NEPA's Cycling Community Offers Rides for Every Level
If you’re a new rider or you’ve been riding for years and are thinking about diving into group riding, then you’re in the right place. The social aspect of cycling can make a huge impact on your enjoyment, skill level and fitness improvement. In a group, you’ll meet experienced riders who love to share their expertise and help others improve on and off the road. Even if you’ve been riding for a while, there’s still a lot to learn and plenty of exciting routes to explore. And it also helps to be around others if the unfortunate happens— we’ve all had a flat tire!
It’s important to know which local ride is a good fit for you. Based on the ride classification below, you’ll get a better idea of what the ride looks like in terms of distance, speed and skill required. As a rule of thumb, try to start at the lowest level (D) and work up from there, even if you’ve been riding for a while. It’s better to feel like you’re going really slow or are not challenged for your first group ride compared to feeling a bit uncomfortable or not knowing what to do.
The ride classifications are not hard-set rules, but they give a general idea of who the ride is geared toward and what the event will be like. Also, make sure you read all of the information on each ride prior to arriving and ask questions to the ride leader before the event starts.
You should also check whether the ride is a drop ride or a no-drop ride. On drop rides, if you can’t stick with the group, you’ll have to be self-sufficient and find your way back to the start by yourself. On no-drop rides, there are regroups that ensure that no riders are left behind. Typically, the lower category rides (C and D) are no-drop rides, and the higher categories (A and B) are drop rides.
D rides are generally shorter between 10-20 miles. They typically incorporate bike paths and quieter streets at a slow pace of 8-10 mph or so. These rides tend to be relatively flat with frequent regroups.
D rides are no-drop rides that are very social in nature. This ride is perfect for new riders or riders that have never ridden in a group before, with plenty of experienced riders to help pass on group riding skills and knowledge. For more experienced riders, this may also be a good recovery ride.
C rides are a step up from the D level with a typical distance of 20-30 miles and a slightly increased pace of around 12-18 mph. These rides typically take place entirely on-street with other traffic. They’re usually no-drop rides, but make sure to check the descriptions prior to attending. There may be some hills with regroups typically occurring at the top of the hills.
If you’re unsure whether you’re ready for a C ride, make sure to talk to the D ride leaders. They can let you know when to try and recommend which specific C rides would match your skill level.
B rides start to get a little competitive at times with paces increasing periodically and an average speed around 15-20 mph. Typical distances are between 25-50 miles with some steeper and longer climbs planned on the routes. These rides may be drop or no-drop designated. You’ll want to test the waters in the C rides beforehand to make sure you’ll be comfortable.
A-level rides are competitive rides that either have a high average speed of around 20 mph and/or offer increased distances of around 40 miles or more. This is perfect for racers and competitive locals that have experience with the B-level rides. These events are typically designated as drop rides and may contain steep and long hills that challenge fitness.
2021 NEPA Group Rides
Now that you have an idea of the ride classifications, check out this list of weekly local rides. NEPA’s cycling community offers something for every level, and you’re bound to find one that works with your schedule. Follow the NEPA Velo Facebook page for more information about each ride and an up-to-date ride calendar.
Tuesday Sprint Night
Starting Location: Sabatini’s in Exeter
Start Time: 5:30 p.m.
This ride follows a specific course that has multiple sprint points throughout. After each sprint, the group will slow to regroup and then prepare for the next sprint point. A moderate fitness level is required, and the group may drop a rider if they can’t keep up. Typically, this doesn’t happen, but riders should know how to get back to the starting location alone if needed. The ride usually takes around an hour and a half to complete. Learn More >
Saturday Morning Rides
Starting Location: Varies
Start Time: Varies
These rides do not currently have a specific starting location because they change every week, moving up and down the valley from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre. The time also fluctuates, but will regularly start between 8 and 9:30 a.m. This ride is a B/C level, meaning that there is some fitness required, but the group will not drop any riders with stop points to regroup throughout the ride. This ride typically takes around two hours or so depending on the route chosen that week. Learn More >
Around Town Bicycles Saturday Ride
Starting Location: Around Town Bicycles in Wilkes-Barre
Start Time: Varies
Make sure to give the shop a call during the week to confirm the start time. This ride is great for new riders and families with multiple regroups and a casual pace.
Monday Night Skills Ride
Level: A, B, C, D
Starting Location: Keystone Avenue in Jenkins Township
Start Time: Varies
The purpose of this ride is to work on group riding and cornering skills in a quiet area where you can avoid distractions and the dangers of the road. If you’re looking to get into racing or just improve their safety in the group, this ride is for you. Specific dates are to be set, so make sure to look on the NEPA Velo Facebook page.
Wednesday Waverly Rides
Starting Location: Waverly Community House in Waverly
Start Time: 6 p.m.
This is a brisk-paced ride that offers climbing throughout the route. The route changes every week to take in the different sights that Lackawanna County has to offer. This ride has limited regroups, so it’s important that riders are able to get back independently if dropped.
Cedar Bicycle Saturday Morning Ride
Starting Location: Cedar Bicycle in Scranton
Start Time: 8 a.m.
This ride is typically around 25-30 miles with different routes each week. There are multiple regroups during this ride to make sure no one gets dropped.