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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
is there such thing as "rule of thumb" average speeds for group rides? For example, should I expect a C ride to avg 15mph, a B ride 20mph, an A ride ??

I do most of my training alone, so I am curious about how fast the various group rides are.

thanks
 

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Since you ask about A v. B vs. C, I'm assuming your talking about group training rides frequented by racers and non-racer speed freaks. If you've never done a group training ride, expect to get dropped unless it is explicitly advertised as a "No drop" ride.

Avg mph guidelines are impossible - it depends so much on terrain, distance, wind, who's feeling chipper, etc. Speeds in groups are faster than solo. Average speeds also don't tell you max speeds - a ride may average 18 mph, but there may be a stretch where the group pacelines at 25 mph.

Recreational group rides are a different matter, but I'm not aware that these typically segregate into A, B, and C groups - at least in the area where I live.
 

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bauerb said:
is there such thing as "rule of thumb" average speeds for group rides? For example, should I expect a C ride to avg 15mph, a B ride 20mph, an A ride ??

I do most of my training alone, so I am curious about how fast the various group rides are.

thanks

better to ask the ride leader, or somebody that has done the ride(s)
 

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The guys I ride with do about 22mph on flats. I've learned tp pull only as much as I can. I may do 50 strokes even though the guy before me did 300. When you go to the back you should feel comfortable enough to keep up.
 

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Local rule

The categorization of rides has not been standardized, so a B ride in one location or group may not mean the same thing as a B in some other place/group. You need to connect with the group and find out what they list as speeds for their rides.
 

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No truth in advertising

bauerb said:
is there such thing as "rule of thumb" average speeds for group rides? For example, should I expect a C ride to avg 15mph, a B ride 20mph, an A ride ??

I do most of my training alone, so I am curious about how fast the various group rides are.

thanks
I haven't done a lot of group rides. But, from those that I have done, I can tell you that there is little truth in advertising among group rides. I have ridden on "fast" rides where the organizers have kept everyone together, had well managed pace lines and I was able to survive. And, I have ridden on "slower" rides where the field has broken up, hot dogs have sprinted ahead, etc. Every group ride that I have participated in has had its own personality. I find that the best thing to do is to talk to someone who is part of the organization for the ride, tell them your strengths and weaknesses and ask if they think that the ride would work for you. Then, try it and see. I am not a fast rider and am used to being dropped if a ride gets too fast. I don't like to hold people up and I always make sure that I know the way back to the start on a ride if I get dropped. There is no harm in trying to do a ride that may be ambitious for your abilities so long has you are willing to finish alone and not hold up the rest of the group.
 

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bauerb said:
is there such thing as "rule of thumb" average speeds for group rides? For example, should I expect a C ride to avg 15mph, a B ride 20mph, an A ride ??

I do most of my training alone, so I am curious about how fast the various group rides are.

thanks

This kind of thread always results in exaggerated speeds, so don't get intimidated. Although many will claim that their group rides are averaging well over 20 mph, I'd bet if you checked computers at the end, that isn't a whole-ride average so much as an average for a group riding certain stretches windless flats. Other factors will be whether they are truly pacelining (which will increase average speed).

But I'd bet other than hard core hammerfest, most strong group rides AVERAGE more 18-20, and I've been riding with clubs for a long time. Then, B rides 15-17, C rides 13-15.
 

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MarkS said:
I haven't done a lot of group rides. But, from those that I have done, I can tell you that there is little truth in adversitising among group rides.
This is a great post right here by MarkS. My rule is: Never ride in a group larger than 5 people, unless you know and get along with at least 80% of them personally, or when your desired effort is exactly the same as that of the guy/girl with authority.
 

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This gets my vote for best post of the year. What a super question.

yes there are rules. If you're a Cat 4, you cannot average more than 20 MPH. If you're a Cat 3, you cannot average more than 22, Cat 2s more than 24, and Cat 1s, more than 26 MPH.

It's up to you to monitor the speeds - if you are above them, you must slow down to make the average fall into the above catigories. If a ride is completed w/ the average more than the above speeds, each rider must kill themselves.
 

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I remember when I first started racing, there was a local ride that actually had an A, B, and C ride.
The C ride averaged 18 mph, the B ride, 21 mph, and the A ride, averaged 23-24 mph for the same 36 mile route.......No, I was never able to hang with the A group. The B group was hard enough. To average 21 mph, a lot of time has to be spent at 22-23 mph (or more) on the "flats."
 

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Start with the beginner's ride and work your way up from there. What can it hurt? The worst that can happen to you is that you end up on a couple of really easy rides. Even then, just go with the flow, meet some folks, talk to the ride leader or help sweep. Then move up to the next level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
good info

thanks to everybody for the info(except "The Carlster", you're an idiot). I know this is not exact, but I can use this information. Since I always train alone, I really needed a rough reference. thanks


MR_GRUMPY said:
I remember when I first started racing, there was a local ride that actually had an A, B, and C ride.
The C ride averaged 18 mph, the B ride, 21 mph, and the A ride, averaged 23-24 mph for the same 36 mile route.......No, I was never able to hang with the A group. The B group was hard enough. To average 21 mph, a lot of time has to be spent at 22-23 mph (or more) on the "flats."
 

