How the rides are graded

All our rides are different, and it’s good to find one that suits you in terms of distance, pace/fitness levels, and the type of bicycle you’re using. If in any doubt please have a chat with the ride leader (click on a ride to find the leader’s contact details)

Please note: It was agreed at the club meeting on 26th July that the 1, 2a, 2b and 3 levels would be renamed as 1, 2, 3 and 4.  This will happen sometime during August, and we’ll make it clear when it happens…

The difficulty is graded like this…

  • Level 1 : Mostly flat, slow pace, suitable for beginners or those returning to cycling.
  • Level 2a: Some hills, moderate pace. We will ride up some of the hills, but may walk up the steeper ones. Suitable for those who are progressing beyond Level-1 riding, there will be several stops.
  • Level 2b: Some hills, good pace. We will ride up most of the hills. A certain level of fitness is needed, and compared with 2a rides these will probably be longer, faster, and maybe with fewer breaks.
  • Level 3 : More hills and a faster pace. A good level of fitness is required, and these rides are most suited to a Road Bike (see ‘type of bike’ below)

“Why is there 2a and 2b?” you ask…
In the past we categorised the rides as being Level 1, 2, or 3. You’re probably aware that slow-and-flat rides are Level1, and that fast-and-hilly rides are Level3. The problem we had was that everything else got labelled as Level2,  and that covered a LOT of rides!
With so many rides falling into the same category it was becoming difficult to say which ones would be suitable for which people, and we’ve witnessed the odd occasion where rides were advertised as Level2 but were too fast for some riders.
…hence the split into 2a and 2b  🙂

The distance is graded like this…

  • Short distance; Less than 15 miles total
  • Medium distance; Between 15 and 30 miles
  • Long distance; Over 30 miles

The type of bike is often a consideration too…
While in theory any ride can be done on any type of bike, doing so won’t always be pleasurable for you or the other riders, and might not be safe either. With this in mind, we often recommend a certain type of bike.

There are many styles of bike, but we’ll talk about these three :

  • Mountain bike (MTB) – These have chunky tyres, suspension, low gears for climbing hills, and probably a low saddle. This type of bike is designed for rough terrain, but could be used on-road if the ride isn’t long or fast.
  • Road bike – Lightweight with an emphasis on aerodynamics, usually with drop handlebars and smooth tyres. This type of bike is designed for speed on roads
  • Hybrid Bike – Falling somewhere between Mountain and Road bikes, a Hybrid will probably have mudguards, maybe a pannier rack, have medium-size tyres with a tread, and flat handlebars. This type of bike is primarily designed for comfort and convenience, you might be able to do some gentle off-roading on it (e.g. Bedgebury main tracks), and if you have good fitness then you can probably go at a decent speed too

For example, a mountain bike (chunky tyres, tough frame, etc) is the only type of bike suitable for off-road rides, but they’re no good for long and/or fast rides where their weight, knobbly tyres, low gearing and different riding position make them hard-work.