Leading a bicycle ride from time to time is something all regular and semi-regular club riders should do.
However, leading is more than getting out in front and having people follow you.
So, for all the leaders I have known and followed, both good and bad, here is the obvious list of dos . . . so many of which are not done.
1. KNOW YOUR ROUTE. Look at it on a map. Drive it or ride if you must. Have a detailed cue sheet if necessary. Nothing is a worse drag than following someone who really has no idea of where they are going.
First time leaders get some leeway. It is okay to ask for help from other riders, but not to the point that they are leading you. We all get turned around from time to time or under/over estimate distance and time. However, it is your job to understand enough about the roads to compensate, if necessary.
2. KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE ON YOUR RIDE AND WHERE THEY ARE. Rides get strung out all the time. You may need a sweep or a drop to make sure the last person is not the lost person.
By the same token if someone is terribly holding of the ride, constantly, and they do not have the courtesy to drop themselves, you may need to point them home on their own.
3. ALLOW FOR BREAKS AT A REASONABLE POINT. A pit stop after 45 minutes is fine. A lunch stop less than half way through the ride is poor planning.
4. GO FOR AN INTERESTING ROUTE. If you cannot come up with one, get one from your club forum, ride list or another member.
5. ON RIDES WITH LOTS OF TURNS HAVE SOME REALLY GOOD CUE SHEETS. Hand these out to riders who will sweep or drop for you.
6. ASK FOR HELP PULLING IF YOU NEED IT. Or, lead from several riders back and call out turns if no one will volunteer.
7. RIDE SAFER THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE GROUP
So simple, yet so often ignored.