Our Ride Classifications

Based on the premise that “if you want to get better, ride with better people,” we have created 3 distinct groups within Cycle Folsom. This allows riders with similar fitness and skill levels to ride together. Each group offers an opportunity to build a fitness base, or perhaps provide a challenge that will take you to the next level of performance. While our rides are not technically competitive, “friendly competition” may arise in an effort to test limits or inspire each other. When that happens, it’s usually done in a friendly, supportive, and inspiring way.


Welcome to Intro Level Rides & Base Fitness Building

Gruppetto riders are not likely to be thinking about their riding in terms of distance ridden, average speed or elevation climbed. These riders may be relatively new to road biking. If they are thinking about those things, they are likely returning to cycling after being off of the bike for an extended period of time due to family commitments, injury, or personal choice.

Gruppetto rides are planned as a structured set of rides that increase in length and difficulty over time. The primary focus of Gruppetto rides is to help cyclists improve their cycling skills, especially those related to group rides, and to build a fitness base that is necessary to successfully progress into other Cycle Folsom groups, such as the Peloton Group.

Using an 8 to 12 week rotating schedule, this group starts off slowly and builds on fitness and skillsets gained each week. The structured rides progress over an 8 to 12 week period, culminating in distances of 60 miles and encountering hills that are considered relatively challenging, even to experienced riders. After 8 to 12 weeks, the schedule resets and returns to the first ride, allowing new people to attend.

Think you don't need the Gruppetto Group? Check out our FAQ answer to this question.

Gruppetto Rider Characteristics

Gruppetto riders should be capable of riding on flat terrain, such as the American River Trail, for a distance of at least 20 miles (we will help you work up to longer rides, as that is the goal of this group). Gruppetto riders should be willing to ride additional days outside of the scheduled weekend rides to facilitate the fitness gains necessary to grow into more advanced Cycle Folsom rides.

Gruppetto Minimum Requirements

Although the Gruppetto Group is our entry-level group, there are a few minimum requirements that need to be met, a few minimum requirements ensure safety and enjoyment for you and riders around you.

You should be able to:

  • Ride a standard road bike with fully functional brakes (Sorry, no mountain bikes, tandems, or recumbent bikes. Use of aero bars is not allowed during group rides.)
  • Be able to take on nutrition and drink from your water bottle while riding
  • Point out debris/hazards to others while riding with one hand
  • Clip-in/out of your pedals
  • Maintain a consistent pace
  • Change a flat tire (Ride leaders will lend advice on tire changes for those new to the process, but you will need to perform the actual work yourself)

Schedule duration varies from 8 to 12 weeks, depending on group cohesion.

Start and finish dates can sometimes be delayed due to rain-outs.

Sample Schedule >

Members can see the current schedule/progress on our Meetup Calendar.

Download this outline of some of the topics covered each week, prior to the start of each Gruppetto ride.

Download PDF >

Try a favorite local 10-mile intro route around Lake Natoma to build your fitness while you wait.
Click to see the route on:
RideWithGPS.com >

Do I really need to join the Gruppetto Group?

We get this question all the time. Check out our answer in our FAQ section.
Q. The Peloton and Performance Groups look like the fun ones. I’ve been riding my bike for a while. Can I join any group I want and skip the Gruppetto Group?


The Peloton Group rides are geared toward riders who have been training for a good part of the season and who have increased their stamina and strength already. Read the ride descriptions carefully to understand the anticipated mileage and pace.

Peloton  Rider Characteristics:

Peloton Group riders should be capable of riding on flat terrain, such as the American River Trail, for a distance of 60 miles in about 3.5 hours (17mph). Peloton Group riders typically ride two or three days a week which generally includes the Saturday Group ride and one or two other days during the week.

Peloton Minimum Requirements:

In addition to the requirements listed below for the Gruppetto Group Description, there are few additional minimum requirements that need to be met to ensure safety and enjoyment for you and riders around you. At minimum you should be able to:

  • Comfortably ride within a paceline or peloton
  • Comfortably ride on public roads with tight shoulders and/or traffic
  • Maintain a consistent pace


Advanced Skill & Fitness

If you’re targeting a Criterium, Road Race, or Time Trial, this is your group. Rides are generally in the 45-80 mile range and may include intervals, overloading, etc. These rides also serve riders who simply need to pack a lot hard work into a few hours. Routes include flat or moderately rolling terrain, but often also include steep, repetitive climbs that require and explosive efforts.

Performance Group Rider Characteristics:

The Performance Group rider puts in between 150 and 200 miles per week that include at least one ride of 50-80 miles. A typical week might include the Saturday Performance Group ride, a recovery ride on Sunday, intervals or hill repeats on Tuesday, a recovery ride on Wednesday, and intervals on Thursday.