Road Captains lead group rides, from just a couple of people to many. The Road Captain is responsible for planning and organizing a ride, getting the group to the destination, and the safety of that ride. On long rides, Road Captains plan stops along the way, and if it goes overnight, where everyone is going to stay. The Sweep takes up the rear, handing things from split-up groups, to downed riders during the ride.
Anyone can lead or sweep a ride, but it helps to know a little about how to do it. While we currently have no formal training for Road Captains, there are a number of documents that can help. In addition to hitting the books, you have a whole support network at Eastside HOG. Most Road Captains are happy to talk about getting started, tips and tricks, and share experiences they've had over the years. You can reach out to any board member to get connected, or go online to the ES Roadhog Facebook forum. You can also message the Head Road Captain ([email protected]) with questions. Road Captains have all been there; there are no dumb questions, only mistakes later if you don't know the answer.
While anyone can lead a ride, not everyone earns their Road Captain rocker patch. To get the patch, you need to lead or sweep at least a few rides and show you're active in the chapter. Just leading a group once and then going dark won't get you a patch. When you think you're ready for your patch, let the board know. The board will discuss what they've seen or heard on your rides and interaction in the chapter. If you bring the enthusiasm and commitment that many of our members bring, you'll be getting your patch at a future chapter meeting.
The chapter periodically has group rides for folks that want to be Road Captains, and go on to earning their patch. These rides are usually organized by the Head Road Captain or the Safety Officer. There is a short meeting before the ride to talk about safety, hand signals, and best practices. You then ride, sometimes switching off who's leading or sweeping. Many of these rides end with a lunch where riders and talk about how the ride went and what might be improved on the next time out. Like everything in the Eastside HOG chapter, it's all about camaraderie and sharing information.
A group ride is a thrilling experience, whether a lunch run after a chapter meeting or a week long Five Destinations of Summer adventure. Join others for a few group rides, and step up to organizing your own ride.