new rider


Rules for Rookies #1: For those of you worried about…

  • Arriving last/not being fast: Don’t worry, Ride for Missions is NOT a race. We all look out for each other, and you will find a group of people that you can ride with. You will not be dropped and left to fend for yourself at any time. And remember, you have all day, just ride from one stop to the next.

  • Completing the whole daily route: Relax, covering 50-100 miles each day may feel like a lot, but there is nothing wrong with taking a break and riding with one of the SAG (Support and Gear) vehicles if you need it.

Rules for Rookies #2: Maps and directions

  • Handouts will be available for those who need a paper map and/or cue sheets to follow.  View this year’s route here.
  • The route will be marked on the roads each day: There will be an “R” with an arrow before each turn and at each turn, and confirmation marks after each turn and every so often on long stretches without turns.
  • If you get lost, call the RFM Coordinator or one of the SAG crew (phone numbers will be available at the ride kickoff)

Rules for Rookies #3: Starts and stops

  • Start time is when you want to start. We suggest leaving by 8 am on the first day, but it is your decision. We do not have a group start time.
  • A morning break is usually arranged at approximately the 30 mile mark. This break includes snacks and water.
  • There is an additional water station somewhere in between the hotel and morning break station. If you are in an early or late group, it may not be there. If you need food or water, stop and buy what you need.
  • The lunch station is usually 30-50 miles from the start, depending on the length of the route for the day. The lunch location will be clearly marked and will typically be in a park slightly off the route. The SAG crews feed us very well, so don’t worry about food at lunch.
  • On long days there may also be an afternoon break, with a water station somewhere along the road.
  • Plan your day so that you arrive at the hotel no later than 5 pm (3 pm is better). If you arrive by 5 pm you will have time to shower, get a quick supper and be ready for the evening meeting, which we try to start at 7 pm. The earlier you arrive at the hotel the more relaxed your evening will be. However, if you arrive before 2 pm, the hotel may not have the rooms available yet.
  • Each evening there is a meeting, and all riders are required to attend. If you cannot attend the evening meeting, please let someone know. This meeting includes information for the next day’s ride and this is where you get maps and cue sheets for the next day. It also includes a worship service; usually a little singing and a short meditation from the ride pastor, and sometimes one of the riders speak. The meeting starts at 7 pm (on the 100-mile “century” day we might start a little later).

Rules for Rookies #4: Stuff you need to know

  • Each rider is responsible for lodging costs: the costs can be paid here.
  • Riders are responsible for their own supper; there are usually a variety of restaurants to choose from in the area of the hotel. If not, a shuttle to nearby restaurants will be provided.
  • Breakfast will be included with the hotel costs.
  • Breaks and lunch are provided by the SAG crew at no cost to the riders. If you need or want special foods during the ride, you are responsible for those.
  • There is a supper planned for all riders on Thursday evening at 5:30; family members in the area are also invited to attend.
  • For those of you needing housing on Thursday night (after the ride concludes), contact the lodging committee at the CMC conference meetings at or make your own arrangements.

What to Expect: A typical day for me on RFM

By Merlin Miller

I try to be in the breakfast room by 7 am and eat whatever looks good at the time. I don’t like eating syrupy things before a ride but some people do.

My typical day is unlike some other riders’ because I usually don’t know who I am going to ride with until about the time to leave the hotel. While some riders ride with the same people every day, I like to ride with as many different people as possible during the 5 days, but that is just what I like.

Once I figure out who I am riding with, I make sure my bike is in order, check my tire pressure (there are always lots of pumps around to use, but if you like yours then you can bring it), and check my brakes (don’t forget to fill your water bottles). A small lap around the hotel is a good way to check your bike.

On the road, the morning water stop is always a welcome sight and is a good place to fill water bottles if needed. Not everyone stops at these but I usually do. Lunch is also a welcome sight (in case you haven’t figured it out yet, food is an important part of these 5 days). There is always lots of food at lunch – sandwiches (build yourself), fruit, cookies, chips, etc. Lunch for me is a social and resting time. I often take at least an hour at lunch to eat, talk, and if a nap is calling my name, take a nap (on 100 mile days I don’t linger quite as long).

Back on the road, if an ice cream shop or a coffee shop show themselves towards the end of the day you will probably find me hanging out there if I have time (if I could find a coffee shop where they also sell ice cream, I think I would be in heaven!). I will also stop at the afternoon break if there is one. I try to get to the hotel around 3 to 4 pm; the rooms are usually open by then and that way I will have time to find some chocolate milk to drink and shower before I start looking for a restaurant.

The evening meal is the most complicated of the day. What am I hungry for? What restaurants are available? Who am I eating with? These are all very important questions that need answers and the sooner the better! Once I figure all that out, I am usually very hungry, so if you are eating with me don’t dilly-dally around, I want to eat! LOL!

After supper, I go back to the hotel and make sure the plans for the evening meeting are in place (where are we meeting and are the worship leader and speaker ready?).

After the meeting, I play a few games, hang out in the common room, and am in bed before midnight.

That is my typical day, but if you ask other riders, their day may look a bit different.