By Bill Harr
I love small group ride,s and do many with friends I have known for years. I do a “Ride to Lunch with Bill” on a Friday once each month. I have a core group of 5 to 8 old retired riders. The normal number that shows up for the ride is 6.
Sometimes a member of the group will show up with a friend, and sometimes a new rider who has seen my ride on the Bay Area Riders Forum will show up. The core group of experienced riders is a great help with new and sometimes inexperienced riders.
I always talk with riders who I have not ridden with before., and ask several questions: How long have they ridden? Are they comfortable in on twisty roads? Have they ridden with a group before?
I go over some basic rules such as ‘ride your own ride, we are not racing.’ I cover our route and where we will stop to regroup. If someone is missing at regrouping we will look for you, so make sure you tell someone if you leave the group.
Even with all the planning things can still go wrong. Everyone on a ride needs to be ready if things go wrong. Flat tires: do you have a patch kit or plug kit and a way to inflate the tire after repair? Basic tools and duct tape can save the day. A cell phone that will work where you will be riding is a must have. Even when riding by yourself, ‘Find My Phone’ can find you if help is needed. A Spot locator can be cheap insurance if you ride where cell service is not available.
Now the big question you need to ask before it happens: are you ready if someone crashes and is injured? No one plans to crash but as they say *stuff* happens.
Do you carry a first aid kit? Do you have first aid training? If not, please take a class with the Red Cross (or similar), you may save someone you love. Do you have an In Case of Emergency phone number saved to your cell phone?
Do you any allergies or take prescriptions that emergency personnel may need to know? You should be wearing a Med-Alert or Med information bracelet.
A little pre-planning will hopefully make an unfortunate crash just a bad memory you will forget about in the future. You do not what the unfortunate crash to be a day you will never forget. The attached picture is from one of my Friday rides. Being prepared we were able to give first aid and get EMS to transport the rider. Ride safe.