Alongside coaching I also run a women's cycling group. I get asked a lot about it so I decided to write about elements I think are important.
1. If you want it to be, it is the most fun you can have Picking exactly where you go, how long for, and where you stop for coffee - how could it not be!
2. Group dynamic is everything It is key to a successful ride - if you don't motivate your group when it's -2C and sleet then who else is going to?
3. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail Forget your first aid kit? Guaranteed someone will need it 5 miles in where there's no phone signal.
4. Ride at a level that suits everyone A led ride is not about racing, but it is an opportunity to challenge the riders in the group so they leave feeling accomplished. It is a difficult balance sometimes, especially with a mixed group of riders, but motivating riders is key to them pushing themselves with small elements of the ride - whether it be a notorious climb or steep, technical descent.
5. Groups are not for everyone This, I think, has been the most important thing I have learned - not everyone who comes along will like cycling in a group, and often this is their first opportunity to join a group. Most importantly though - if it isn't someones cup of tea, it is totally OK!
6. Check every riders bike Because every time you check you find someone has loose wheels or stem bolts, flat tyres etc.
7. Remind riders to arrive prepared Just now it is winter and conditions are very changeable - so reminding riders to bring a change of clothes to drive home in or to bring a tube because you personally cannot carry the zillion options of tube size with you makes for an easier ride!
8. Measuring success Some may say success is in the number of riders who attend the group rides - but I don't think it really is. Success is measured in the amount of riders you motivate to continue cycling whether it be through showing them an awesome new trail to showing them clothing that keeps them warmer and so enjoy the riding in tougher months more.