Weekend Group 3 road ride survey

So I thought since we have had a few group 3 fast road rides, it might be nice to take a pulse on the rides we have done and get some feedback on what people think and some options for potential changes. None of this is binding, I’m just really collecting information:

What is your preferred ride distance for a weekend group ride?

  • 70km to 80km
  • 80km to 90km
  • 90km to 100km
  • 100km to 110km
  • 110km to 120km
  • More than 120km

0 voters

Would you like the ride distance to increase over the season?

  • No, keep it as is
  • Yes, a bit but not too much
  • Yes, lets make it a bit longer each week to get to really long rides

0 voters

Okay, how about stops for coffee?

  • Having a nice stop for coffee is important to me
  • I’d rather a quick stop and get on quickly (a gas station is fine)
  • I’d rather not stop if possible and get back sooner

0 voters

Okay, lets talk about averaging pacing:

  • Current pace is good
  • Rather the pace was a little lower
  • Would rather the pace was a little higher

0 voters

How about pace on the hills?

  • I like to go hard on the hills and let everyone catch up at the top
  • I would prefer it was more consistent and smooth on the hills keeping the group together

0 voters

How about trading pace for distance?

  • I would prefer a shorter weekend ride that was faster
  • I would prefer a longer weekend ride that was slower
  • I would rather it stayed as it is

0 voters

Where would you like to start (pick up to 2)?

  • Rim Park
  • Sobeys on Columbia
  • Laurel Heights
  • Somewhere in Kitchener
  • Somewhere in Cambridge

0 voters

Lets talk about destinations:

  • I like going to the same destinations throughout the year based on best route for the wind.
  • I would rather we go to different destinations even if it means a slightly suboptimal route for wind conditions
  • I just want to ride new roads and don’t really care about the wind or hills.

0 voters

Any other comments or thoughts please either reply to the thread or message me directly!




Very personal, but my distance preference is somewhat related to starting location. Since Sobey’s (west side) is close, I prefer 100-110 from there. If starting from RIM Park, it’s nice to bike over, which adds ~22 km, so a bit shorter / later start there is nice. But that’s just me, and I know others are coming from all over.

Super Oliver.

Evidence-based decision making.

Will let the survey results speak for themselves to inform the ride leaders decisions.


P.S. Can’t help but add the usual “legacy” commentary if it helps inform the landscape behind the scenes.

There has been the same group of ~10 of us that have been leading G3/G2 for ~10-15 years now…since it was originally called the “Train of Pain” ride on Saturday’s. G1 became the Race Team.

Thank goodness for Jon G. April B and Giles who created the first “intermediate” ride on Saturday’s. They won ride leaders of year award back in ~2014 for that. Bill, Brian, Brent et al…created incredible novice rides…which were not “novice”, but opened the club up to everyone. Then we started LTGR and published our Ride Leaders Guide and we decentralized leadership to club members and built up the volunteer force.

Before, pre-GPS, pre-Garmin, pre-Ride-With-GPS, pre-posting routes on websites…it was about on-road leadership. I am pretty sure everyone will agree all the technology, structure, communications, telemetry and social connectedness has improved the experience and opened up the sport to new audiences.

Every year at the Club is slightly different with new people joining, new styles of riding and fitness of the members is improving year over year. E.g. The “Fast-ish” groups (e.g. G3)…used to do struggle to get over 30kph and are now able to hold 38kph for long stretches, and push for sign sprints above 50kph.

I see the “jumpers” between groups. Which is super important and good as people commit to new training, realize their improvements and move up. Or conversely, want a different ride, or are injured or simply want to meet new people and move to other groups. You can feel it whenever people make the jump between the groups. The ride guidelines, culture norms and suggested group average speeds have been invaluable “explainers” of group ride culture and for setting expectations.

There is also a legacy of unwritten cultural nuances across all Groups. And the final group ride experience each time depends on who is in the group on what day. And we adjust routes and call audibles and break up the group if needed to ensure everyone is having a quality ride.

None of this should bias or change the answers to the survey.

Just glad Oliver and other ride leaders are stepping up to take the club to the next level.

And let him (and others know) that we old school ride leaders are always there in the pack to make sure everyone is following your lead.



Thanks for the insights and history @Francqlife

Good point about the start location @happenator I’ll add a question about that too. I live on the west side and tend to ride to the start too so a 90km ride from rim ends up at 115km.

I’m going to add another question about destinations too.

