Group Ride Info

The Speed River Cycling Club offers four weekly rides throughout the season, which runs from April to October. NEW for 2014, all rides will start from the Guelph Public Library. Watch the Home/News page and the calendar on the right for regular updates.

Ride Descriptions

How We Rotate

Group Riding Skills 101


Ride Descriptions:

Mid-week rides begin at 6:30 p.m. (6 p.m. in the spring and fall) while the Sunday ride starts at 9 a.m. 
(11 a.m. in the spring and fall).

Each ride is aimed at specific group of cyclists, from recreational riders to competitive racers. Here are the rides we offer, along with some information on what to expect.


TUESDAY – The Hammerfest

Level: Very fast
Distance: 55 to 75km
Pace: 35 to 40 km/h average with extended stretches in excess in 40 km/h
Drop or No Drop: Drop

Details: This is our fastest ride and is the only one without a designated ride leader (board member Bayden Pritchard, who races on the Ontario Cup circuit, is their guiding force.)

How do I know if I’m ready?: You’re an experienced bike racer or can handle our slower-paced Thursday ride without difficulty.




For 30 minutes prior to the Wednesday ride, an instructor will cover the basics of bike safety,

pack riding, paceline mechanics, personal safety and pack etiquette. Every club has its own

“culture”, etiquette and policies, so even experienced riders coming from other clubs will find

something to learn in LTR.

Details: The emphasis is on learning club ride culture and policies, and on building fundamental

pack riding skills at a pace appropriate to the rider, to help ensure the safety and enjoyment of

the rider and the pack.

1. READ Group Riding Skills 101 before your first ride with the club.

2. ARRIVE 40 MINUTES BEFORE the Wednesday ride start time. An instructor will

provide one-on-one training on a quiet stretch of road. Following that, the instructor

will take the LTR group along the Wednesday course for one-on-one drills and practice.

When the Wednesday ride arrives on the course, the LTR group will join the pack for

additional supervised practice in a real world environment.


WEDNESDAY – The Social Ride

Level: Recreational
Distance: 30 to 50 km
Pace: Maximum average of 28 km/h
Drop or No Drop: No drop

Details: Our least-challenging ride of the week, Wednesday’s feature a club-appointed ride leader to control the pace as well as a “sweep” to help ensure safety and group cohesion. This is a perfect ride for those new to group cycling or faster cyclists looking for a recovery ride. The emphasis is on participation, fun and social interaction

How do I know if I’m ready?: You can ride for two hours non stop at a pace that averages 25 km/h or greater.

We recommend Wednesday’s for all new club members.


THURSDAY – Intermediate and Social Ride

Level: Fast
Distance: 40 to 70 km
Pace‘B’ group – averages between 30 km/h and 32+ km/h
          ‘A’ group – highly variable, up to 35km/hr with extended stretches in excess of 35 km/h
Drop or No Drop: The ‘B’ group makes an effort to remain together following the pace guidelines above. Participants are expected to be able to maintain the described minimum speed in a group. Riders who are unable to keep up with the pack should communicate with the ride leader.

Details: Our most popular ride of the week, Thursday’s caters to the experienced recreational cyclist looking for a challenge. The ride features a ride leader in the ‘B’ group to provide route direction and help ensure safety. The emphasis is on enhancing fitness and improving pack riding skills.

How do I know if I’m ready?: You’re an experienced recreational cyclist, have ridden our Wednesday ride without difficulty and can ride for two hours non-stop at a pace that averages 28 km/h or greater.


SUNDAY – The long ride

Level: Moderate to fast
Distance: 80 to 130 km
Pace: Usually between 28 km/h and 32 km/h an hour with extended stretches in excess of 35 km/h
Drop or No Drop: Those that are struggling will be encouraged to head back on their own.

Details:This ride is aimed at competitive riders looking for a longer effort and advanced recreational cyclists in need of a challenge. This ride often features occasional stops for mid-ride refuelling.

How do I know if I’m ready?: You’re a regular on the Tuesday and/or Thursday circuit and can handle four-plus hours in the saddle.

