Yes, this is what the ARB Wednesday Night shop ride has come to be known as! Does this mean it's a super fast ride? Well.... yes and no! Most of the year, we split the ride into two groups: an "A" Advanced Group (Drop) and a "B" Skills Group (No Drop). Yes... the A Group is fast and meant for the fit and more experienced cyclist. If you can't hang with the pack, you'll get "dropped." But that's okay.... you can always slot in with the B Group, which moves at a more controlled, moderate pace (but still brisk) with a focus on improving skills for group riding. If there aren't enough people to form an A Group, we ride as one B group.
Location: ARB Cyclery, Main St. & Red Hill Ave., Irvine (plenty of parking)
Distance: Inland Route: 22.5 miles
Terrain: Flat to Gently Rolling Hills
Advanced Group ("A"): 18-21 mph
Skills Group ("B"): 17-19 mph (leaves 3-5 minutes after A Group)
Note: Each Group typically has a ride leader and the Skills Group also has a sweep.
The Wednesday route is essentially a rectangluar loop that gently rises the first half into the low foothills of Tustin and Irvine. After the first regroup point, we make a right turn onto Portola Parkway as we hit some rollers and gradually rise to about 400 feet. At the halfway point (second regroup) we take a right onto Sand Canyon. From here, it is mostly a gentle downward slope back, although typically going against an onshore wind.
Advanced "A" Group
The A Group consists of experienced bike handlers and very fit cyclists. You must be adept at riding in a tight pack at a fast pace. The regroup points will be brief - allowing just enough time for the group to come back together after a natural splitting on the preceding inclines. The A Group is typically led by an ARB staff member and/or members of the ARB race team. If you are a seasoned cyclist or have been riding with the B Group for a while, we encourage you to test yourself in the A Group. Whether you can hang with the group is of less importance than having good bike handling skills. If you get dropped, it's no big deal. The best way to step up your game is to ride with stronger cyclists. If you drop back and ride with the B Group, please slot in and ride appropriately.
Skills "B" Group
The B Group is meant for those who desire to ride at a steadier, more controlled pace (but not leisurely), with a focus on smooth group riding skills. This means riding two abreast, shoulder to shoulder, but sometimes single file when road conditions warrant. From time to time, we will work on pacelining. This is a brisk ride but not full gas. It is NOT a ride for true beginning cyclists but IS appropriate for those who have a reached a certain level of fitness and have some experience with group riding. If you have no group riding experience, we'll ask that you ride with the Sweep for at least the first few miles. The regroup points for this ride will be a little longer to bring as much of the group back together after any splits during the preceding inclines. The B Group will typically have a "Sweep Rider" for those who find the pace just a bit too high and cannot maintain close contact with the main group. Our intent is not to leave anyone completely on their own.
During the peak Spring/Summer weeks, when the sun doesn't set until 7:50pm or later, we add our KOM/QOM contest! The route is lengthened to include Strava's Portola KOM Climb. This is always a fun and exciting addition to give us all some extra motivation. We give shout outs on our Facebook page and website to all who set Strava PRs.
As summer's daylight fades, the ride gradually begins to finish after dusk, requiring lights. And once the clocks are turned back, the ride will start AND finish in the dark. But we keep going year round!
In the "off-season," the pace is usually less intense with the goal being to maintain your aerobic base. Night riding provides for a different experience and gives you a chance to keep your regular mid-week workout going with the camraderie of fellow riders.
Lights are mandatory once the rides finish after sunset.
Ride Rules & Etiquette
*Bicycle must be in good working condition
*No headphones or earbuds allowed
*NEVER ride more than two abreast - and only when bike lane is wide enough to allow it
*NEVER run red lights
*Fixed gear bikes must have brakes (single speed okay)
*Lights mandatory when rides do not finish in full daylight
*Follow all California motorist laws as they pertain to bicycles