I agree with @happenator, except my location is exactly opposite to his, being close to RIM. I’d also like to see the club do what it can to encourage people to ride their bikes to the start location - just from an environmental perspective - although I recognize that’s difficult to do, and a personal decision. Many years ago, I liked when we had the meeting point more central (Philip or Albert St. area), then you could ride east or west from that location and the starting point was always the same. Many people didn’t read the forum, because you didn’t have to - just show up to the same spot every week and ride.

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Great survey. Those group 3 rides are instrumental for new riders, I loved them when I first joined the club. (I didn’t vote but wanted to provide feedback on how great they are) :slight_smile:


Great feedback everyone! I’ll keep checking this to see if we get more comments and votes but I think I have some good data to make some comments:

  • In general we are about where we want to be in distance and pace. Some want a little longer, some want a little shorter. Pace is generally good.
  • Stopping is important but not everyone wants a long or dedicated “fancy” place to stop.
  • The standard starting points are still where most people want to start (so that is easy). Interesting idea about a central start location. We should talk more about that.
  • Pace on hills is evenly split between wanting to go hard and keeping it smooth.
  • Destinations also widely split from doing the standards to the heck with hills and wind lets do something new.

So I’m not going to err to far from what we have been doing initially however maybe have some variations throughout the year and see what the feedback is and how the turnout changes. Last week it was a little spicy on the hills so maybe a little smoother this week to make the other 50% of the group happy ( so enabling the me not seeing above 400W on my power meter during climbs rule :slight_smile: )

The wind has been co-operative recently meaning some less travelled roads which has been great (@IanB has kindly updated the Belwood route so I’ll be posting for that in a bit for this Saturday). When we start getting the prevailing winds from the West (and we are bored of riding to Stratford) then maybe I’ll post some more experimental routes.


One thing I forgot to ask about is start times. I realize that start time preferences might change a bit based on start location (for example I live close to Sobey’s so an earlier start is easier for me when we start there).

I would prefer to start this time for a Saturday ride:

  • Before 8 am
  • 8 am
  • 8:30 am
  • 9 am
  • 9:30 am
  • post 9:30 am
  • I would actually rather we start in the afternoon sometimes

0 voters

Sounds great oliver. Love the data and engagement.

Let’s see how it goes tomorrow.

Butter tarts are the great equalizer. :+1:

Smooth is usually better (faster). Especially on a destination ride.

G3 does have one of the widest individual rider power profiles in the club. We have people coming up from intermediate and some who could ride G2 but want to relax and chat.

As the survey confirms, we have a dual power profile in G3.

The reason G3 developed the “give people the freedom to go hard on the climbs and sprints but wait for everyone at the top or end” rule is so that there is the flexibility to satisfy everyone. The 50% who want to climb and sprint fast. And the 50% who don’t.

The norm in G3 is if you don’t want to do 700 watts up a climb…or breakaway for 2mins at 500watts…then don’t take the carrot. Stay steady and a second group forms immediately. We’ll all be together in 60 seconds again anyway when we stop.

That way the 50% who need to dump some power or are training or going for PR or KOMs on Saturdays don’t get frustrated because power is normalized to a group average on the segment.

There’s something for everyone.

G3 tends to punch on the climbs and sign sprints. But we always regroup and soft pedal afterward together.

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Where’s the 6am option? All joking aside, even an 8am start would be amazing for getting back earlier.

I’ll probably just keep riding earlier to get some distance in and then join the group.

Some good points @Francqlife thinking it through a little more on the climbs I think the challenge can sometimes be deciding if the move on the hill is a bit of fun (and let it go) or the true pace for the climb (and stick with it or risk getting dropped).

No one likes getting dropped so I think many risk pushing too hard and then either blowing up right then or blowing up later. I know the rule for hills is more unwritten, maybe that is one we make a bit hard and fast like we do with stop sign sprints?

Some of this might come down to the purpose of Saturday rides, I always took them as more a base builder / social event but sometimes then turn into an extended Thursday ride (last Saturday was a little spicy). I could lead it more like a Thursday but then I think we need to make that clear. Anyway good discussion! Lets keep it going!

And @MarkW maybe we can look at an 8 am start when it gets hotter? Maybe avoiding the heat might be enough stimulus to get people out of bed earlier?


Great points and discussion.

I’m a light guy and love hills, but I do make sure to dial it back for Saturday rides. I want to see everyone get through the ride together.

Earlier would be great for the regular summer heat. Honestly, if it’s going to be in the high 30s I’m likely riding at 6am to avoid it. There are quite a few people among the various groups that are willing to do that when it’s just too hot. Maybe I can convince some others to do that on a scorching day.


