Bay Area.

  5. Bryan Shaner
    Apr 1st 2010

    Since awards are given for a calendar year, it might not be best to change the way in which credit for an award is given midyear. Are we going to go back and subtract out the miles ridden to and from a ride from January 1st to April 30th? Waiting until December 31st to implement might give us a chance to figure out how to use technology (automating the system) rather than be driven by it.

  6. Gary Robinson
    Apr 2nd 2010

    Other than separating out the ride to/ride from miles, this seems pretty much the same as its been. Much is left up to the ride leader. Best bet is to go out on a ride or two and see if you are compatible with the leader’s style.

  7. Brian Birkeland
    Apr 2nd 2010

    While I appreciate the update to the rules there is one problem and that is Rule # 1 where credit will only be given for “… miles and goats listed.” This problem comes with rides which occur regularly such as the Argonaut or the Roaster as specific examples. These rides come so frequently that it is often difficult for the ride leader or sub (that’s me) to list every goat in the order we are planning a month in advance. Additionally, we sometimes have to change the route because of road conditions, the group we are with, lack of light, or mechanical issues to name a few.
    I think some of these long time leaders of weekly rides will stop leading if you eliminate the “various” designation or will just lead for no credit. Is that really what you want?
    Please contact those leaders of weekly/biweekly rides and ask their opinion.
    Brian B

  8. Patrice Carney
    Apr 2nd 2010

    Overall, I believe that the intentions of the new guidelines are good, however there has been mention of the diversity of the club and the portion of the guidelines pertaining to stats credit is where there appears to be issues.

    I have mentioned this before, but will state this again, the guidelines for stats works well for the shorter mileage routes that have grizzlies, but are very restrictive to longer mileage routes and completely prohibitive to leaders who desire to post their rides as “Various” for the Billy Goat designation. If you look at many of the rides posted for other clubs, most of their rides are just this type of ride: miles may vary and terrain and routes may vary. Other clubs DO NOT have restrictions because of a desire to provide “consistency”.

    I would like to suggest the following guideline edit changes that would allow a bit more flexibility to our Billy Goat ride leaders and participants (for such rides as the Argonaut series, Whine and Diners, Sleeping Beauty Sunday, Hills ‘R US, Two Goat Tuesday, rides where “other local Goats optional” is posted, and for any reoccurring ride where Various is desired to be posted for the Billy Goat options)

    1. Credit for listed rides will only be given for the miles and goats listed . If a rider does less than what is listed they will only get credit for what they do.
    2. Any additional miles ridden will be given credit.

    As you can see, the major issue is with stats for guidelines #1 and #2. If you are going to allow for stats for additional mileage (which has always been an option, but at the discretion of the ride leader), why do we need to create a new stats database and award for these miles. Just provide allow the credit, please don’t make it more complicated and time consuming for the ride leaders and statistician.

  9. Louise
    Apr 2nd 2010

    Change can be unsetteling for some while others rejoice…
    There is some discussion, or arguement, for those who have become comfortable with posting an open ended ride to allow last minute decision with the goats or a participant pick which goat to ride.
    While the She-Devil is coming out of me a week early before the Cindrella ride, My response is in the spirit of automation. Which is what so many members have been talking about moving this club to the 21st Century, right? Now that we are taking step in doing so, we are balking and complaining.
    I wonder if there will be an opportunity to have a “check ALL” box when listing such a ride. Think about it, most of these rides, if not all of them, last only a few hours. I have participated in a number of them. Especially with the rides that are during the week after a work day, you have about two hours of riding before it is dark. How many goats need to be listed? When we are listing the ride in the first place, the Ride Leader has a general idea of where they are going, right? So why not “check” the box for all the goats in that area.
    The horse-and-buggy system we have today is so highly labor intensive, people have been spoiled with the dedication of one person taking ownership of maintaining the current system. So let’s see what we can do to provide a solution and move forward to automation to make life easier for everyone. I fail to see the productivity of all the whining and complaining.

