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Bicycle User Group (BUG) Presidents and Master Ride Leaders shared their experiences using the new Bicycle NSW Ride Leader Course, in a recent Zoom hook-up.

MTB riders on a group ride

The devolved course was launched in April 2021. BUGs have been training new Ride Leaders in anticipation of increasing community interest in joining rides, with the arrival of summer and post lockdowns.

The Ride Leader Course is open to experienced riders nominated by their BUGs. Under the guidance of their Master Ride Leader (MRL), they prepare a Ride Plan, examine Case Studies and, most importantly, undergo practical assessment in leading groups of riders.

The Workshop, held  just before Christmas, canvassed a range of issues including:

  • Different ways for candidates to progress through the Course: ‘homework’ exercises, discussions with the MRL and practical riding with a group.
  • The importance of managing the maximum size of groups in different cycling environments. 
  • Ways of managing critical health incidents, such as cardiac events, which, though not common, require appropriate response by the Ride Leader.

Master Ride Leaders described how candidates developed their leadership skills as they progressed through the Course and became confident in planning routes and assuming the leadership of groups of riders.

The Master Ride Leader

The Master Ride Leader has a crucial role in accrediting new Ride Leaders. Previously this was almost exclusively done when the Ride Leader Course was run out of Bicycle NSW's head office by an experienced group of MRLs. 

With the new Course, the authority to accredit new Ride Leaders is delegated by the CEO of Bicycle NSW to MRLs in BUGs.

MRLs are highly experienced ride leaders who are capable of guiding candidate ride leaders through the full range of learning and assessment activities in the Course.

MRLs have an ongoing role in their BUGs to: 

  • identify and develop suitable new ride leaders
  • oversee Ride Leaders planning and conducting rides, and provide feedback as needed
  • undertake re-assessment and re-accreditation of Ride Leaders (recommended at 3-year intervals)
  • generally oversee all aspects of the BUG’s rides, to manage the key risks and ensure the provision of safe and enjoyable recreational rides for the public.

If you are interested in becoming a Ride Leader or Master Ride Leader, speak to your local BUG or visit the Bicycle NSW website for more information.

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