The Ride Guide

Do you have an idea for a ride, but you’re not sure how to make it happen? Do you want to lead a ride, but you still need an idea? This guide can help you out.

You don’t need to be an awesome biker to lead a ride. Anyone can lead a ride, including you. Once you have your idea, add your ride to the calendar.


Comic with ride tips

I Need a Ride Idea!

Your ride’s theme can be almost anything. Here are some common themes to get you started. If you have an idea that’s not on the list, that’s great –– we’re not here to constrain you.

  • Parks, green spaces, and the great outdoors: Vancouver has fantastic green spaces, and bikes are a great way to explore them.
  • Food. Eating is a great way to socialize: You can work a food stop into your ride, do a tour of eateries, or ride to a park for a picnic.
  • Hidden gems: Know a place that’s off the beaten track? Maybe a quaint park, fantastic corner deli, or nifty art piece. Work that into your ride.
  • Local history: Do you know the history of your neighbourhood (or want an excuse to learn more)? Plan a ride that tours places of historical interest, and give a little talk at each stop.
  • Hobby: What do you do besides ride? Maybe others want to do that too, or learn about it: a ride to chicken coops, a photography ride, or an opera music ride.
  • Activism: Build awareness for your cause with a bike tour. Visit important sites, talk about your work, make signs and get attention.
  • Dress code: You’re never too old to play dress-up. Get out your stylish/dorky/sexy/vintage/whatever outfits and ride around. Passers-by will wave and cheer, and you’ll have a blast.

Need more inspiration? Check out what’s already on the Velopalooza calendar. Or, since Velopalooza is inspired by Portland’s Pedalpalooza, check out their calendar (bonus points for putting a uniquely Vancouver spin on a Portland idea).

Practical Considerations

  • Starting location: A good starting location is reachable by bike and is a place where people can chat while they wait. Parks, coffee shops, and bakeries fit the bill nicely.
  • Departure time: Some people will show up late. We’re all having fun here, so there’s usually no reason to leave right on time. If your ride does need to be punctual, mention that in the ride description.
  • Weather: If your ride will happen rain or shine, note that in the description. It’s a good idea to start an all weather ride somewhere with shelter, because waiting around in the rain can be less pleasant than riding in it.
  • Conflicting rides: It’s OK to schedule your ride at the same time as another ride. But you might not want to if you’ll both appeal to the same kind of people.
  • Plan a safe route: Since most rides are social rides, use a bike map to make for a safe, leisurely route. Otherwise, note this to be a hell-raiser ride!
  • Keep people informed, together, and welcomed: Before you leave, give a rough overview of the route you’ll be taking. (If the route is a mystery, let people know that.) As you ride, keep the group together. Stop (when it’s safe) to let slower riders catch up. It’s helpful to designate someone to be a sweeper– to ride at the back of the pack and make sure nobody gets left behind. Finally, let people know you’re glad they came on your ride.
  • Food and beverage: People bond better when filling their faces in close proximity to one another. Having a food stop is a good idea, especially around meal times. Rides that end at a place with food service give people a chance to socialize after the ride.
  • Spread the word: After you’ve added your event to the calendar, you can promote it some more. Telling people in person is the most effective promotion. Invite your friends; invite your neighbours; invite people you meet on other rides. (If you want to get fancy, you can print out fliers to remind people of your ride.) You can also promote your ride online – Twitter, Facebook and the e-mail list are all good for that.
  • Don’t let disappointment get you down: Sometimes people just don’t show up to a ride. It happens. When it happens, be glad of the effort you made, and know your bicycle will always bring you happiness.
  • Supplies: Need a megaphone? Need a sound system for a big crowd? Have other questions about putting on a ride? Join the Velopalooza Ride Leaders Group and ask there!

Make Your Ride a Reality

Ready to add your ride? Add it to the calendar. If you’ve got a question that this page doesn’t answer, check with the Calendar Crew.