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Western Wheelers Bicycle Club
Ride Rating Classification System

PACE / HILLINESS (total climbing if known) / DISTANCE

RIDE RATING EXAMPLES: “C+/2/40” indicates a 40-mile ride with about 2000 feet of climbing, ridden at an average speed of 13 (the C+ indicating 1 mph faster than C). “E/4!(9700’)/100” indicates a 100-mile ride with 9700 feet of climbing, some of it very steep, ridden at an average speed of 14 mph. 


PACE (A-E): Indicates the average speed while riding, with A being the slowest and E being the fastest. Non-riding time is not counted, so rides with long stops may have the same average speed as rides with short stops.

HILLINESS (0-5): Rates the terrain based on the average feet climbed per mile for the entire ride. The formula is HillinessRating = (TotalFeetClimbed / TotalMiles) / 25, which yields:

Average Climb
0 0
1 25
2 50
3 75
4 100
5 125

The longer and steeper and more frequent the hills, the higher the hilliness rating and the slower the average speed. However, a low hilliness rating does not guarantee that a ride contains no long or steep hills because the rating could be diluted by flats around the hills. If a ride contains an unusually challenging hill for its hilliness rating, an exclamation point (“!”) is appended to the hilliness rating. The ride description will provide more details. It is possible but rare to have a hilliness rating greater than 5.

DISTANCE: Specifies the total mileage for the ride.

AVERAGE SPEEDS: The average speeds (mph) for the different pace and hilliness ratings are:

Hilliness Rating Benchmark: Old La Honda Rd.
0 1 2 3 4 5 Time VAM*
* VAM = velocità ascensionale media, Italian for “average climbing speed”, expressed in meters/hour
A 10 9 8 NA NA NA NA NA
B 12 11 10 9 8 7 43–54 min. 450–550
C 14 13 12 11 10 9 34–43 min. 550–700
D 16 15 14 13 12 11 27–34 min. 700–875
E 18 17 16 15 14 13 22–27 min. 875–1075

If the pace rating letter has a “+” or “-” appended to it, the average speed is incremented or decremented by 1 mph.

CHOOSING YOUR RIDE: The speeds in the above table may seem low because you know you can ride faster at times. Remember, however, that the numbers represent the average speed for the entire ride. Don’t attempt rides beyond your ability. If you are taking your first club ride, err on the conservative side. Novice cyclists are welcome on A rides. A, B, and C rides are typically more leisurely and have more regroups than D and E rides, which are brisker-paced rides for more experienced and self-sufficient cyclists.

If you are unsure which group to go with on hilly rides, time yourself up Old La Honda Rd. and compare your time with the time ranges shown in the above table. If your time is within the range for a certain group, you can feel comfortable riding with that group on hilly rides. Note that the OLH time does not refer to your personal best time, but to the time in which you can comfortably climb Old La Honda, and perhaps not just once but repeatedly, because that is the pace the group will be maintaining all day, on multiple climbs.

If you choose to ride with a slower group, you should not expect them to speed up for you, and if you choose to ride with a faster group, you should not expect them to wait for you.

WEATHER CONSIDERATIONS: Rides on pavement may be canceled if rain seems likely during the ride. If in doubt, call the ride leader.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: As needed, please try to bring basic tools, sunglasses and sunscreen, water bottles, food or food money, a first-aid kit, cell phone, “layered” clothing, etc. Bright clothing is recommended.

HELMETS AND WORKING BRAKES ARE REQUIRED FOR ALL RIDES. Please be prepared for the ride. (Make sure your bike is in working order, bring appropriate tools, food, water, clothing, etc.) Guest riders will need to sign a waiver before every ride. Minors need a parent or guardian with them to sign the release.

CLASS 2 EBIKES (having a throttle to propel the bike without pedaling) ARE PROHIBITED ON ALL WWBC RIDES due to insurance restrictions.


If you have any questions about our ebike policy please contact: ridechair@westernwheelers.org.

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