  10. Bob Shultz
    Apr 2nd 2010

    I am certainly sympathetic to the needs of predictability and conformance to published plans for rides. This is especially important to newer members so that they can gain confidence they will be suited for a particular ride and have an enjoyable experience.
    However, I feel that rides that list Various Billy Goats are a significantly different matter. These rides typically reoccur on a regular weekly schedule and are led by one or two dedicated individuals. Rather than trying to plan each ride several weeks in advance, for appropriate listing in the B&BB, the ride leader should be free to design a ride for that week that is appropriate for the weather and road conditions that will actually be encountered. This system has been proven to work very well.
    Let’s make sure that our move to automation of stats does not include some significant unintended consequences. Elimination of “Various” will do just that.

  11. Frankly, I do not care about ride credit. No matter what ACTC does I am listing the whine and dine mellow ride as “various.”

    I have my reason, the route is chosen based on weather conditions before the ride. I am not going to commit to a six, for example, if there is a threat of rain or heat wave on that day. The ride is a social ride. If that means that I loose people who are out collecting goats; that’s a price I am willing to pay.

    Maybe the leader of the quick spinners ride will feel differently.


  12. Deborah Hoag
    Apr 2nd 2010

    These are part of the guidelines that I see important.

    Good part is: Additional miles riden to and from and the ride start will given under a new category. A new award. Bad news: a little more work for the rider leaders. The other problem, I have with this is, riders can only get credit for mileage posted. So, if I post a ride for 114 miles and the ride turns out to be 120 miles. I cannot give full credit. Putting together 50 routes a year, I make mistakes.

    In addition, the guidelines will only allow credit for goats listed. There are several issues with this, that as a ride leader causes issues with leading safe rides. Plus it discourages people from riding.

    1. Due to rain or snow (Mt Hamilton), we are not able to change the goats and give credit. 7 day change is required. For example, if it is raining north, then changing the route to head south, I cannot give credit for goats south, only mileage.

    2. Change in goat due to dangerous conditions. Road has been chipped, snow, road closure. I cannot give credit, because 7 days is required.

    3. Due to unsafe conditions. A rider has a problem and takes a shorter route to get home safe. For example, we climb Old La Honda East and the route drops down HWY 84 to head to the coast. But, a rider starts dropping down HWY 84 and he or she finds his or her hands are so cold, he or she is having a hard time braking. So, the rider turns around and climbs Old La Honda West or HWY 84, the rider will not get credit.

    4. A rider has come back from an injury is unable to complete the whole ride.

    My understanding this is not an automation issue, but the board controlling the rides to make them safer.

    As a club member and a ride leader, I think it is important to improve the function of the club. If we sit back and let people make our decisions for us that do not improve the club, then we have no reason to whine and complain.

    Any changes: We need to ask the question does this add value?

    By checking all goats in the area, it creates an unclear posting. Most of us will check all goats in the area, if the goat only posting goes into place.


  13. Spencer Frink
    Apr 2nd 2010

    I agree with what I believe is the spirit of the new guidlines for ride credit – to actually have a group ride together and regroup at identified points periodically.

    Since the burden falls on the ride leader to perform the actual statistics tracking when the new automatted system is deployed, I believe it should be up to them to decide what alternates they will allow.

    Specifically, I believe the current common usage for “various” for listing of goats, particularly for reoccuring rides should continue to be permitted.

    But this shouldn’t be an excuse for some riders to form a “splinter” group and go on a completely different ride and expect the ride leader to give them credit just because the ride’s goats were listed as “various”.

  14. Pete Klein
    Apr 2nd 2010

    As an ex-ride leader of a long-standing “Various” ride and an occasional participant on Hills R Us and the Argonaut rides, I want to throw my support behind allowing the “Various” designation. No way I would list specific goats on a regularly occurring ride that is being posted that far ahead.

    I also sympathize with Donny’s data entry load. Thankless task for sure. But I would think that the upgraded stats system could accommodate the ride leaders while lessening the data entry load for Donny, too.

    At any rate, alienating some of the club’s most prolific ride leaders isn’t a good solution.

  15. Dave Hook
    Apr 2nd 2010

    I am a fairly new club member (joined July 2009), and also do not have huge experience on organized group rides such as ACTC rides previously.

