cyclists in a group ride

4 Simple Rules for Great Group Rides

Group rides often devolve into defacto races. Here’s how to keep it all together.

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  • Group rides aren’t so good for “training.”
  • Let speed be the unifying factor for group recovery rides
  • Pick a leader
  • Let the speed build via group skill work


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Do your group rides turn into


unstructured free-for-alls? Here are some simple tips for group bliss.


Skills, not training

First things first: group rides are never training rides. Unless you are training skills. A group can train their paceline skills or sprint lead-out skills. However, a group is a lousy place to work on lactate threshold intervals. And you can’t say to a group, “today, we are going to do a zone two ride.” Simply because, everyone has a different zone two.

Recover together

Since everyone has different thresholds, and therefore different training zones, everyone should be able to agree to a common speed or pace. During training season, group rides are excellent for recovery days. Assuming everyone in the group is currently training, you can choose days for “long steady distance,” as long as the “steady” is defined by speed.

Designate a leader

Once the agreed-upon speed is determined, the leader’s job is to maintain that speed. Or at least not to exceed it. The leader also gets to be “the bad guy,” meaning, the leader has to have enough toughness to call out other riders who are busting up the unity.

[callout icon=”hb-moon-bike”]Everyone in the group should be able to agree to a common speed or pace.[/callout]

Going faster, together

During the build period, group rides can become great skill sessions. Working together on pace lining and drafting, practicing Sprint lead outs, and even more advanced drills such as chasing down a breakaway can happen. But the source of skill sessions – which really are more like games than training sessions – can only really happen after everyone has spent enough time getting disciplined in their individual work.

Skills sessions are important for teams as they allow for the identification of skill sets for individual riders. It will become readily apparent who your climbers, sprinters, and general classification athletes are after just a few of these sessions.


[icon_box icon=”hb-moon-bike” icon_position=”left” align=”left”] Question: How does your group or team insure great continuity for your get-together rides?[/icon_box]

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Sam Lowe

I've been a road cyclist with a penchant for speed ever since my first-ever paycheck holiday. I blew the whole wad on a turquoise Schwinn Tempo with then-new Shimano 105 indexed shifting way back in 1985. I've been a voracious consumer of racing-oriented information ever since. Training, nutrition, bike fit, racing techniques, and all manner of "kit." Between nearly 30 years of riding, racing, and reading about racing, I'm ready to help you get ready to race.

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