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Riding in a group at 18 mph is about the same as riding alone at 14-15 mph. Riding in a pack at 21 is like riding alone at 17-18 mph
 

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Round here regardless of advertised pace (I usually go to B) the group tends to break into 2 or 3 groups. I've always just tried to stick with the front pack, which thins out as we go. It's not unusual for these rides to start with 15-20 in the lead pack, and end with less than 5 getting into the lot together. For those of us who survive the average for 30 miles is about 23-24 mph. Peaks of 26-27 on the flats aren't unusual, nor are breaks of 18-19. The A rated rides don't seem much different.

Bottom line is that you can probably find a handful of people to hang with whatever your pace.
 

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Average speed also depends on the route and location where you live. You must also factor in hills (type, number, length and grade) as well as stop signs and stop lights. The more of these you encounter, the more the average speed will lower. The most important questions are: 1. What is the cruising speed on the flats? 2. What are jumps in speed like? and 3. Does the ride regroup (important for hills and times after jumps)?

As Mr. Grumpy pointed out, consider your average crusing speed when riding solo and what you can do in an interval and increase by about 2 to 3 mph (or about 30%) to see what you would be comfortable with in a group.

Another important point is are you comfortable following a wheel, can you soft peddle to keep your speed relatively stable when following a wheel so you don't cause the group to yo-yo behind you? Don't half-wheel (overlap wheels) in front of you?

If you haven't been in a group before, tell the ride leader you are new at this and might stay at the back for the first time with a group until you feel comfortable and confident following wheels. When you are in the back of the group, you can watch and copy good pacelining skills and spot the ones you want to avoid in the group:) After a while, if you feel you have had enough or are slowing the group down too much, tell the group to continue on without you and come back next week for another ride.

In my opinion, there is nothing as fun as going for a long ride with a group of good cyclists.
 

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jtolleson said:
This kind of thread always results in exaggerated speeds, so don't get intimidated. Although many will claim that their group rides are averaging well over 20 mph, I'd bet if you checked computers at the end, that isn't a whole-ride average so much as an average for a group riding certain stretches windless flats. Other factors will be whether they are truly pacelining (which will increase average speed).

But I'd bet other than hard core hammerfest, most strong group rides AVERAGE more 18-20, and I've been riding with clubs for a long time. Then, B rides 15-17, C rides 13-15.
I ride in a Wednesday Night Hammerfest ride that does adverage 22+ if you do not get dropped. If you like I will cut and past my log from the night that I did not get dropped. Most nights I did get dropped.
 

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Spinnerman said:
Average speed also depends on the route and location where you live. You must also factor in hills (type, number, length and grade) as well as stop signs and stop lights. The more of these you encounter, the more the average speed will lower.
Yup. What he said. On my rides, we usually spend a lot of time in the 21-22mph range, but we also spend time in the 17-18mph range (hills) and we hit a ton of traffic lights (NYC to Westchester and back). Overall, the average (as per my FlightDeck) usually comes out around 17mph (later in the summer it gradually increases by 1-2mph). If we do "laps" on a relatively flat course with no stops and smaller climbs, that jumps up to a whopping 20mph (my best average ever). I don't think of those speeds as "fast" and yet, I feel fast enough to keep up with all but the most serious racers. Plus, I like to think of the constant traffic lights as "intervals." I'm still not sure what, exactly, A, B, & C mean. Each ride just seems different...
 

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Yeah . . . "average speed" . . .

Gets a lot of wild eyed guesstimates according to what "average" means to riders.

I asked about average speed for local rides and got "20 - 22" and so I did more asking. Turns out the source didn't have a cycle computer. "20 - 22" was the "average" on flat, windless stretches -- and more like 20 and thinking "it feels like 22 mph."

The computed average speed for the ride, over terrain, generally about an hour to 90 minutes runs 16 to 18 mph. That's a substantially different pace than an average 22 mph over terrain.

I've been riding seriously, racing a bit since about 1962. (Not racing now.) Even with cycle computers, there's a lot a fudging going on about speed and distance. I know a few riders who think a "century" is anything over about 85 miles.

Speed and distance -- fudging about it is endemic to the sport. (And my road bike weighs 7.2 lbs with the "good wheels." ) :D :D :D
 

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a little advice for ya:
-don't feel the need to pull as much as everyone else if you're not up to physically. it is better to pull for 30 seconds while maintaining the group's speed than to pull for 2 minutes and end up slowing the pace.
-if your pack riding skills aren't refined, stick to the left when youre on the road. if you're on the right, youre sandwhiched between other riders and the curb, and closer to road-ridges and other obstacles.
-to keep from yo-yoing when following a wheel, sit up a bit more or feather the brakes to slow just enough, don't stop pedalling or grab too much brake.
most importantly, have fun. don't be overly ambitious and try to ride at the front. hang out at the back and watch what the other riders do. happy riding.
 

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I typically do two organized group rides per week (meaning there are A, B, C groups with leaders). I ride B group for both. On Wednesday, there are substantially more hills, and the average speed is usually 16-17 with a max of 18.03 one time during the summer.

The Thursday ride is just about completely flat. The average speed for that is usually 19.5 - 20.5, and maybe two or three times a year hitting 21.x (usually mid to late summer when everyone is in peak condition).

My computer runs as long as the bike is moving, and I let it start when we roll out of the parking lot, and freeze it once we roll back into it. Other than that, it's running the whole time unless we come to a complete stop for more than 3 seconds. (The computer auto stops at that point). Stop signs and red lights will kill average speed quickly.
 
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