The System

The Trail Riding System (incorporating the dropoff system) is the system used by a group of riders to keep the ride moving with the minimum amount of disruption (or confusion).


  • The run leader leads the riders on the route. They always lead and they control the ride.
  • At a gate the run leader stops and the second rider becomes the gate opener and opens the gate. This may involve getting off and safely parking the bike to deal with latches, ropes and poor gate hanging. They may need to hold the gate open for the other riders.
  • The run leader passes through the open gate and may either continue the ride or may use this stop to rest a few yards on and/or check the route.
  • The third rider stops on the far side of the gate and becomes the gate closer. They safely park their bike and walk back to take over holding the gate. The gate opener may need to explain how to close the gate as it was found. The gate opener may return to their bike.
  • Other riders filter though but don’t overtake the run leader who  will continue when they are ready.
  • When the back marker (the last rider in the group) arrives they will go through the gate passing the gate opener and gate closer and wait.
  • The gate opener now continues joining the end of the ride.
  • The gate closer closes the gate and continues joining the end of the ride.
  • The back marker continues as the last rider again.
  • At the next gate there is a new ‘gate opener’ and ‘gate closer’.


  • Each rider should follow the rider in front at a pace that is comfortable for them, Don’t get too close but try to keep them in sight. Generally no overtaking. If you can’t see the rider in front at junctions go straight on or take the major route at a fork. From time to time especially at junctions check you can see the rider following behind and slow down if necessary.
  • If the run leader gets to a junction they may point to the junction indicating they require a marker. When the second rider (the rider AFTER the run leader) sees the run leader doing this they should come to a standstill and ‘drop off‘ the ride, positioning themselves on the junction, out of the way of traffic, bike facing in the direction that following riders are to take, indicating by hand if necessary. They are now a marker.
  • Subsequent riders follow the direction indicated by the marker(s).
  • At any junction without a marker continue straight on or on the major route.
  • When the back marker reaches a marker they indicate to them to continue (unless they wish to discuss something). The marker continues joining the end of the ride with the back marker as the last rider.

Other Rules:

  • All riders need to know the run leader and the back marker. These two riders should be experienced in the system and know each others telephone numbers.
  • All riders should follow the TRF code of conduct.
  • If there is a problem the back marker will most likely come across it and may contact the run leader (by telephone) to decide what to do.
  • If you need or want to leave the ride you must tell the run leader or the back marker.
  • Always make sure at junctions the rider BEHIND you can follow you. Stopping if necessary for as long as it takes.

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