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ALC12 Distance Training rides: General info

Welcome to the ALC12 Distance Training rides in Mountain View!

Here is some basic information about our rides, including locations, logistics, and other things that you should know before you ride with us. When you RSVP to one of our rides, you'll get a link to this page plus additional information specific to that ride.

Location: We meet in the city parking lot across the street from the Tied House restaurant, at the intersection of Villa and Franklin streets in downtown Mountain View (map). Parking on weekends is free and unlimited. The facilitator's vehicle is usually parked in the back of the lot, and you should see a table with a sign-in sheet, some light refreshments, and other items.

Restrooms: No restrooms are available at our meeting location. The police station across the street has restrooms, but their availability is not guaranteed. Several coffeehouses along nearby Castro Street (two blocks away) are open early, and a Safeway and 24-hour Jack in the Box are on Shoreline Blvd. between Highway 101 and downtown. Starbucks is available just north of the Shoreline exit off 101 and at the south end of Castro Street in downtown.

Meeting time: Please plan to arrive before the scheduled meeting time so that you have time to unpack your bicycle, change any clothing, and take care of any other matters. We begin pre-ride activities promptly at the meeting time, and we always ride out promptly at the scheduled ride-out time.

Transit access: The Mountain View Caltrain and VTA light rail station is in downtown, about four blocks from our meeting location. The first southbound train from San Francisco arrives at 9:29 a.m., which gets you to our meeting location in time for at least the first five rides of our season. When our meeting times become earlier than 9:30, you won't be able to use southbound Caltrain. Sorry!

Safety speech: All riders must be physically present and attentive during the mandatory safety speech for each ride, which begins 10 minutes before scheduled ride-out time. If you arrive during or after the safety speech, you will not be able to officially ride with us that day, and any riding that you choose to do will be on your own. Safety is our top priority. Please take a couple of minutes to review the AIDS/LifeCycle Code of Conduct at this link. In a group such as ours, in which riders of many different experience levels will be participating, it's vital that we all follow the same rules so that we know what to expect of each other. It's essential that every rider observe all stop signs and traffic signals without exception.

Route sheets: When you RSVP, you will get a link to the preliminary route sheet for your ride. Please study it in advance, especially if you are unfamiliar with part of the route. This will help reduce the chances of taking a wrong turn during the ride, and we don't want you to ride any bonus miles. The preliminary route sheet can change due to last-minute road work or other activities, so be sure to pick up a printed route sheet when you check in on ride morning. Even if you have loaded the route into a GPS device, the route sheet is important because it contains phone numbers for the ride leaders and support volunteers who will be on the road with you. (And GPS devices can fail, too!)

The route: Our route is not marked with pavement arrows or signs. You will need to refer to the route sheet often during the ride in order to avoid making a wrong turn, and to note important safety information and other occurrences along the route. We strongly recommend that you use a map holder, binder clips, or some other technique so that you can safely refer to the route sheet while you are riding. Do not rely on ride leaders or other riders to direct you. We often will be on roads that are used by other cyclists, and they might not be going to the same place that you're going.

Rain policy: All of our rides are "heavy rain cancels." There is no hard and fixed rule about what constitutes "heavy" rain, but in general, we will not ride if standing water is accumulating over a significant part of our route. This means that we usually do ride in sprinkles and light showers, although we might ride an alternate route in some cases where road conditions could be hazardous, particularly in steep, remote areas. If a ride is cancelled, a notice will be posted at ridewithchris.org as soon as possible (usually not until the morning of the ride), and at least one ride leader will be at the meeting location. Keep in mind that weather conditions can vary widely across the Bay Area, so rain in one location might not mean rain in another.

Rider support: Most of our rides have at least one SAG (Support And Gear) vehicle on the route. SAG vehicles usually have basic supplies such as tubes and a floor pump, plus small amounts of water and food for cyclists who run out between scheduled stops. Do not rely on the SAG vehicles to feed you. In case of mechanical failure or other circumstances that might prevent you from finishing a ride, a SAG driver sometimes can return you to Mountain View or some other intermediate point. However, this service is not guaranteed, and you are ultimately responsible for finding transportation if you are unable to complete a ride. Our SAG drivers are volunteers who are not reimbursed for their expenses; if you can do so, please consider making a small donation to them to help cover the cost of their fuel and other supplies.

Sign out: You must sign out at the end of every ride that you begin. Usually, you do this by signing the sign-out sheet at the end of the ride. But if you leave the route at some other point, you must notify a ride leader; the facilitator's day is not done until every rider has been accounted for. The easiest way to notify us that you have left the route is to send a text message to the facilitator (the number is on the route sheet). A text message is preferred over email because most ride leaders do not check email while riding. Be sure to include your full name in the text message because we probably can't identify you by just a phone number.

Have fun! Yes, we have a lot of rules and guidelines. These are for your safety and the safety of the other participants and those around us. But don't forget to have fun on the ride and remember the reasons why you ride. Thank you for being part of AIDS/LifeCycle!