    I find the variety, both in terms of location/route and pace/slope, to be a huge plus for me. I also really enjoy the variety of people I meet on club rides.

    As a fairly new member, I have spent some time trying out different rides with different ride leaders to “calibrate” the pace and slope to my capabilities. This was made somewhat more difficult initiatially as I did not have a speedometer until recently, and had no real idea of how fast I typically was riding.

    I don’t care much about the ride and goat credits. I have not had much experience with ride leaders that did not ride somewhere in the vicinity of what was described.

    I do think that there should be flexibility in the system, and I am not too worried about how many goats a ride might have.

    I also would hate to see the system become onerous and countermotivating to the ride leaders.

    I do like to see the ride “re-group” follow what is mentioned in the ride description. I also like to see printed route sheets.

    Safety is good, and so is organization and fairness, but I would hate to see things too mechanistic and regulated to the point of rigidity and no-fun.

  16. Gary Robinson
    Apr 2nd 2010

    It’s funny how we read things differently. I lead the “various” Roaster ride with a mileage range (e.g., 40-80). By listing goats as “various” I just assume that I have listed them all. Other ride leaders list “optional” goats, so really, what’s the difference? My options are just greater. Maybe the term “various” should be switched to “all” and I will only give credit for goats ridden that are less than “all”. Similarly, I will not give credit to any miles over 80, unless I increase the range to 200 or 250 to be safe (for Brian and Russ).

  17. Ken Goldman
    Apr 2nd 2010

    If the stated purpose of keeping track of mileage and goats is to encourage more riders to attend more rides, then it seems particularly counterproductive to force ride leaders to be specific about goats several weeks in advance–without knowledge of weather and road conditions.

    Perhaps one alternative might be to continue to allow goats to be posted as “various” with the stipulation that a clarification of the ride would need to be posted to the e-list at least 48(?) hrs before each ride takes place.

  18. How many and what percentage of the club membership are actually concerned with accumulating goat credit? Are we talking 600 out of 800, 60 out of 800 or 6 out of 800?

    I understand the burden on the part of volunteers like Donny to keep track of stats. Perhaps this could be eased by only keeping track of stats for individuals who are concerned about them?


  19. Chris Mok
    Apr 2nd 2010

    With all the brilliant minds in this club, surely there must be some common ground that can accommodate the need to simplify and automate and accommodate the ride leader’s flexibility. I’ve just started riding the Hills are Us since November. I would like to point out that these are some of the most spectacular rides in the area. Being at higher elevations frequently introduces unique micro climates that present added risks. I am very grateful to the ride leader that puts together such elegant rides and considers terrain, conditions, weather and keeping the challenges fresh, not to mention that our collective welfare is always considered not only in the planning phase but on the ride as well. I am grateful to be involved with a club that has an incredible volunteer team and that routinely puts on rides that can rival any, anywhere.

  20. I understand the burden of keeping and collecting stats is difficult. Maybe 20 – 40 members in the club I would guess really care about stats. I wonder if we could resolve this whole matter by stopping collecting stats all together and letting people get on with riding bikes. Hmmm, I wonder if I could list my weekly whine and dine ride as a non-credit ride? That would ease Donny’s burden.

    Folks like myself, and others I know, could ease the burden of keeping stats immensely by making them non-credit ACTC rides. Maybe the best solution is to let the riders who are most concerned with keeping stats be the ones who lead “for credit” rides.

    Can we list non credit rides?


  21. Marcia Wire
    Apr 3rd 2010

    I would like to thank Marie and any others involved in developing the proposal for conducting and crediting ACTC rides. The suggestions are simple, clear and will be helpful to leaders seeking to be fair and consistent in how we lead and report members’ achievements.

    I was one of the people who sought guidance, in an effort to find a balance between leading a ride for a group of members who stayed with the group at the relative slow LM pace listed and those who wanted to sign in and ride off by themselves at a much faster rate (sometimes going off the route and getting lost). I think the race for ride credit has had a lot to do with creating this problem, and that our Ride Coordinator has provided a good rationale and rules which will help us to be consistent, with benefit to all riders.

