Written by Elaine Bothe, NWTA Instructor
“How many fingers am I holding up?” the instructor called out to the riders as they rode their bikes away from her. “Four!” said one. “Two!” said another. “Six!” All five participants got their answers correct during this “Looking Back while Riding” drill during the NWTA Intro to Ride Leader Training session held on June 28, 2022, at Gateway Green, led by professional mountain bike instructor and instructor trainer Elaine Bothe.
Everybody had a blast at their turn practicing effective Ride Leader techniques including looking back often to see how your riders are doing while maintaining control of your own bike, checking bikes and helmets for safety issues, what to say to someone whose bike might not be safe, as well as many other techniques to help ensure ride participants safety, fun and how to end the ride with riders smiling and wanting more.
Other topics discussed included planning your ride, giving a pre-ride safety talk, and how to describe upcoming features as objectively, instead of using ambiguous or potentially emotionally charged words. Participants also practiced being a sweep rider and worked through scenarios including what to do when a rider is getting tired, if an injury happens or if somebody wants to ride technical features the entire group isn’t ready for.
Leading a ride is a great way to meet new friends, share your favorite trails, and help create a more welcoming atmosphere for all, especially those new to riding or a particular trail system. And, the NWTA wants to have more rides for all levels on the events calendar. Holding events such as this Intro to Ride Leader training course will help build a group of more confident Ride Leaders and Sweep Riders.
Keep your eyes on the NWTA Events Calendar for other upcoming Intro to Ride Leader Training sessions as well as other classes coming up for both adults and kids. You don’t need to be an expert rider to lead a ride or sweep!
If you are interested in becoming a certified Ride Leader or mountain bike instructor, check out the course offerings and calendar from Bicycle Instructor Certification Program or reach out to [email protected].