Super Quality ride today @Oliver_Smith

Great to ride with @Bopper and @vikramSubramanian, Steve and Rob for the first half up to Bellwood.

@Jasonpollard ’s recommendation to put a dollop of ice cream on my buttertart was a difference maker today.

Downwind, downhill made it fast and steady all the way home.

And Middlebrooke was….Middlebrooke. Andrew, Colin, Drew, Jason, Eric, Joe, Jon, Oliver rotating like a freight train. :muscle:

I saw nothing but kudos and smiles from everyone for a great, dynamic ride full of variety and camaraderie.

We’ll done!



I think having the hills / sign sprints as hard as a rider would like to go (with regroup points) is the best option. :slight_smile:

These are fun rides but also development rides and it’s a good way for riders to judge their fitness.

Thanks @Francqlife for the comments (and for helping the second group get to Belwood!) and everyone else for coming out! Big group and lots of variation in speed.

@ChrisP it is a challenging ride to lead this year. While I think there are a few folk hoping to speed up and get into the faster groups, as you can see the in the poll, there is a significant minority (nearly half) who don’t want to go too hard on the hills. Even with me enabling my rule of 4 (no more than 400W on my power meter on the hills) with the variation of the group, it split pretty early. I think it was death by a thousand cuts when it came to the hills, not one effort that broke people but the surges beyond their comfort level.

My experience has been that Saturday Group 3 rides have generally been a more " keep the group together" mentality than Thursday or certainly Tuesday especially on the way out. But is has certainly been a drop ride. Maybe the group would like to change that? Certainly open to suggestions? Maybe I need to find a fastermediate leader to bridge the gap between intermediate and Fast 3? Fast 3 has been riding at the higher end of our speed range and it is only May!

@Oliver_Smith you will never satisfy all demands! It’s good to get feedback though, ideally the group grows and that way you can meet a wider range of wants.

It is nearly impossible to have a no drop expectation as a ride. But this group has always seemed like a work together ride on the way out. If the numbers allow you can split or make it more spicy on the way back.

It is worth reminding others that you don’t have to be off the front to get a workout in. If the group starts to split you can get a harder workout by going back and helping people struggling. Having people do that significantly improves the ride quality for all.

Riding hills is hard in such a mixed group. If you are a climber type build you likely need to dial it back on the climbs, communication is key to make that work. Ideally you have working derailleur @ChrisP and don’t blow the group apart :slight_smile:

Relying on the more experienced riders is key. The few times I have ridden with the group I have noticed a significant range in experience. Making sure riders are on the right side of the pace line based on fitness and wind direction is key. Along with letting those newer riders know not to feel pressured to work to hard early on. There are a few weird people that like getting dropped, but we tend to ride in the faster groups.

Haha apologies to everyone Saturday for that. I didn’t realize I strung everything out. For those not there my RD died and I was stuck in 48-10T or 35-10T grinding at ridiculously low rpm for the entire ride home.

I accidentally blew the group up trying to get to a “knee saving cadence” with 48-10T in one section. (6mins at ~42-43kmh in a cross wind at 68rpm :laughing:) I had no idea until Blake came up and mentioned the group was split. I averaged 87rpm out to Bellwood and 63rpm home)

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That’s actually a good point @bike_daniells. On the Saturday rides, a number of us specifically move over to the windward side to protect the group. Or take the headwind on the noggin for longer pulls.

On several occasions a few of us would turn around and ride backward to gather and pull people who found themselves off the back. The beauty of Group 3 is we don’t look at average speed, and EVERYONE waits at the stop signs to re-group and assess how everyone is doing (sometimes for 5 mins at a time). People will speak up in G3. On the weekend, we heard it and called an audible and formed a second group. No problem. It’s about 1) being with each other, chatting, and all getting there together for butter tarts.

But also 2) G3 isn’t just a faster intermediate group. It is closer to a G2 in style with hard sections, sprints and attack, but more breaks and easy rolling in between. G3 is “Fast-ish”. Especially in the second half. There were four G2-level ability people in our group on Saturday who are not interested (or ready) for a full on G2 training ride. We are getting them there. So that means a few 700 watt hill climbs and 60kph sign sprints for 60 seconds every once in a while. The other 3hrs is easy riding and working to keep the group together.

Everyone gets equal time at the front no matter what your power (another key feature of G3). But there are a few hills and sprints along every route which are known. Those always remain the “hot sections” in G3 no matter what the group make up. It’s what makes us…G3.

As Igor would say…"that sign sprint is not to be avoided ! "