Panoramic Sport Bike Ride

Sport Riding Group Pace Level Guide

When setting up public group rides, it is important to note what kind of “pace” you will be running. By accurately describing the speed or “pace” you will be running, it will help others decide if they want to join your ride. Unfortunately many either do not list a pace at all, or use generic terms like “moderate”, “spirited”, or “medium”, which isn’t really that helpful to those that haven’t ridden with that person before, since there is simply too much room for interpretation. Many experienced riders don’t list a pace for various reasons that I’ve heard:

  • “I don’t want to list a spirited pace on a public forum, where LEO’s could catch wind of our trip, and be waiting for us”
  • “We welcome any pace, and will always wait for the slow folks at turn offs so nobody gets lost”
  • “I don’t know what “pace” I ride, so how could I describe it? “Medium” is probably close enough”

Unfortunately, by not clearly defining a “pace” for the group ride, they may be creating several problems:

  • The pace may be way too fast for other riders that show up (new riders, cruisers, etc…)
  • The pace may be way too slow for other riders that show up (this would mean someone else would have to lead a fast group, and whether or not they know the route, have a sweep, or are prepared to lead a ride)
  • They may find that a ride they planned to take only 4 hours ends up taking 6 hours due to having to wait for much slower paced riders who joined their ride
  • They may inadvertently cause newer inexperienced riders to be riding at a pace which is over their head, as they are feeling guilty for being slow in the fast paced group and making everyone else wait

 

While it is true that ultimately everyone needs to ride at their own pace and not get caught up in the group dynamics, the truth is that it is much more fun as well as being safer to have a group of similarly paced riders, so that the group stays together and can actually ride with each other. I’ve put together a table below which can be used as a reference point for listing different paces for a group ride, which offers everyone a better expectation of the plans for the ride so that it is more cohesive, more safe, and more fun!

 

Sport Riding Group Pace Level Guide

Pace Level

Pace Type

Pace Speed Reference

Pace Notes

10

Race Pace

As fast as possible Pace at a race track or “A” level trackday riders. Sport bikes

9

Street Race Pace

As fast as possible on the streets, often triple digits Knee dragging street pace, little in reserve, “A + B” level trackday riders. Sport bikes

8

Spirited Street Pace

Very fast, over double suggested corner speeds, triple digits May be some knees dragged, experienced riders, “B” level trackday riders. Sport bikes, sport touring bikes with high ground clearance

7

Mid-Spirited Pace

Fast, double suggested corner speeds, triple digits in the straights Knee dragging not needed, still very fast group of experienced riders, “B” level trackday riders. Sport bikes, sport touring bikes, high displacement dual-sport bikes

6

Medium-Fast Pace

Fast, near double suggested corner speeds, few triple digits in straights Experienced riders, fast cornering on technical roads, “Slower B + Fast C” level trackday riders. Sport bikes, sport touring bikes, dual-sport bikes, small-displacement sport bikes

5

Medium Pace

Over suggested corner speeds, rare triple digits, smooth riding pace Most riders with at least a year of experience, still fast cornering, “C” level trackday riders. Sport bikes, sport touring bikes, full touring bikes, dual-sport bikes, small-displacement sport bikes

4

Medium-Slow Pace

Over suggested corner speeds, only slightly over speed limits on straights, smooth riding pace Most riders with at least a few months of consistent experience. Sport bikes, sport touring bikes, full touring bikes, dual-sport bikes, small-displacement sport bikes, cruiser bikes, faster scooters

3

Slow Pace

At or slightly above suggested corner speeds, speed limits on straights Nearly all but newest riders, those comfortable going up to around 70MPH in high traffic situations. Sport bikes, sport touring bikes, full touring bikes, dual-sport bikes, small-displacement sport bikes, cruiser bikes, scooters

2

New Rider Pace

At or below suggested corner speeds, speed limits on straights All riders, but tailored for newest riders, who may not be comfortable with speeds up to 70MPH or high traffic situations. Open to all bikes.

1

Parade Pace

Below suggested corner speeds, at or below speed limits on straights All riders, special event pacing is slow. Open to all bikes.

 

If I were to use the Pace Level Guide for reference, I can easily discern that I typically ride at a level 5 pace.  If I were to get into a level 6 group pace on the streets with my current skill level and risk tolerance, I would be uncomfortable and experiencing survival reactions as unexpected conditions arose.  So I will typically be looking for groups with a pace level of 4 or 5 to join.  However, if I were to lead a ride, I would want to ensure that I have plenty of available task processing to handle the extra responsibilities of leading a group ride.  As such i would likely only lead group rides having a pace level of 2, 3, or 4 at this time.  This is a fairly simple and straight forward way to communicate group ride expectations without leaving much room for confusion or misunderstanding, which again means there is less drama and angst, and allows for more fun!

 

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