    Personally, I like to know what a leader is planning so I can have an idea of the difficulty level, the specific hills–I’d rather not keep riding the same ones again–and the approximate distance and therefore elapsed time. I don’t go on rides where the leader has not made the effort to give that basic information. I grant that at my pace, or non-pace, most of those rides are out of my speed level anyway. But although initially it’s an effort for a leader to figure out the best route, starting place, distance, and so forth, once you have done it, it’s not such a terrible chore again.

    It seems from previously listed comments that a lot of leaders and riders want to go out and ride without committing to specific goats, miles, routes, regroups or anything else. Maybe it would be a good idea to do what someone already suggested in this section, and just let them lead and ride non-credit rides. Then all the “what-ifs” and problems would be taken care of, and Donny would be far less burdened by having to deal with billy-goat mountains of data. If the leaders did their part in deciding on and submitting the requested information, the stats would be far easier to compile whether by hand or eventually by the automated system.

    I hope members will give the proposal a fair trial, and cooperate in following the guidelines which have been presented.


  22. You can always find out the route and difficulty of a whine and dine ride by going to the blog or by calling the ride leader (and people do.) It is not necessary to post the particular goat for a particular day six weeks in advance to get that information.

    I think being able to adapt the ride for changing weather conditions makes the rides safer and that is more important to me than making it easy to collect stats.


  23. Deborah Hoag
    Apr 4th 2010


    I agree with pace guigelines, but has been in place. I object to the Goats only given credit. Please go back and read my comments. I listed my goats, but there are problems with that I explain in my posting.

  24. Deborah Hoag
    Apr 4th 2010

    The biggest problem with posting goats, a rider is only allow to post 9 goats per ride.

  25. Another approach might be to not have any changes go into effect until the day before this board’s term ends. Then tempers would calm down and people running for the next board would have an opportunity to run as supporters or opponents of the new rules. In essence a vote would be taken without having to have a special vote. The new board could, if they wanted, rescind or affirm the changes.

    We are a third of the way into this riding season. This is logical and would give tempers a lot of time to cool before any change is made, without killing change.

    I am trying to be helpful, this might be an approach to take.


  26. With all the conflict over how bike stats are collected, I think we should consider not even keeping them. Let riders keep their own stats; I say!


  27. If ACTC is a social cycling club, why do we even keep statistics on riders performance and rank them against each other? That is the type of thing competitive clubs, like racing clubs, do. By doing so we make it competitive and that invites conflict, IMHO. This proposal should stop the conflict for good.

    I have prepared a motion that would amend the bylaws to eliminate stat keeping for good. It is here:

  28. Keith Giles
    May 19th 2010

    Since I rarely look at the club’s web site, I just came across this – so maybe I’m out of date here.

    In my old age I now only lead (and go on other folks) Grizzly Bear rides. Hey, can I list “various” and then fill in after the ride just what the Grizzly was? Let’s not discriminate against Grizzlys. I promise never to have more than 9 different Grizzlys on any one ride.

    Two other comments:
    1. I refuse to hand out route sheets. If I do, some, or a lot of the riders will just take off and leave me. As it is, they have to stay behind me because they don’t know the route I’m taking.
    2. I really don’t care what “rules” are posted. I’ll continue to do things, as my wife used to tell me, “my own wrong way.” If the Powers-that-Be don’t like it, you can kick me out of the club.

    As I frequently say, “This is America, you can do what you want.” 🙂

  29. John Mazzella
    May 24th 2010

    I look at the Ride Leader guidelines as such ”guides” and not as rules which one must adhere. Above all, it is up to the ride leader to lead their ride in their own safe manner and for members to learn how a ride leader does so. The idea of a rider profile has merit especially for new members.

    As for the Ride Credit guidelines, I think this could use some further clarification. Personally, I think miles to and from rides should be dropped into the ‘utility ride’ bucket along with ride to work, etc … miles. I’m not a fan of various and as such I don’t usually go on those rides and if I am interested in the ride, I will call the ride leader at midnight and ask them where they are going( just joking). Again, most of this stuff is left to the ride leader’s discretion – as it should be.

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