The orientation rides are designed to teach riders things that will be critical to safety during The Ride for Missing Children. These important factors need to be understood and practiced so that on Ride day there are no serious crashes and the group is able to stay on schedule for the school stops.

Learning to ride side by side and staying in a tight organized line on the road is very important. The more organized the line, the safer it is. The more efficiently we move through traffic and intersections the better, keeping the motoring public from being delayed and/or aggravated with us.

Communication is vital to keeping the riders safe as well. Turns, stops, dangerous road sections and approaching traffic all pose a threat to a large group ride. Leaning to get this important information to all the riders in a timely fashion is a main goal of the orientation rides.

Fitness is a part of the process too. You should still be riding on your own in order to be ready for a century. You will see rapid improvement with one or two short, fast, intense, rides mid week. The orientation rides will be approximately 20 miles in length.

On orientation rides, as on Ride day, some riders have the role of “shepherd.” These riders are dressed in white jerseys so that they are easily identified. Shepherds lead the route, control the pace, and help individual riders who may be having physical or mechanical trouble.

Riders who attend orientation rides on a regular basis are sure to realize the benefits on the day of the actual event and often thank the shepherds for their efforts leading up to the big day. When you train and ride as a team we all ride safer and happier.