PV Speed Groups

speed group2

PV Saturday Ride Speed Groups:

The Portland Velo Ride Leader Team leads Saturday rides. These folks have extensive cycling experience, excellent knowledge of the routes and are a great asset to our club. They keep the groups together, communicate regroup stops, assist in on-road emergencies and generally are the dedicated “faces” of Portland Velo.

Each Saturday, we divide into speed groups, with the fastest groups leaving first. If you get caught up in a group that is too fast for you, you can drift back to the next group. New riders are advised to err on the side of riding with slower groups until they find the right pace for their skills and fitness.

Groups are named according to speed ranges, which are defined as the miles per hour a rider is capable of maintaining on flat terrain, without benefit of a tailwind, over forty-plus miles. On all rides, speed can vary greatly based on conditions and terrain, but the benchmark pace ranges are set up as follows:

  • 14-16mph (Not available on all Saturday rides)

    If you are new to group rides and/or working on your fitness, this may be the perfect group for you. Still, riders should be able to ride 40 miles in 3.5 hours before joining this group. It rides at a moderate pace and includes numerous re-group points. On occasion this group may ride a modified or shortened version of the planned route. (The 14-16mph group is not available on all Saturday rides and is dependent on available ride leaders for the group)

  • 16-18mph

    This group rides at a steady pace and uses drafting as a way to ride in a more efficient manner. Regroups are decided on an as-needed basis by the Ride Leader. The expectation is that riders are able to maintain a consistent 16 to 18 mph speed on the flats.

  • 18-20mph

    This is a moderate-to-fast paced group where expectations ramp up. This group rides in paceline formation and expects those within the group to have the skills necessary for this type of group dynamic. Riders should be confident about their ability to ride at this pace and should understand how to handle themselves within a group. Regroups are at the discretion of the ride leader.

  • 20-22mph

    This is a strong group with riders who consistently ride above 20 mph. They are able to ride in a tight pace-line, climb well and communicate effectively with other riders in the group. Comfort with group riding and good bike handling skills are as important as being fit enough to ride at this pace.

  • 22-24 mph

    Speed ramps up in this group over all routes. These are the strongest riders who have the ability to climb and descend well and have the bike-handling skills to ride in tight and rotating pacelines. Riders can anticipate hard efforts and speeds consistently in the mid-twenties. If you have the strength but not the riding skills, please consider riding with a different group.

  • Open

    The Open group is for those looking to sustain speeds in the mid-to-high 20’s—and surge to speeds even higher along a given route. Tight, rotating pace-lines are the order of the day in this group and climbs are ridden hard. On occasion this group goes out without ride leaders, but at this level, riders are expected to be able to take care of themselves on the road.

A note on average speed:

Speed groups are not average speeds as determined by your bike computer at the end of a ride. True “average speed over a ride” can vary greatly, depending on many factors, including terrain, regroups, soft-pedals to wait for lagging riders, descents, rain, wind, chipseal, paceline skills within the group, and even tire inflation. As such, it is not a good comparative value for a group ride. One group may have “averaged” higher speed on flats than another group but slowed down through town and returned to the parking lot with a lower “average” than the next group. A better assessment of whether your group is hitting the right range is to look at the “time spent at each speed” and “time spent at or above each speed” on RWGPS. The typical 18-20 mph speed group will ride the highest proportion of its ride above 18 mph on a flat ride.

Or better yet, forget about all of these numbers and just judge your ride by whether you had fun and got a good workout!

Riders must be 18 years of age or older to ride with Portland Velo