Rider Group Definitions
Here are the definitions of the levels for our road rides. The definitions are just guidelines and not hard and fast rules. It is our effort to try to help you decide which group is best for you to ride with. Some riders will ride with a faster group and drop back when they get tired, while others will ride with slower groups and remain at the head of the pack. It is ultimately your choice and for most people it is a trial and error experience.
Novice: Riders with little or no experience. Simply knowing how to pedal a bike is not enough. You will need to know how to safely shift and brake and you should know some of the common “rules of the road” If you are unfamiliar with the bike you are intending to use or if you have not gotten any instruction as to how the bicycle should be safely operated, then you are a novice. If this is you, I will teach you the skills that you will need to join the beginners group. If you need one on one help, you will need to contact me to arrange this, so that I can spend the time to help you. We usually meet on Monday nights at 6:00 at the shop throughout the summer.
Beginners: Riders with the ability to ride for 8 to 12 miles at an average speed of between 12-14 mph. This means that you will need to ride at 15-17 mph on the flatter sections of the route and 6-8 mph on the hilly section of the route. You should be familiar with the operation of your bike and able to ride continuously for at least 45 minutes, although there may be a stop or two if the group get strung out. The beginner ride routes are usually not as hilly as the more advanced rides. This will enable the beginner to develop the strength and skills necessary to advance to the more ambitious routes. We will try to have someone who will ride as a sweep, so if you are having a problem there will be someone to help.
Advanced Beginners: Riders should be able to ride at an average of 15-18 mph for a distance of 15 to 25 miles. This means that you will travel the flatter sections at 18-20 mph and the hilly sections at 12-15 mph. The rides will include some moderately steep hills and may have several sections of rolling hills. You should have several hundred miles on your bike and be fairly proficient at shifting and braking. You will also have to be familiar with a pace line and drafting techniques. You should have basic repair skills; flats, loose bolts etc. The group will usually slow the pace to wait for anyone who gets behind and may stop to re-group (although not always) if some one gets dropped or has a mechanical.
Intermediate: Riders should be able to ride at an average of 18-21 mph for a distance of 25 to 40 miles. This means that you will need to be able to ride at a 22-25 mph pace on the flatter sections and be able to climb a moderate hill at 15-17 mph. You should be able to ride up very steep hills for a distance of 2-4 miles. You should be very skilled at shifting and have a good understanding of how a pace line is run. You should know how to do minor adjustments and fix flat tires. This group will usually slow the pace to allow a rider or group of riders to catch back on, but not always and if you get dropped twice you are usually on your own. This group does not usually stop to re-group but may stop to help a rider with a mechanical.
Experts: Should be able to ride at 21-25 mph average for 40 to 70 miles and have mastered all aspects of bicycle riding. Being a strong rider or having the ability to ride at a fast pace do not constitute expertise. You should have some racing experience as well as at least 1000 miles in training before joining this group. The members of the expert rides all have advanced riding/racing skills and expect that the others in this group will have the same. The riders will use a paceline as well as other race oriented techniques on the ride. Each rider will be responsible for his or her own safety as well as be familiar with riding in a paceline. You will need to be able to keep up with the faster riders in the group because they will not usually wait for you if you get dropped.