Ride classifications

Free Group Rides are classified by ride characteristics such as pace, terrain, starting location/region, regroup frequency, special interest or theme and weather cancellation policy.

Cascade’s Free Group Rides are searchable by classification. Look on the left sidebar of Cascade calendar page for the option to search for rides by date, pace, location, interest, or terrain. 

Find your next Free Group Ride now >>

A guide to Free Group Ride classifications

To help you select a ride that suits your style, skills and energy level. For your first Free Group Ride, choose a ride with a pace and terrain that you feel confident about, and with a location you are comfortable with. If it is too easy, you can look for a faster paced ride next time, and if you can’t finish, it’s better to be in an area you are familiar with and know how to get home from.

Pace

Pace classification indicates the intended range of speeds on level ground without breaks. This means downhill sections of the ride may be faster, and uphill sections slower.

  • Easy: Under 10 mph       
  • Leisurely: 10-12 mph
  • Steady: 12-14 mph
  • Moderate: 14-16 mph
  • Brisk: 16-18 mph
  • Vigorous: 18- 20 mph
  • Strenuous: 20-22 mph
  • Super Strenuous: 22+ mph

Note: For rides with a “hilly” terrain classification, consider choosing a pace one step down from your usual comfort level.

Terrain

Terrain indicates the most common or average terrain type of the ride and should be considered relative to the length and overall difficulty of the ride. For example, a long-distance ride with a lot of elevation gain will be overall less challenging than a short ride with equal elevation gain. Consider the pace and frequency of regroup as well to understand how advanced a ride may be.

  • Mostly flat: Trails and/or mostly flat roads with a possible gentle uphill
  • Rolling: Climbs are short and easy, not too numerous
  • Some hills: A few short, steep hills, some moderate upgrades and/or longer gentle climbs
  • Hilly: Consistent or continuous climbing
  • Off-road: Significant unpaved sections

Location/Region

Location indicates the region a ride begins (and usually ends) in. While rides may travel through several regions during the ride, the purpose of this classification is to help riders locate a ride starting in their area. Contact Stacey Williams at staceyw@cascade.org if you don't see your region here or would like a region added.

Our regions currently include:

  • Seattle
  • North Seattle 
  • South Seattle
  • West Seattle
  • Mercer Island
  • Bellevue
  • Edmonds
  • Woodinville
  • Kirkland
  • Redmond
  • Marymoor
  • Renton
  • Kent
  • Pierce County
  • Snohomish County
  • Puget Sound Islands
  • Other 

Interest

Our rides have many different focuses and themes. Many rides have more than one interest category indicated.Check out our different interest classifications for a ride that matches your goals.

  • Bicycling Basics / Getting Started: Supports beginners and those interested in learning about bicycling.
  • Commuting: Highlights commuter routes and methods of riding.
  • Family / Kids: Focused on family groups and young riders, but open to all who wish to participate. Often include stops for fun activities.
  • Fitness / Health: Looking to burn calories, build strength or breathe fresh air? These rides are perfect for those looking for healthy exercise outdoors.
  • Mentor Ride: A mentor ride indicates that the ride leader is open to mentoring or is planning on mentoring a prospective ride leader during the ride.
  • Offroad / Mountain Biking: Taking place mostly on dirt or gravel roads and mountain bike trails. Please have an appropriate bike for these rides.
  • Recreational: Focused on fun! Can include local/seasonal activities along the way.
  • Safety: Focused on safe gear, trails and methods for riding.
  • Social: For talking, meeting new people and riding with friends. Generally slower paced, and involving a stop somewhere for food or coffee.
  • Training: Focused on preparing riders for a specific upcoming event, or to increase speed, endurance and performance in general.
  • Women: Focused on female riders, but open to all who wish to participate.
  • Other: A ride with a particular or unique focus, look in the ride description for details.

Regroup

Indicates how often the leader stops to regroup. Generally faster-paced and longer-mileage rides regroup less frequently. "None" and "occasional" regroup categories generally expect experienced riders who can fix their own minor mechanical problems and follow a map or cue sheet if they get separated from the group.

  • None
  • Occasional
  • Frequent
  • Stay together

Weather cancellation

Indicates whether or not certain weather conditions cancel the ride. In case of cancellation, Ride Leaders will either post in the comments section of the Cascade ride posting at least two hours before the ride start, or be at the ride start to alert riders to cancellation.

  • Showers cancel
  • Steady rain cancels
  • Ice/snow cancels
  • No rain cancellation: We ride!

Repairs

All riders are expected to carry the equipment necessary to fix a flat (tube, patchkit, pump). Ride leaders are not responsible for mechanical problems.