Central Oregon Wheelers

Ride Classification System

Club rides vary in terms of pace, distance and bike type, which is summarized by the notation example: C/35/Road or a ride at a C pace that is 35 miles on pavement.  The Ride Classification System is designed to help you choose rides that fit your ability, interest, and fitness level. Camaraderie, group cohesiveness, safety, and enjoyment are all improved when we are able to maintain the pace. Mountain biking and gravel do not lend themselves to an average pace, so the pace for these rides is the equivalent road exertion. 


    Pace is an estimate of the average road speed the ride will travel measured in miles per hour.  At any given moment the actual pace will vary depending on a number of factors such as terrain, distance, group dynamics, road conditions and whatever may happen along the way.

    Our pace levels are presented in a table and a graph to help riders find their correct pace range.  B, C, D & E represent the different pace categories, D is the slowest ride category, A the fastest.   Even the "fast" A category, would be considered a recovery pace by a racer. We recommend that riders conservatively choose a slower pace range to start, and then adjust as experience and common sense indicate.  Remember that appropriate pace levels can fluctuate for an individual depending on their current fitness level.

    Here are two methods a rider can use to estimate a pace they can maintain:

    1) Average Speed Method

    Measure your average speed over an entire ride with a distance of at least 30 miles (20 miles for D riders).  The Twin Bridges Scenic Bikeway is a good ride for this Method.  A measurement of average speed does not include time when you are not moving.  For example, don't include time stopped at intersections, regroups, or stops for emergencies or mechanicals.  Average speeds for an individual will be higher for a flat ride, and lower for a ride with more climbing, or higher winds.   

    2) COWs Speed Trap Method

    Measure your elapsed time over the COWs Speed Trap course, a 2.8 mile segment of Skyline Ranch Road in Tetherow from the intersection with Skyliners Rd to the junction at Cascade Lakes Highway.  It is a rolling course.  To get a meaningful measurement, warm up with a ride to the start.  Ride the segment at your normal pace for a 20+ mile ride, without drafting and without trying too hard.  If you can, take the average of a few attempts. Then find where your time falls in the chart below:

    Faster <------> Slower


     A C D E
     Pace (mph)17-18   15-16 13-14 12-13.5 All Paces
     Rider adjective Brisk Moderate Steady Leisurely 
     Rider Characteristics Enjoy pace-lining and segment hunting, but always willing to regroup.  Comfortable riding a wheel.  Enjoy quick paced rides under 30 miles as well as endurance rides of 50+ miles. Enjoy a moderate amount of pace lining, with a comfortable distance (at least a wheel) between riders.  Riders will regroup to keep riders safe and on pace.  Rides will be similar to A Cat distances.  Enjoy riding in a group with more than a wheels' distance between riders.  Certainly interested in endurance rides at this intended pace.  Regroups are more common to keep group together. Enjoy riding in a group with ample space between riders.  Frequent stops to allow regrouping, and to take in the scenery. These are leaderless rides for all paces.  As a result, rides will be simple out back, or very commonly known scenic routes in the area.  Riders will start off together and find others of own pace, and will turn around when necessary.  All Riders are expected to know the course.

    The Old Pace Chart

    Pace Rating





    Average Speed Method (mph)

    11 - 13

    13 - 15

    15 - 17


    Speed Trap Method (minutes)

    14 - 16

    12 - 14




    Distance is given in miles, provided directly from the Ride With GPS route.

    Examples Using the Ride Classification System

    Pace/Miles/Regroup  Explanation
    C/31/Road Road ride at a C pace; 31 miles
    D/50/Gravel Gravel ride at a D-like pace; 50 miles

    Mountain bike ride at a B or C-like pace; 20 miles

    Central Oregon Wheelers is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization.

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