Getting Started & FAQ

What to Bring
  Bicycle in good/safe working condition with good tires (required)
  Bicycle helmet (required)
  Money for lunch or your own snacks (good idea)
  Spare tube and wrench to take off wheels they are not quick release (good idea)
 
Pre-ride Meeting
Before starting the ride, there is a pre-ride meeting with a quick introduction, a review of the route and bicycle safety. 
 
The Ride
Typically there will be two ride leaders - one in the front & one in the back.  Find a pace that is comfortable for you between 10 - 12 mph on the flats.  We usually re-group at the top of hills and prior to turns.  Occassionally the group with get spread out and if you loose sight of the front leader, just slow down until the back group catches up to you. 
 
If you get a flat, the back ride leader will help you fix your flat.  It does help if you have a spare tube.  If you have other mechanical problems, we maybe able to help but if necessary you will need to arrange for a friend to pick you up. 
 
If you want to ride faster than the group or want to leave the ride, just let the ride leader know & you can take off on your own.
 
If you can not ride at a 10 - 12 mph pace or have troubles that cause the leader to question whether you can complete the ride, you will be asked early in the ride to return to the starting point.
 
Mid-Ride Break
Usually the ride will include a lunch break of about 30 to 45 minutes.
 
Ride Events
Some rides include an event such as visiting the Bellevue Botanical Gardens or other tour.  This information will be included in ride description. 
 
Post Ride Activities
On occasion, we will go out for coffee or other beverage after the ride.   
 
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
 
How long will the ride last? -  A 20 mile ride with a lunch break usually takes about 4 hours.  If there is a ferry ride involved, the ride usually takes 6 to 8 hours. 
 
Am I fit/fast enough for the ride? - It is recommended that you consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise regime.  It is also a good idea to build up your bicycle mileage gradually.  Although not required, an inexpensive bicycle odometer, will tell you how fast you are going, how far you have traveled and give you a sense of accomplishment as the miles accumulate.  Before attempting your first 20 mile ride of the year, it is advisable to go out on some shorter rides (3,5,10,15 miles etc).  This gives your body a chance to strengthen gradually, for you to practice your bicycle handling skills and to confirm that your bike is in good mechanical condition.
 
Are children welcome? - If you regularly ride with your children and they can ride comfortably on city streets, they are welcome to come.  Typically, we do not have children on the ride but we have had a few adventurous parents with tag alongs make the ride.
 
Are your rides on a trail? - Most of our rides are on city & county streets with or without a bike lane or shoulder.  We look for the safest routes on less traveled side streets but on occasion have to travel on busier streets.  During the summer, the Burke Gilman and Sammamish River Trails are using pretty crowded.  During the winter, we will use a trail if it helps us get to our destination.