President’s Message: Ride Pace

ridePaceRide pace is the issue that receives the most complaints at BTCNJ headquarters. Pace is difficult to define in absolute miles per hour because it depends on factors such as the terrain, wind, distance, and accuracy of our bike computers. Flat rides go faster, and hilly rides go slower. Technology has made bikes lighter and faster, so with the same amount of energy, one can cycle at a higher pace if he or she has newer technology– and riders become stronger and cycle even faster as the cycling season advances.

BTCNJ headquarters is responding to these complaints and is working to resolve this difficult issue. Here are our suggestions:

• We value our Ride Leaders. They are the heart ofthe club.
• Official paces to refresh everyone’s knowledge:

Ride Level Description
A Average speed 17+ mph – average speed on flats 18+. For strong/experienced cyclists. Stops every 30+ miles.
B* Average speed 15.0 – 16.9 mph – average speed on flats 17.0 – 19.0 mph. For Strong cyclists. Stops every 20 – 25 miles
B Average speed 13.0 – 14.9 mph – average speed on flats 15.0 – 17.0 mph. For solid cyclists. Stops every 15 – 20 miles.
C* Average speed 11.0 – 12.9 mph – average speed on flats 13.0 – 15.0 mph. For solid cyclists. Stops every 15 – 20 miles.
C Average speed 9.0 – 10.9 mph – average speed on flats 11.0 – 13.0 mph. For average cyclists. Stops as needed.
D Average speed Under 9.0 mph – average speed on flats 10.0 mph. For new, inexperienced cyclists. Frequent stops.

• Rules:

A, B*, B: No obligation to wait for stragglers if the advertised pace is kept and cue sheets are issued. Ride Leaders may wish to regroup when necessary especially after big climbs or techanical difficulties. C*, C, D: Groups will wait for stragglers and assist those having mechanical difficulties.

• Ride Leaders should bring cue sheets and/or have a sweep rider. Discourage riders with unsound bikes from joining the ride. Urge riders who are unable to maintain the advertised pace within the first few miles to leave the ride. Adhere to the advertised speed. Advise riders exceeding the leader’s pace that they will be on their own.

• Riders should ride in a category that matches their skill level. Leave the ride within the first few miles if the pace of the ride is too fast. Advise the Ride Leader if you are making a stop or leaving the group.

• I encourage all riders to ask the Ride Leader to slow down if the ride is exceeding the advertised pace or if you are having difficulty at the end of the ride. I know it is difficult to complain because most of us just want to “fit in.” But most Ride Leaders want to please the riders and will accommodate a rider’s concern.

• Ride Leaders, at times, may go faster than the average speed of the category or jump a red light or stop sign. But we just would like to hear about Ride Leaders who excessively exceed the pace or do not follow the basic rules, not all infractions. Please contact the Keith Schlanger, Rides Captain, if you wish to discuss a situation.

• On the other hand, I encourage Ride Leaders to contact Keith if you encounter a rider who cannot maintain the advertised pace and consistently delays the group. Our goal is to have riders riding in the category that matches their skill level so everyone enjoys the ride.

We can change our culture and allow constructive feedback between Ride Leaders and riders. Keith has a motto, “No Man or Woman Left Behind.” Let’s all work together, helping each other to meet Keith’s guiding principle.