So you’re ready to do a group ride.
You’re comfortable on your bike and you’re ready for the challenge and camaraderie that comes with riding with others. Great!
Here are a couple tips to help you make sure you choose a good fit ride—something that fits what you’re capable of and challenges you to stretch your abilities, but not too much.
Know Your Pace
If you’re a sub-16mph rider, you don’t want to show up at the weekly sufferfest where the pace is upwards of 20mph or more. So do yourself a favor and take some time to know what your average pace is. If you have a device like a Garmin or Wahoo that measures speed and distance, it’s pretty easy to find out what kind of rider you are. Just look back at a few rides and see what your average pace was. Remember that your pace is going to be lower on hilly rides. You can also use your phone and an app like Strava to keep track of your rides.
If you don’t have a device, not to worry! Using a good old fashioned clock and a map, you can figure out how far your rides are and how long they take. If you check the map and your ride was about 15 miles, and it took you an hour, then your pace was 15mph. Livestrong has handy step-by-step instructions to calculate miles per hour.
Know the Ride
Now that you know what pace you can sustain, you have the information you need to pick a good fit ride. Group rides are often billed as “A,” “B,” or “C” rides, with A being the fastest and C being the slowest. What that actually translates to in terms of pace can vary from location to location since there isn’t a hard and fast rule. To find out what pace those letters mean, go ahead and ask. The ride organizers should be able to tell you what you can expect from their ride.
Here are a few other terms you may see
Means exactly what it sounds like. A no-drop ride will not leave a rider behind, even if the group gets separated on a hill, which is typical. Ride leaders will stop at the top or at intersections in order to regroup and make sure no one gets left behind.
Means that the pace will be easy enough for riders to be able to speak to one another. This of course will vary depending on the fitness of the riders, so you may want to investigate a little more.
If you’re new to group riding, try to find a group ride that is beginner-friendly, where someone will give you some pointers on how to ride in a group.
Finding a Ride
So how do you find a group ride? A great source of information is your local bike shop. They may well organize rides, and if not they should know of rides in the area.
No Ride in Your Area?
What if you live in an area where there’s no ride, or no ride that fits your ability level? Don’t give up. Rest assured, you are not the only one who wants to find someone to ride with. So start your own group ride! Your bike shop might be able to help you organize and spread the word.
Riding in a group is a great way to develop your riding ability and skill level. It’s also a great way to meet like-minded people who love to ride!