Please don’t go on any ride, where you cannot maintain the minimum fitness level. In the absence of a specifically stated minimum, the minimum for all rides is the ability to sustain an average pace of 14mph for five miles on the flats at a perceived exertion level of 6 or less (see scale below). If we split into A and B groups, the minimum fitness level for the A group will typically be the ability to sustain 18 mph on the flats at level 6.
- Level 1: I’m watching TV and eating bon bons
- Level 2: I’m comfortable and could maintain this pace all day long
- Level 3: I’m still comfortable, but am breathing a bit harder
- Level 4: I’m sweating a little, but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly
- Level 5: I’m just above comfortable, am sweating more and can still talk easily
- Level 6: I can still talk, but am slightly breathless
- Level 7: I can still talk, but I don’t really want to. I’m sweating like a pig
- Level 8: I can grunt in response to your questions and can only keep this pace for a short time period
- Level 9: I am probably going to die
- Level 10: I am dead
Studies show that people drop out of exercise programs more often when they work out at Level 7 or higher. This doesn’t mean that you should shouldn’t challenge yourselves for shorter periods or intervals at Levels 7 and 8, but please avoid Levels 9 and 10 on our rides. You will quickly bonk and be forced to rest. In addition, cyclists tend to ride less safely when they are over-exerting themselves, and that endangers the rest of the group. We will try to build in some stretches on each route where you can slow down to Level 4 or 5, ride double, and chat a little. We also have regular regrouping points where you can rest. On longer weekend rides, we try to build in a mid-ride rest stop where water and restrooms are available.
If you clearly do not have the minimum fitness level for a ride and are unable to keep up, it is unfair to the rest of the group. The Ride Leader will inform you that we are unable to wait up for you, and give you directions back to the starting place. If you feel you will get lost, you will be escorted back. We have a mentor and training program for riders who need to build up to the minimum fitness level.