Ride Leaders are the cornerstone of CRW. Without these dedicated volunteers, we wouldn't have a bicycle club. The club can never do enough to thank them, but we can certainly try.
This year started with a kickoff party in early spring where we feted the Ride Leaders with food and beverage, imploring everyone to post rides to the calendar. They responded with a bang and we had a banner year of rides available, including all the new ride types that had been introduced in previous seasons. In spite of Covid, we had lots of returning leaders and even better, lots of new volunteers who went through Ride Leader training and qualified to become Leaders this year.
Ride Leader Training? Yup. Starting three years ago, we introduced a training program for all new Ride Leaders. It starts with a Zoom presentation where experienced leaders spend close to two hours walking potential leaders through everything it takes to plan, post and run a ride for CRW. But it doesn't stop there. Once they've seen the presentation, Ride Leaders must then read the Ride Leader Handbook, a riveting 18 page tome that helps to reinforce everything learned in the training. And we're not done yet - the final step is to co-lead three rides before they're ready to become fully fledged Ride Leaders. It takes time and dedication and we're grateful to everyone who goes through the process.
It's worth it. In addition to the kickoff party in the spring, we always present a gift to anyone who's led a ride during the season. This year's gift is a pair of CRW Cylcling Gloves, available only to Ride Leaders!
We didn't stop there. Hoping to get a few more rides on the calendar, we posted a contest to win a $100 gift card to a local bike shop for anyone who met the contest criteria. Congratulations goes out to winners Linda Nelson, Robyn Betts, Andy Brand and Lyda Budrys.
But Ride Leaders don't do this for the swag. They do it as a way of giving back to the club everything they've received from those who came before. There's a special satisfaction that comes from watching a new rider improve and gain confidence. We've all felt it and those who lead have had the added joy of sharing it.
We celebrated the season with a Ride Leader Thank You party in early October. Ride Leaders are encouraged to bring a guest as many of us who lead are supported by those who understand our desire to volunteer. You should give it a try.