SUNDAY – The long (ish) ride 

Level: Recreational

Distance: 60 to 80 km
Pace: Maximum average of 28 km/h
Drop or No Drop: No drop

Details: This ride is aimed at recreational riders looking to build endurance with a longer effort at a moderate pace. The emphasis is on participation, fun and social interaction with a potential refuelling stop. 

How do I know if I’m ready?: You can ride for two hours non stop at a pace that averages 25 km/h or greater.

Note: We are running these rides for May and June to gauge interest. If the ride is well supported, we’ll look to continue through the remainder of the summer. 



Level: Open to club members of all abilities
Distance: 17 km
Details: Our four event Individual Time Trial series is held on the third Wednesday of each month from May through August this series allows members to test their fitness against the clock. And since the same course is used for each TT, it’s a great way to measure training progression throughout the season.

Results from each event are scored and awards will be given at the end of the season. A handicapping system will help ensure a level playing field.

The course is a 17km long out-and-back route on the rolling hills of Fourth Line East just north of County Road 51 (road to Ariss). View the map here.


Important information that applies to all rides:

• all rides depart promptly at the designated start time, and are cancelled in case of rain or snow. Information on cancellations will be posted on the main page of the website 30 minutes for the scheduled start time.

• club membership cards must be presented at the beginning of each club ride.
• due to insurance restrictions we cannot allow non-members to join our rides.
• bicycles must be in good mechanical order.
• a certified helmet must be worn at all times.
• members are responsible for bringing enough food, water, tools, and supplies to last for the entire ride.
• all participants must abide by the SRCC Risk Management Plan and the Highway Traffic Act.


How We Rotate: The Social Paceline

Our rides will by default assume the two abreast formation, except in the rare instances where this unduly impedes traffic, as this compared to single file pacelines is generally safer for the group and allows traffic to pass a group in much less time, therefore better for all invovled.

When double file, we will use the social paceline to rotate. The social paceline is similar the well known rotating paceline, with a few important distinctions.

Instead of continuously rotating, the social paceline has riders on the front align, take a pull, then rotate the formation by one rider after 30s-3min on the front. Here’s how it works. See the diagram below as well. 

1. Riders on the front align front wheels side by side, ~3 feet between shoulders, and pull for a period of time until the rider on the front right says to the rider on the left, ‘go ahead’, at which point..

2. The rider on the right slows down very slightly, while the rider on the left pulls the left column forward one bike length,

3. The left rider moves over to cover the rider on the right, while the last rider in the rotation on the right moves left.

4. After the switch, the new front riders re-align, do their pull, and repeat.

The social paceline allows groups to better maintain a ‘tight and to the right’ formation at all times, and eliminates dangerous periods of riding four-abreast if both front riders were to pull off the sides and drift back at the end of a pull.

This formation will be adopted at all times unless obstructing traffic, or on Tuesdays where the group often splits into smaller, single file pacelines.

Social Paceline diagram



Group riding 101

Speed River Cycling Club Basic Road Cycling Skills and Safety 2013

Check your bikes mechanical safety BEFORE LEAVING HOME

  • Handlebars and headset. Lock front brake and rock the bike back and forth to check headset is tight. Hold front wheel with your knees and try to rotate handlebars right and left. It shouldn’t move.

  • Tires. Rotate slowly and inspect for cuts, embedded glass, torn sidewalls

  • Brakes. Ride forward slowly. Check back and front brakes for smooth, effective stopping.

  • Shifting. Run through all gears on level road to check shifting.

  • Aerobars. NOT to be used during pack rides due to unstable steering and forward position when braking

  • Anything loose, tight or “just not right”? That’s what the experienced mechanics at your local bike shop are for.

Why a paceline?

  • Drafting reduces effort by 25 to 40% over a rider “in the wind”. The rider(s) at the front work hard for a short time, “pulling” the riders behind, then “rotate” to the back for reduced effort

  • A clean, disciplined paceline contributes to safer riding

    • Rider in front takes all following riders smoothly around hazards

    • An “under control” paceline contributes to driver respect for cyclists and makes passing predictable.

    • Gives everybody a good workout. Hard effort, then recovery, repeated, is the fastest way to fitness.


  • Riders are individually responsible for their own safety.

  • Riding in a group, you have additional responsibility to avoid creating danger for other riders.

