Speed Groups

speed groups

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. Class 1 & Class 3 E-bikes (without a throttle) are allowed in this group. (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. Class 1 & Class 3 E-bikes (without a throttle) are allowed in this group.
  • 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. Class 1 & Class 3 E-bikes (without a throttle) are allowed in this group.
  • 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. No E-bikes of any class are allowed in this group.
  • 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. No E-bikes of any class are allowed in this group. No E-bikes of any class are allowed in this group.

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!

Class 1 & Class 3 (pedal assisted ONLY up to 28mph) E-Bikes are allowed in 14-16, 16-18 and 18-20 groups.

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