Any non-racing roadies out there?

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  • Any non-racing roadies out there?
  • Sue_W

    Having accepted that I’ve become more road than off road orientated in my biking over the last few years, I’ve cast an eye over the local cycle clubs.

    The main thing that strikes me is that they’re all pretty race focused. So there’s lots of training rides / TT preparation etc. They might have ‘social’ rides, however even these seem to be at a fairly fast pace – average of 16 mph in mountainous terrain! But, how many people who road cycle are doing it mainly to race? Are there actually more ‘non-racing’ roadies out there?

    So which are you? A racer? Or a scenic road rider?


    a lapsed racer…


    The club I ride with at home has a big mix. Some guys who ride the SXC series and ride the road bike for fun and training, and some of the guys I ride with on non club rides who do sportives but not race. The club rides do tend to be quite fast (Avg 20mph ish) but thats good for my mates and I because we dont normally ride as quick and its a nice change of pace.

    So personally, I dont race but if I’m not going fast then I dont enjoy it as much…

    I road ride quite a bit and don’t race and neither do 95% of the ‘roadies’ I ride with. The thing with road rides is that there is normally only one proper stop (for cake :D)

    16mph is pretty slow in a group, I went out with the local group when I was at a bit of a fitness low, they billed it as 17mph ish, which I thought would leave me for dead as I was struggling to average 15mph solo. Ended up doing 100km at 18mph and feeling reltively fresh at the end.

    [edit] my group decision was based on the 15mph group turning up on an assortment of folding bikes and shoppers!

    I dabbled in racing this year and want to do much more of it next year. My club has lots of social rides around 15mph which are too slow if you want to race/train to race – you need to be able to ride at 20+mph for racing. Where my club falls down is that its relatively new/small, so there’s no fast group rides.

    I started out road riding just for something different to do from mtb’ing but seem to have spent the last few years just road riding, before progressing on to trying racing. Both racing and road riding are addictive!

    16mph is pretty slow in a group

    Not where Sue rides it’s not…

    What was it we did that day Sue; 14mph average or something? Granted we were bimbling, but tbh I woon’t want to be going much faster if I wanted to enjoy my riding. Leave that to the masochists…

    Non racing road but I have been training with racers ranging from cat 4 to elite. Even cat 4 are bloody fast.

    What I have noticed is that it has really improved my fitness and speed which makes other aspects of riding more enjoyable.

    My advice would be not to worry about riding with faster riders as it won’t be long until you’re as fast as them. If you struggle during the ride then just position yourself in the middle of the group for a rest.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    I’ve also dabbled in some racing (road + TT), but my club, whilst primarily a racing club has plenty (if not more!) room for non-racing riders.

    TBH racing is good if you have the time to train, but I’ve never been able to devote enough to overcome my physiological limitations.

    Am currently enjoying – even though I’m hopeless – the current cross season. My future, I think.


    I do race. But the majority at my club don’t race. We have an easy Wednesday day time ride for those that no longer work, or have flexible hours, and have 2 Sunday club rides. One which probably averages 12-13mph, the other that averages 16mph. There’s also occasionally a 20mph+ group that go out, but that tends to be those that do race.

    Actually when I say the majority don’t race, I mean road racing or open TTs. We actually have a great turn out from all members for our evening league TTs, friendly and open to all. We averaged about 70 riders per week this year with times for our not very fast sporting 10 course ranging from 22 mins to 45 mins.


    I ride quite a lot of road – living in London monday to Friday I have little choice – and I joined a club down here too.

    There is a good mixture from the fast guys (cat 1 & 2 racers) to the rest of us, we have club rides during the week with various groups.

    The pace is always a lot quicker than it would be on a solo ride, which helps for fitness etc.

    I myself don’t race on the road, I’ve done a couple of XC races and things like MM etc on the MTB so not exactly serious. Next year I’d like to race more off-road if I get the chance and the road work can only help with that.