  • Cyclists, singly or in groups, may legally occupy any part of a lane needed to be safe. Riding on a narrow shoulder to the right of the white line is NOT safe. It is usually more broken than the lane, has more glass and debris, and encourages cars to pass at full speed without slowing and giving you a metre of space.

  • Double pacelines are legal except where it is posted that you must ride in single file

  • Ride behind and 1-2 tire widths to one side of the rider ahead, giving you a bit more stopping space in emergencies.

  • Glance AHEAD of the cyclist that you are following. Anticipate, just as in driving a car

  • NEVER cross the yellow line.

  • COMMUNICATE. Be sure that others know what is about to happen

  • Use hand signals to warn of road hazards AND steer SMOOTHLY around them in advance

  • If possible, do not brake suddenly. If someone drops a bottle for example, steer smoothly around it. If there is a sudden deceleration ahead of you, avoid sudden sharp braking, though this is not always possible.

  • Steer straight lines, and make any moves smooth by relaxing your neck, shoulders and arms

  • Keep hands near brakes BUT relax, trust the riders around you, and trust your instincts

  • STOP at stop signs. Make eye contact with car drivers and watch car wheels for movement.

  • Best place to eat and drink is while at the back of the pack. Same goes for clearing mucus.

  • If you are last rider, when a rider is dropping back to the rear of the paceline, say “Last Rider”.


  • Maximum draft is within 25cm of the wheel ahead of you, but there is some effect within a wheel length.

  • NEVER allow your wheel to overlap the wheel ahead of you.

  • In double pacelines, maintain less than one rider width shoulder-to- shoulder

  • Fill in gaps that open in the paceline to maintain efficiency and predictability

  • If the pace is too fast for you, check BEHIND and around you for cars and other riders, then move safely out of the paceline and “sit on” at the back until you recover.


  • Looking back. While riding alone, practice maintaining a smooth straight line while glancing over each shoulder. Best done with hands on the tops or on the hoods, not in the drops.

  • Drinking. Move your strong hand near the stem on the bar tops, take your bottle with your weak hand.

  • Clipping and unclipping. On quiet residential streets, start and stop over and over until it’s a reflex.


  • Get to know your own stages of effort. For example, gasping means that you will soon have to reduce effort.

  • Tense arms and shoulders, being out of the saddle, pedaling “squares” or “hammering” increase effort.

  • If breathing is okay but your legs are burning, try lighter gears (faster cadence)at the same road speed


  • It’s good strategy to start long hills at a steady pace in lighter gears and below your maximum power, then Increase your effort near the top, rather than going all out at the bottom and fading near the top.

  • Keep effort high until you are really past the top

  • Climbing seated is more efficient than climbing out of the saddle. Watch the pros!

    • Climbing out of the saddle at lower cadence is necessary sometimes.

    • Anticipate the climbing rider ahead of you rising out of the saddle, as their bike may “go backwards”

    • Rise out of the saddle on a strong downstroke to keep from suddenly slowing down and endangering the rider behind you

  • When riding small hills in a pack, maintain speed and stay with the riders ahead of you.


  • Try to maintain the cadence that is comfortable for you by shifting when speed and grades change.

  • Most cyclists are comfortable and efficient between 70 and 90rpm. While alone on a flat road at a fast steady speed for you , experiment two minutes at a time with gearing to find the cadence that maintains that speed with minimum leg- burning , fatigue and gasping. It will take a few weeks to “know”

  • If you are always below 50rpm when climbing hills, try a gear cluster that gives you lighter gears.


  • Do you need a professional bike fit? If you are not comfortable on your bike after extended rides, you are limiting your endurance, efficiency and enjoyment. Some quick things to check.

  • After a longer ride, what hurts most?

    • Neck? Relax (drop) your shoulders, keep your elbows soft and slightly bent

    • Buttocks? It takes some hours in the saddle to get comfortable in a new saddle. Be sure that your “sit-bones” are on the wide, flat part of the saddle.

    • Knees- your patella should not be ahead of your pedal spindle, nor too far back. IMPORTANT!!

    • Lower back- aim for a slight, 25-30 degree bend in your knee at full extension

    • If all your gradual, one-at-a-time adjustments do not improve your comfort, have a local bike shop do a fitting.

Please review these videos as well.




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