Amateur ignorant ride organiser needs advice about participants having punctures

ontodva

Regular
I organise and lead free cycle rides in London via postings on a social website and the typical participant I would meet for the first time just before the ride starts. I have done it without knowledgeable advice from anyone else (except about legal liability). I am just bumbling along but I realise some of my participants can have a justifiable expectation I as leader will know what to do in problem situations.

I would appreciate advice about how to help my riders having a puncture or having their bike damaged during a ride.

When a rider has a puncture and I happen to have an inner tube that will fit should I just offer it without expecting the cost of it back? I don't want to offer one conditional of payment. Should I carry multiple inner tubes for riders including myself? Surely not, but then if someone can't continue, what then? Ask for a volunteer to accompany them to a train station? Go with them myself and abandon the ride? And if there is no train station in a reasonable distance?

When a bike can't even be freewheeled I can't leave the rider alone unless they insist. What is the recommended solution for that?

Under what circumstances should I consider calling the ride off en route and leaving the riders to their own initiatives? I think that would depend on the number in the group and if any are potentially vulnerable.

There is no cycling group or club I am a member of that would have policies of its own involved. All decisions are mine alone. I am insured against my own and my riders' negligence so liability is not an issue. Nor is first aid. My concern is the safety and enjoyment of the party when one needs mechanical or puncture assistance.
 

Ian H

I am an ancient randonneur, & I often stop for tea
Location
East Devon
The first thing to do is decide on the parameters for your groups. Complete beginners? Improvers? Basically competent? Communicate with them as to what you expect (check basic road-worthiness, bring spare tube, pump, etc.) prior to any ride.
Good luck. It's a difficult job.
 

cougie uk

Über Member
Don't go down the route of taking multiple tubes with you. That's crazy.

I'd ask people attending to bring a spare tube for their bikes and be fairly confident of being able to swap a tube.

If they can't I'm sure others will oblige but they need to at least meet you half way with their responsibility.
 

DRM

Guru
Location
West Yorks
Should insist on a puncture repair kit, tube and pump, if your participants have those, your sorted, fixing a tube rather than replacing should be the first step, if someone has a tubeless set up that’s a whole other ball game if it won’t seal, but I wouldn’t expect beginners to have that on their bikes anyway, if you have a multi tool and tyre levers you should be ok for a lot of eventualities
 

vickster

Legendary Member
I’d say as ride leader you of course need to be capable of helping with puncture repairs and sorting basic mechanicals. Also checking bikes for road worthiness before setting off
 

Profpointy

Legendary Member
I’d say as ride leader you of course need to be capable of helping with puncture repairs and sorting basic mechanicals. Also checking bikes for road worthiness before setting off
Not sure I'd want to go down the road of checking everyone's bikes - if you check and miss something, you're potentially in a big pickle as you'd have in a sense certified the bike was OK

I'd be very much inclined to say particicipants are expected to ensure their bikes are legal and roadworthy and that the rider is expected to be able to do their own repairs such as punctures. I'd specificially say the organisers are not responsible for roadworthy checks of the participants.
 

Sittingduck

Legendary Member
Location
Somewhere flat
Should insist on a puncture repair kit, tube and pump, if your participants have those, your sorted, fixing a tube rather than replacing should be the first step, if someone has a tubeless set up that’s a whole other ball game if it won’t seal, but I wouldn’t expect beginners to have that on their bikes anyway, if you have a multi tool and tyre levers you should be ok for a lot of eventualities
Surely on a group ride the objective in the event of a puncture is to get moving again ASAP? Swapping out for a new or known good tube would make a lot more sense than having everybody wait around while newbies try to actually patch the tube and ensure no objects remain stuck in the tyre etc. Maybe I am mis reading though.
 

Big John

Guru
Being a ride leader comes with a shedload of responsibility but the individual rider also has his responsibilities e.g. make sure they're carrying tube, tyre leavers, pump or CO2 as well as making sure their bike is roadworthy before the ride begins. Saying that, we never had any issues to speak of in all the years I rode with the club. Sure, we had many incidents but all were sorted. It also helped when mobile phones appeared on the scene and although you can't really make it compulsory it makes sense to carry one on a ride. Our ride leader owned our LBS so mechanicals were never an issue. Often he'd change a tube without using tyre leavers. I never did work out how he did that 🤔
 

DRM

Guru
Location
West Yorks
Surely on a group ride the objective in the event of a puncture is to get moving again ASAP? Swapping out for a new or known good tube would make a lot more sense than having everybody wait around while newbies try to actually patch the tube and ensure no objects remain stuck in the tyre etc. Maybe I am mis reading though.
You still need to check for sharp objects regardless of a tube swap or repair, fixing the tube means you still have a good spare tube, and it doesn’t take that much longer to do
 
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ontodva

Regular
I bring a multi tool, levers, puncture repair kit, 2 inner tubes fitting my 37mm 700c tyres. What about a rider who can't continue? Abandon them? Ask for volunteer to go with them? Go with them myself and abandon the ride?
I do suggest they carry inner tube or repair kit, levers, pump. I'm not going to make it mandatory.
 

Brooks

Well-Known Member
Location
S.E. London
I do similar to you in that I lead rides on a weekly basis. Every week on our pre ride briefing we mention the responsibility of all participants to have spare inner tubes and the tools needed to deal with a puncture at the very least.
We will of course help when we can but people are responsible for their own bikes at the end of the day.
 

Sharky

Guru
Location
Kent
Don't over think it. If you have a crisis, the solution becomes apparent very quickly and all learn for the next time.
 
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Sittingduck

Legendary Member
Location
Somewhere flat
You still need to check for sharp objects regardless of a tube swap or repair, fixing the tube means you still have a good spare tube, and it doesn’t take that much longer to do
Yes you’re right about checking the tyre for the offending object of course but I don’t agree that patching a tube (properly) is the best way to resolve in this scenario maybe it’s just me and I am more open to the risk of needing to use my second spare tube in the unlikely event I need to. Each to their own I suppose.
 
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