by Dave Hansen, Safety Officer
In 2000, I authored a ride rating system that the Board of Directors adopted for use by the Chapter. As we move into our riding season, I'd like to take time to review what the ride rating system is and how it should be used by the membership.
This system is comprised of two parts:
1. A Rating System for the rides.
2. A Rating System for the riders.
The rating system for the rides should be fairly easy to understand. We rate all our rides as one star, two star or three star rides.
The easiest is the one star ride, requiring some minimum rider & riding skills.
The hardest is the three star ride, requiring a much more rigorous set of rider & riding skills.
The two star ride requires what I consider to be average rider & riding skills.
I'll not repeat the complete rides definitions here, but refer you to the Ride Rating System located elsewhere on the Website. The important point here is that the rides are rated by the Road Captain and/or Event Coordinator for that event.
This is done to provide the membership with a guideline for determining what level of riding skills are needed to participate in the ride, using the planned route, riding with the group. It is not done to exclude anyone from participating in the activity.
The rating system for the riders is a bit more difficult to understand. This is because it's designed to provide a criteria set that each rider uses to rate their own riding abilities. The criteria outline several specific qualifications we want to see in a rider in order to ride safely within a group. The criteria set increases with each step from minimum skills (one star) to average skills (two star) to advanced skills (three star), with each rider skills level matching a ride rating level.
In order to have the Ride Rating System work effectively for the safety of the whole group, each individual rider must fairly evaluate their own riding abilities to determine if they can expect to ride with the group for any given ride.
This does not mean anyone is specifically excluded from participating in a ride. It does mean that if you don't have the requisite skills/experience, you should plan to meet the group at the destination, riding separate from the group, perhaps with another rider of similar or higher skills/experience.
Remember, we've developed the Ride Rating System as a tool to assist in providing safer group rides for everyone involved, regardless of your individual skill/experience level, but the system will only work if each member actively and voluntarily participates in rating themselves as a rider.