Part of being a Bike and Build trip leader is inevitably some aspect of leadership. To me, the most important parts of the leader position are logistics: finding a place for 30 bicyclists to eat and sleep for free, planning safe routes, coordinating gear orders, and making sure people are training, raising money, and thinking about the issues at hand, these are what define my role. In a sense, I would think that "Trip Coordinator" is a better title than "Trip Leader."

The last time I did this, it took me a while to figure out that riders do in fact rely on the people running the show fairly directly, and both appreciate and benefit from competent "leadership." With that said, I'd like to enumerate some of the philosophical points that (hopefully) frame the way I plan and help coordinate a big trip like Bike and Build:

* Equality. The people on this trip are close enough to me in age, maturity, and education to be considered my peers. I like to think of everyone as being at about the same level.
* Transparency. The only thing that differentiates me from any other rider on this trip is the inordinate amount of time I'm spending dealing with logistics, and thinking of things I can do and say to help everyone have a better time on the road. There are no secrets here; I try to be as open as I can, in the hopes that I'll receive constructive feedback.
* Attention to detail. As an engineer type, I like to see things run perfectly smoothly. I tend to spend more time looking into things with more depth.
* Patience. I'm not very good at this one. I like things to be done quickly and perfectly; I need to work on being more flexible, and more forgiving. What I can say is that doing anything for a large group of individuals takes time, planning, and a large degree of patience.
* Delegation. I have a fair amount of energy, and can get a decent amount of things done in a day, but there are upper bounds to what I'm capable of doing alone. Delegation goes with equality: since we're all on the same level, all of us can do things that help the trip run more smoothly.
* Selflessness. This is another tough one, for me. I see this as being able to put down what you're doing to help someone else. This is all well and good in theory, but I do need some amount of personal time, and as mentioned above, there are upper bounds to how much I can do in a single day.

I know (hope) that people are reading this, so I'd like to open this to everyone. What aspects of leadership do you find appealing or necessary? What does leadership mean to you? If you are on a Bike and Build trip this summer, or were in the past, what things did the trip leaders do (or not do) to make your summer better?

Thank you and goodnight.