    Erm, I think what Sue is looking for are group rides that aren’t focussed on speed and fitness so much. Relaxed social rides. TBH it’s the ‘sporty’ nature of roadie clubs what has always put me off getting involved in them. And why I enjoy MTBing, cos it’s more about just having fun than proving yourself in battle.

    I think many people just assume that cycling + group = competitive. That’s fine for some, but what about those of us what don’t want to hurt ourselves?


    Interesting speeds that are being quoted there. Just had a very quick google (thinking of similar areas to here in Snowdownia):

    Brecon cycling club – ‘intro / beginners’ rides say they expect you to be a reasonably fit cyclist, average speed 10+ mph

    Edinburgh cycling club – ‘development’ rides for people new to road club cycling (but expected to be competent cyclists) – average speed 14 mph

    So I would question the 15-17 mph speeds listed as a ‘social’ pace. I do think that using higher than 14mph averages deters many reasonably competent cyclists who might be interested in social road riding rather than racing from joining road clubs.

    Elf – nice picture … next time you’re up we’re doing Pen Y Pass 🙂


    A local ctc group maybe the answer.

    CTC is group cycling for people who don’t want to have to ride fast / race / draft etc., and I think they are mainly road people.


    Actually as a club we have quite a tough time trying to cater for all. We want to encourage all, and do wait for people on rides. But we’ve had people moan about the pace being too fast on the medium ride (or we’re going too far), we tell them about the slower ride, but they say that’s too slow.

    This is no criticism of anyone here, as I have no idea what anyone does. But some of the people that turn up for the rides just don’t have the fitness to hold the pace or go the distance and should be prepared to drop down groups until this improves. People need to understand that there needs to be progression and build up over time distance and pace. The best time to do this is to keep riding over the winter, as it seems all our rides are pretty slow when it gets colder. But a lot of people go missing over the winter only to resurface when the weather gets nicer.

    17mph was for Reading CC in the Chilterns.

    The bands were pretty close though. 4 groups, the slowest being 14-15 the fastest was 19+.

    Sounds brilliant! We’ll be able to relax and enjoy the scenery and maybe even take a little packed lunch.


    I’m a non-racing roadie and ride with in Surrey. The club rides are pretty sociable but we do have plenty of racers.

    C group is for anyone really, they’ll wait for you. They say 14mph ave on flat.
    B- is 16mph on flat
    B+ is 18 mph on flat
    A is 20mph on flat.

    I ride in B+ and am one of the fastest, average over a ride inc hills more like 16mph but that includes the odd wait to let the ride regroup – we’re not very disciplined and climb/descend at our own pace.

    Edit – meant to say that the average speed isn’t all that matters, we’ll do flat sections at 30mph + which people get dropped on even though they’re OK for the rest of the ride; always wait though and no-one minds.


    Elfinsafety I understand the focus being away from speed/fitness. Our two rides are actually just that rides out on a Sunday morning, it’s up to the rider whether they’re doing it for training or for a social and how much effort they put in. However, the first thing we always get asked is “what’s the average speed of your rides?” So therefore all rides end up having an average “guide pace” put on them.

    The fact is the 16mph ave ride can quite easily become a 19mph ave ride (and does on occasions) as it depends on who turns up, the majority of riders who enjoy the 16mph ave ride are capable of riding the routes at 19mph if they wanted to.


    I am compelled to use the road bike at the moment as I’m healing a broken wrist.

    I can’t tell you what my average speed is although my Edge 305 could probably do so.
    I dont’ care for it.
    I just love to be out on the bike.
    Couldn’t give two hoots for how fast I is.
    Thats why I’m never at the front in a group trying to beat everyone or trying to prove something.
    Cycling, riding my bike, is better than that, for me.
    I am the stereotypically laid back, noncompetative cycling partner.


    +1 A local ctc group maybe the answer.

