Below are the speed groups we offer and their descriptions.
- A Group - Riders should be able to maintain a speed of 21-22 mph while in a paceline.
- B Group - Riders should be able to maintain a speed of 19-20 mph while in a paceline.
- C Group - Riders should be able to maintain a speed of 17-18 mph while in a paceline.
- D Group - Riders should be able to maintain a speed of 15-16 mph while in a paceline.
Remember, any group’s speed can vary depending on a number of factors… wind, terrain, heat, distance and the capabilities of the riders on a given day. There are two important things to think about when determining the group a rider should choose:
- The group should ride at the advertised speed. Factors like downhill advantage or wind advantage (wind at the riders’ backs) make it feasible for the group to ride faster at times. If a rider wants to go faster than the group’s advertised speed, they should probably be riding with a different group. That doesn’t mean individuals can’t do sprints on their own or attack a hill. It just means everyone should use common sense and ride in an appropriate group. Don’t make an effort to torture the slowest rider in your group.
- Riders should choose a group that is within their capability. If your top speed is 16 mph and you can’t sustain that speed very long in a paceline, you probably shouldn’t be riding with the C group. If you are prepared to drop out of that group and wait for the D group to catch up with you (assuming they are riding the same route) or if you don’t mind riding alone, that is your choice. It is smart to push your limits once in a while by riding with a group that is faster than your comfort level… that will make you a better rider and eventually, you’ll move up to a faster speed group! Just don’t bring the group down by choosing the wrong group for your current capability.
In the past, Grupetto catered to C group riders and up (faster). The C group was supposed to involve riders who could maintain 15-18 mph. Even that is actually a fairly wide range of speed. If the group is averaging 17 or 18 mph, the rider who is only able to maintain 15 mph might be able to stay with the group while in a paceline (because it is much easier when drafting), but will most likely get dropped eventually.
The D Group has been added to provide an outlet for riders who:
- just aren't in shape (yet)
- have bikes that just aren't fast bikes (hybrids, cruisers or old road bikes)
- don't really care about going fast
So, keep in mind that any group might add one or two mph with the wind at their backs. This actually benefits most of the group... except for a rider who has gotten dropped. That may actually increase the gap between that rider and the group. Of course, there are times when the average speed of any group is slower than the advertised speed, but that should be because of adverse conditions… not because one rider signed on for something, which he or she is unprepared for. In the case of a strong headwind, for example, everyone is in the same situation and hopefully, the group will stay together.
This issue isn’t limited to any one speed group, by the way. The same things apply to all groups!
Of course, we have a policy that states "no one left behind" and we mean that. If we are on a trail, where riders can't get lost, we might leave someone temporarily, as long as they are not in trouble from a health standpoint. We would pick that rider up on the way back to the starting point. In some cases, however, that just wouldn’t be an option (like when we’re on a complicated public street route), so it is really important to "group up" appropriately. If someone signs on for a ride they are clearly not prepared for, that presents an obvious problem. Eventually, the other riders of that group won’t want to ride with a rider who does that regularly.
So, pick your group wisely. If you're in doubt as to which group you belong in, go for a ride with a group that should be an easy one for you to stay with. If you find that group is too slow for you, pick a faster group on your next ride.