What speed do I need for group rides/club rides?
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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Ofanayim's Avatar
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    What speed do I need for group rides/club rides?

    Hi there,

    I'm a beginning cyclist this season, exclusively recreational so far. On the average 10-20 mile ride, I can ride comfortably at between 17-20 mph and can jump and sprint around 25-28 mph. How are those speeds in relation to most serious cyclists? Couldn't find simply an "awesome people go this fast..." post.

    Thanks!
    "One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time; it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present hope, that the past has no reality other than as a present memory." - JL Borges

  2. #2
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    Depends how you look at it I guess.
    Where is the line between serious and not?
    17-20 is about what the average weekend warrior cycling enthusiast does for a flats pace on their rides, but that person is rarely pacing themself for a ride that short and would probably be more like 20-23 cruising speed if they knew they were stopping at 10-20 miles.

    And what I think is average here in New England is probably different than what people see as average in, say, Southern California for example.

  3. #3
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    you can't tell without trying. Every ride is different. Drafting in a group is different from riding solo. You're certainly fast enough to try. Find a ride and go for it.

    "Average speed" is one of the most frequent -- but least helpful - topics of discussion on these boards. There are just too many variables. Go ride with a group. If the one you try seems too fast, look for an easier one. If it's too easy, find a harder one.

    You're doing just fine, and it sounds like you're having fun, which is priority number one.

  4. #4
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    I don't know what serious is. There are too many serious people. If you can ride at those speeds you will be able to ride with a lot of light hearted, fun loving people. The club I ride with has ride classifications from 10-12mph, up to 18 plus. Most clubs are like this. Contact them and ask.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  5. #5
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    Clubs will vary, although it's not really the average speed but the accelerations and intervals of pulling at the front.

    Check on the local club rides. Some are a more geared to beginners and recreational riders while some are full of Cat 2 racers who are going to drop you from the get go and aren't stopping until they get back to the shop.

  6. #6
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    Yeah, just find a local club that caters to a wide number of riders and you'll be fine. Most have groups for different pace comfort levels.

    "Average" is a tough number, because that also factors in slow hill climbing, windy sections where you can't go fast, people in your way, etc etc. I can go 23-25 MPH on a flat in perfect conditions, but my ride "averages" reported by my Garmin 500 are usually from 13 MPH to 16 MPH.

    I recently joined a club and stick with a group that does 16-18 MPH average pace over a 40-45 mile ride. It's quite easy to stay with them, especially with the benefits of drafting and paceline riding, and I always finish with energy to spare.

    I wouldn't worry too much about it, you sound like a good rider. Join and group and have fun!

  7. #7
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    Thanks everyone! That helps a lot. I think I'll try and stop being intimidated by all the groups riding past me and actually check one out!
    "One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time; it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present hope, that the past has no reality other than as a present memory." - JL Borges

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ofanayim
    Thanks everyone! That helps a lot. I think I'll try and stop being intimidated by all the groups riding past me and actually check one out!
    yeah nothing to worry about. Riding so close to others takes a little getting used to but no reason to be intimidated.
    It's not like stepping up to the plate against Nolan Ryan or anything. Some people might be faster and some might be slower than you are but everyone is just pedaling a bike so you're all pretty much on the same level in many respects. Just make it known you're just starting the group thing and I'm sure you'll get all the guidance you need.
    If you by mistake end up with a group way above your level that's no biggy, you'll just be riding alone for while. Or if you find you're faster than the group don't take off ahead unless the thing explodes and that's what everyone is trying to do.

  9. #9
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    I highly recommend checking out the clubs in your area. Group rides are so fun that I rarely do solo rides anymore (except for the 10 to 14 miles it takes for me to ride to the start of the group ride)!

    For your first group ride, you'll probably be best served with one that goes about the same speed and distance you are used to, or even slower, and has a "no drop" policy. Then when you meet them the first time, introduce yourself and let them know you are new to group riding so they can explain how it works and their group's signals so everybody stays safe. Enjoy!

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