    Less sprinting for road signs, more scoffing of cream teas.
    A lot of old school roadies like myself started that way (at a very tender age). Next thing you know, you’ll be talked into ‘having a go’ at the local evening 10, and a life of pain and suffering will follow 😀


    Solo – I have been know to head out on a 60 mile road ride complete with a picnic and carrying a bottle of wine to share with friends when I get their house! Which I suspect is about as non-competative as you can get 🙂

    Hammerite / Mudshark – good to see your clubs offer a range of ride speeds. Personally I think they would be great for more ‘new to club riding’ cyclists.

    But I guess it’s hard for clubs (especially small one’s) to offer such a range of ride speeds to suit different abilities. However, if they don’t, and the average speed is higher, does that limit the growth of the club by detering some new members? (A couple of guys I know are currently training to be good enough to join the local road club!)


    Solo – I have been know to head out on a 60 mile road ride complete with a picnic and carrying a bottle of wine to share with friends when I get their house! Which I suspect is about as non-competative as you can get

    Now you’re talking my language baby.
    Make a trip out of it.
    Kinda almost wished I’d driven to Cardiff the other week for that drink you were offering.

    When I can put in the real distances I like riding to the coast and back, something in the region of 50-60 miles.
    On clear days such as we’ve been having recently.
    Cycling through the quiet country lanes of Rural Norfolk, big sky country, is fantastic.
    Who’s in a hurry when theres weather and scenery like that to be had.


    A road bike just lets me go further and to see more of it.


    I’ve never raced, not interested tbh. When I first started road riding, the 2 groups around here are either elitist road racing nobbers or a more sedate social club, plenty of cake stops, out all day type. Non of which interested me so just go out on my own* where ever the mood takes me.

    * not so much these days as I prefer mountain biking again.


    * not so much these days as I prefer mountain biking again

    Yeah, I like MTB too, but its usually a drive for me.

    Where as road bike, is straight out the door, as it is with everyone, I suppose.


    This year I spent 6 months leading the TCC club run before resigning. I ran these as steady 15mph double pace line for the first hour or so before heading to hills and stuff for the next 2 or so hours regrouping at tops and bottoms as necessary before finishing with a fast run back in. No one was left behind and we usually managed a 15-16mph average with a minimum of 1000m of climbing. Several club members told me that it was the first club ride they’d been on where they actually finished with other riders. the worst thing was that other club members would come out and deliberately break the group up which I found quite annoying.
    It became apparent that my interests and those of the club weren’t aligned.

    Premier Icon ahwiles

    bikes are ace.

    road bikes are ace too.

    years of racing mountain bikes (Xc and Dh) has taught me that i’m slower than a very old nun stuck in custard.

    i have never raced a road bike, probably never will, there’s not a lot of point when you’re crap like me, i couldn’t handle the humiliation.


    i have never raced a road bike, probably never will, there’s not a lot of point

    Cos even if I won.
    I’d only be king for a day.
    And I don’t care.


    Used to really enjoy club rides with the local tri club so one day I entered a local race. It turned out to be the most miserable competitive outing I’ve ever had. Before the race I was made to faff about disabling some of my gears. During the race we were all stopped by the police escort twice for chevronning across the road. I’d deliberately not worn any club colours to mark myself out as an individual and newbie and distance myself from anybody elses agendas yet I still had to endure verbal abuse for not following the ‘team’ tactics. I thought the whole point of a race was to try and keep up with the leaders not sit back and watch a few local heroes disappear into the distance. That was nearly 20 years ago and I’ve never felt inclined to enter another. Their loss.

    I do still enjoy road riding for going faster and further in limited spare time and just sometimes the whole smoothness and efficiency of it.

    EDIT. And not having to spend so much time cleaning up afterwards.

    Elfin – where are the shots? Second one looks like descent of Kirkstone towards Ullswater?

    Used to do more road cycling as a triathlete. Was always the worst of the three disciplines for me, but I love going out for good 3-4 hour rides or shorter blasts around Surrey Hills. Fancy TT but cant justify time or money on new bike!!

