Training ideas for group rides

I’m currently looking for training sessions for our club. At the moment we are doing 4x2 Min VO2Max on the rides and long 100-200km tours. I can’t think of any other training that we can do in a group.

I think a big problem is that our group doesn’t have the same level of training. We have strong and weak riders. Some have a power meter, others don’t.

Do you have any ideas? What do you do on group rides?

When I was working with my son’s junior team I would send 1 rider off the front while the rest of the group soft-pedaled. After a certain amount of time depending upon the solo rider’s strength and experience, the group would do a rotating pace line until they caught the solo breakaway. After some recovery, another rider would be sent off and the process continued that way.
They were doing intervals and practicing pace lines while (hopefully) having fun too.


It can be a problem, but this is one of the beautiful things about cycling. Weaker riders can draft more and stronger riders can take more pulls. It’s not like a running group where everyone has to put out similar efforts.

I’m personally a fan of keeping group rides pretty organic rather than trying to bake in structure. We have “smash it” sections where the group splits apart, but always regroup after those. We make sure those sections are safe stretches of road where people won’t be tempted to take risks (no descents or crazy corners). Drop rides have their place if you have enough folks for multiple groups, but dropping individuals out in the middle of nowhere sucks (but OK as long as it’s made very clear at the start). I don’t think “group intervals” make any sense on a group ride, but I’ve never been on a group ride where that’s been a thing.

I think of group rides more for pack skills and just getting some miles in with friends. You can practice rotating pace lines (hard but not impossible with a wide range of fitness). Other things quickly start getting into “racing on the road” and can get dangerous. I know some folks treat their group ride as their racing outlet, but in my experience it can turn bad if not managed carefully. You can do it on some sections of road under certain traffic conditions. But once people start pushing descents, cutting blind corners, blowing stop signs, etc., they are putting the entire group at risk. It’s cool to get competitive in safe situations, but some people struggle with limits and try to “win the group ride” at all costs. Those people need to sign up for a race if they want to scratch that itch (in my opinion).


If you have a safe, quiet stretch on one of your rides and enough folk you can split the ride into an APR (Australian Pursuit Race).

Don’t know the size of your group, but we often have group training sessions where we do everything from 1 minute to 20 minute intervals. A couple keys: 1. Let people know it is ok to sit in the draft if needed. 2. Have a planned route that everyone knows. That way if you get separated during a long interval, the front riders turn around and everyone regroups during the rest intervals.

Town Sign Sprints - These are the best way to teach riders how to sprint, how to beat others in a sprint, when is too long, when is too late. The added competitiveness really, really helps.

Riders without a sprint can sniff them out early even.

Many riders have what it takes to unleash a good sprint, so many just don’t know how to, and definitely don’t practice it enough.

1 Like