How do I join the group?
Click HERE and request to join. Our membership coordinator will contact you soon.
Is there a membership fee?
Membership in the Babes is free, but we do ask that you lead a ride from time to time after you get settled in. We count on everyone pitching in to make the group run smoothly. Occasionally we ask for small donations to cover the cost of our website.
How big is Babes on Bikes?
About 500. Just over 650 addresses are on our email list. People join all the time and some members subscribe with more than one address, so we can’t list an exact count here.
How many people ride regularly?
How many people on an average ride?
This is largely dependent on the time of year but there can be as few as 2 and as many as 20.
What can I expect on my first ride?
You should choose your first ride with care, perhaps underestimating your speed and ability. Many of the trail rides have no navigation issues and you can ride until you feel ready to turn around. Our membership coordinator can help you identify the best group to meet your cycling expectations.
What should I bring on a ride?
- A bike in good working order. Most of us ride road bikes, but many started riding on hybrids.
- A helmet, water bottle w/water, a snack.
- Sufficient tools to accomplish the maintenance of which you are capable, particularly a spare tube, pump and patch kit.
- A cell phone or change for a phone call and the number of a friend in case of mechanicals.
- If on a street ride, be prepared to follow the route, either with a bike computer or a cue sheet. A RwGPS route is usually included in the ride announcement. We stay together but expect riders to follow the route.
Why are most of your rides during the day on weekdays?
We have the trails to ourselves. This is when our active ride leaders want to ride. Many people have expressed interest in weekend rides, but few have taken the initiative to organize rides. If you prefer to ride on weekends, please organize rides. You will probably have a lot of company. We sometimes offer short hill rides on Saturday mornings.
Do you ride in the winter?
We usually continue riding through the winter, but our rides are shorter and less frequent. When the trails are icy, the roads are often clear. We do not ride the hill routes in the winter.
During winter 2023-2024, we will hike one weekday and bike another.
Where do the rides start?
Most rides start in Arlington, VA. Go to the Ride Start Locations Page for directions.
What is involved in leading a ride?
Choosing a route, starting time, pace, proposed rest stops and finish time. Introductions at the start and welcome of new riders. Paying attention that no one gets left in unknown territory.
- Post a ride announcement to the email list a day or two ahead of time. If it’s a special ride, provide more notice and post a reminder a day or two before the ride. Your announcement should specify meeting location, start time, pace, route, proposed rest stops, and approximate finish time. A link to a RwGPS route or cue sheet is helpful. If you are using a new cue sheet, you can include the cues at the bottom of the email.
- Keep track of RSVPs so you know who to expect at the start. Optional to acknowledge that you look forward to riding with them. It is also helpful to exchange cell phone numbers via email to facilitate communication if someone is late to the start.
- If weather is bad, cancel the ride by posting to the list and notifying RSVPs.
- At the start, welcome new riders, facilitate introductions and initiate start.
- During the ride, keep track of riders and lead the route. This can be delegated.
- Post a ride report to the email list.
Does the group ride together or spread out on the route? Do you wait for slower riders? Do you wait for babes who are late to the start?
This depends on the ride leader and the type of ride. On trail rides or slower rides, we are more inclined to wait for slower riders or at least assign riding buddies so nobody is left behind completely on their own. Fast rides on roads work best when the riders naturally have the same pace. We often spread out on hill rides and rarely wait for each other. They are relatively short and the same routes over and over so we expect riders to learn the routes and ride at their own pace.
Some leaders wait for late arrivals; others leave promptly even if they expect Babes who have not yet arrived. If you encounter traffic on the way to the start, phone the ride leader to discuss the situation.
What pace do you ride? How can I tell which rides would be appropriate for me?
The pace of the ride is listed as an AVERAGE speed. This includes slower times for climbing, stopping at intersections, and making turns.
Who designed the cue sheets? How can I share my favorite routes with the babes?
The routes were designed by several inveterate Babes and are revised from time to time to accommodate new roads or paths. If you have a favorite route you can submit it to the webmaster. Please submit your cue sheets in the same format as the other cue sheets we provide.
Can I use the cue sheets for a ride with another group?
Yes, but please credit the source.
What are the abbreviations on the cue sheets?
S = straight
tro = to remain on
More information on how to read a cue sheet.
Who is in charge? What is the organizational structure?
This group has a very distributed leadership. We have the following positions that are often changing: a president, a membership coordinator, a treasurer, a secretary, a photographer, a webmaster, and email list manager. Other jobs include: jersey orderer, social/ride events coordinator, and RIDE LEADERS. Many people contribute to the leadership without a specific job title. Everyone takes turns leading rides. This group relies on help from every participant.
What is appropriate to post to the email list?
Feel free to email the group on biking related matters. If you think there is information that the group would enjoy of a more general nature, please put “OFF-TOPIC” in your subject line, so those who are not interested can quickly delete the message. All of us are deluged with emails these days, so please use discretion when emailing the entire list. Please take a moment to review the email posting policy below. It might seem a bit much, but with a large group, we’ve had to put this in place to protect us from a lot of unwanted emails. Click here for our Email posting policy.
Can I post impromptu rides on the list?
How many emails can I expect to receive? Is there a way to get a daily digest or read messages only on the web?
Google Groups rates this email list as low activity. Expect 45-125 email messages per month. The average seems to be around 75 messages per month, with highest traffic from March through October.
How do I access the emails on the web?
You don’t need to use Gmail, but you do need a Google Account to read email on the web. Go to the Ride Announcement Page for more information on how to access the Google Group.
How do I find a riding buddy?
Post a ride. Or an off-topic email describing your time and geographic considerations. Several babes who cannot ride with the group have used our email list to find riding partners.
Can I start a sub-group of the babes in my neighborhood?
Why all women?
We find that the whole atmosphere of a ride is different. Our rides feel less competitive (although some of us still ride faster in a group than alone). The conversations are different. It is easier to support each other.
Can men and children ever ride with the group?
Yes. If you want to bring a male friend, please ask the ride leader first. Leaders are usually happy to include men who do not try to take over.
How do I join the Facebook group?
The Babes on Bikes Facebook group is closed, so only members can see postings.
How do I get a jersey?
Only members can order jerseys. We place orders every couple of years depending on the demand. Often one or two jerseys are available in between large orders.
I’ve seen the Babes and Babes Magnets riding in the MS 150 Charity Ride. Is that group associated with you?
Yes. This subgroup has been riding the MS 150 ride since 1999. More information on this group is available here.
Who founded the babes? When?
Beth Norcross is the founder of Babes on Bikes. The group was founded in 1998.
How do I contact the webmaster?
Please email email@example.com if you have questions, corrections, or suggested changes to the web page. Visit our Contact Us page to get in touch with other members of the group leadership.