    Only problem is the dangerous roads and crap road surfaces in Surrey/Hamps/Sussex – hence I took up mtb this year as an alternative. But didn’t know that you guys (on STW) were so argumentatitve!! 😉 Triathletes are a breeze in comparison- bit far more right wing!! 😉


    Local club I’m in is social-orientated, I don’t think anyone does road races. However being able to give an average speed is still pretty useful as it does help people gauge the ride (although one of the rules is no one gets left behind so that takes away some of the fear for newcomers). Most of our rides average about 14mph and are around 40-55 miles but that varies depending on the route and also the rider as on hills we tend to break up and stop to reform (average I’m quoting is moving speed…).

    During the course of the year the speeds & distances did pick up a bit as the same core group’s fitness improved so would have been a bit more daunting joining the rides towards the end of the year. We did have the odd person turn up on a hybrid etc. expecting a truly social ride (like 10mph) who got a bit of a shock (and tbh I find those rides a frustrating hence why checking in advance people are OK with 14mph-ish 40 mile-ish rides is useful for both parties).

    We’re not based near you though unfortunately but I could see similar clubs being increasingly popular (traditionally clubs were all based around racing as that’s generally the type of rider that wanted training/group rides), nowadays with sportives and more people having decent bikes thanks to cycle2work etc. I think there’s more demand for clubs offering rides that are a decent work out with a good social aspect rather than the usual chaingang stuff but it still needs someone willing to step up and organise a club (basically set up a web forum is all you need – neither club I ride with has any affiliation or proper structure to it other than the usual couple of people willing to organise rides and plan the routes etc., no membership fee being important to IMO). You might struggle with numbers at this time of year though!

    Premier Icon kilo

    The vast majority of our 400+ members are non racers some train hard for sportives, etapes, some train hard for fun and some do social rides for chat and company, some mtb and some do race road and tt. On sundays we have fast training runs ,long steady, shorter hilly, beginers all sorts depending whose leading, it’s a broad church and all the better for that!


    Racing roadie.
    I formed a road club this year. The club rides started out well but as more members joined they became very problematic.
    I can pin the problems on one type of rider. The non racing roadie who see’s the Sunday club ride as his competition. A few of these riders were tearing the **** out of our runs.
    It got so bad that we called a meeting, since then they have gone like clockwork and everyone is happy.

    This is one example. We tried a three group ride. Fast, tempo and steady/slow. The idea was we all did the same route but set off at timed intervals.
    As I race I don’t like to hammer on my club rides so I was taking a the tempo group. At the start I asked who was going off in the fast group, all but three did. Leaving me with one rider and two in the steady/slow short group. Within twenty miles we overtook the fast group.


    Funny thing is I can’t remember any issues at all in the early seventies. You just sorta joined in on the back, sat there respectively, spent months working your way through the group and you never went to the front unless you were a roadman or had been one.
    It was heaven to ride like that.

    Though I can recall early 100 milers just riding glued to one of the seniors wheels for five hours non stop in the rain. And recently I stopped off on the A41 near Edgware to see the spot where I bonked for the first time. I was 15 had just ridden a fast 100 miles and I was eating grass to help me stand up.
    Guess I’ve answered my own question there, you didn’t pander to the newcomers.


    Yes, a properly working smooth and steady group is faster than a riding for themselves bunch of weekend warriors who don’t know how to ride smoothly. I used to coach at Thursday night training at Hillingdon and it was always amusing to see how a nice steady group that took time to get going was hammering at the end still with 90% of its group remaining whereas some of the more “athletic” groups had shelled and disintegrated.
    However, this kind of riding and training doesn’t seem to be of any interest to the modern road rider or club for that matter.


    Country lane pootling here with added sandwiches and pub stop(s). No idea of speed….but not fast!


    However, this kind of riding and training doesn’t seem to be of any interest to the modern road rider or club for that matter.

    Sounds just like the club I ride with. Slowly wind it up, keep it together, take your turn. Its not hard. How many clubs do you ride with who dont do it like that?

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