Ability Guide

Ability Guide

What Colour Rider Am I?

Clapham Cycle Rider Ability Guide

The below is an ability guide that has been created to guide you to the correct rides for your ability. We have put this together to ensure that you enjoy our rides fully and build up your cycling ability smoothly. This is an advisory guide and not a list of rules or regulations.

ColourPace you can maintain on flat for 80km / 50 milesAverage speed on a flat ride (e.g Virginia Water)Average speed on a hilly ride (e.g Kent ride)Richmond Park lap timeDistance experienceBike type required
Purple25 km/hr (15.5 miles/hr)22 km/hr (13.5 miles/hr)20 km/hr (12.5 miles/hr)Under 27 minutes clockwise80 km (50 miles)Hybrid or road bike
Red28 km/hr (17.5 miles/hr)25 km/hr (15.5 miles/hr)22.5 km/hr (14 miles/hr)Under 24 minutes clockwise100 km (60 miles)Road bike
Black32 km/hr (20 miles/hr)28 km/hr (17 miles/hr)24.5 km/hr (15 miles/hr)Under 21 minutes clockwise130 km (80 miles)Road bike
Silver36 km/hr (22 miles/hr)31 km/hr (19.5 miles/hr)27 km/hr (16.5 miles/hr)Under 19 minutes clockwise160 km (100 miles)Road bike
Gold40 km/hr (25 miles/hr)35 km/hr (22 miles/hr)29 km/hr (18 miles/hr)Under 17.5 minutes clockwise180 km (120 miles)Road bike

80km/50 Mile Flat Ride Speed

This is the speed you should be able to comfortably ride at on a flat road for 50 miles, assuming there is no wind.


Flat Ride Average Speed

This is the average speed  for the entire ride, including slowing down for traffic lights, hills etc. You would therefore be expected to ride quicker than this speed throughout the ride – see the 50-mile flat ride pace. This is an approximate guide and so the pace may vary slightly depending on the ride leader and the ability of the group on the day.


Richmond Park Lap Time

This is the time it takes you to do one clockwise lap of Richmond Park, from start to finish. You can download the free Strava app, which will record your lap time for you providing you start and finish at Roehampton Gate (on Priory Lane). Strava is a great way to compete against yourself and get medals for beating your previous segment records – you can also see how your fellow CC members are doing on their rides and give them kudos for doing well. Otherwise, just set your phone timer and see how you get on.


Bike Type

This indicates what bikes are suitable for each ride colour. The choice is yours, but please be confident that you can maintain the required pace of the ride on whatever bike you choose – please do not complain if you struggle to keep up and end up jumping on a train home if you’re on a single speed or hybrid!


Distance Experience

This is a rough guide to what sort of distance you should have experienced cycling beforehand or feel that you are confident in your ability to complete. For example, Red rides are for riders capable of completing rides of 100km or more.


No Drop Policy

We are a social cycle club and will never leave anyone behind. However, if you are struggling to keep up with the advertised pace of the ride colour group you chose to join, you will be encouraged to drop down to a slower group (if there is one on the day), finish the ride at your pace on your own or find a train station to make your own way home. The exception to this is the Silver group, where the pace is defined by the group on the day. We advise everyone to download the route onto their phone or navigation device before joining a ride, in case they get split up from the group.


Clip-in Pedals

We recommend using clip-in pedals when attending one of our rides, as it makes a substantial difference to your cycling performance. However, it is not a strict prerequisite and you are welcome to join us if you are more comfortable using flat pedals.

Ride Etiquette

Please note that riders must stay behind the ride leader at all times (unless otherwise agreed), for the safety and enjoyment of the whole group. The exception to this is up hills, where everyone is free to do the hill at a pace that suits them. Riders MUST wait for the rest of the group at the top and we will always give the last rider up a chance to catch their breath before we restart (it’s worth bearing in mind that the faster groups take far fewer and far shorter breaks).

The ride leader will use hand signals and commands throughout the ride. Please make sure you pass these down the line of riders and help out your fellow team mates 🙂

For more information on Ride Etiquette please review our Riding Etiquette and Safety Policy


If you are still unsure please visit one of our blue or ‘all colour’ rides first, where we will happily give you some advice and tips.