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Getting older, riding slower, trouble keeping up with my group, advice please!

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Getting older, riding slower, trouble keeping up with my group, advice please!

Old 03-03-23, 10:29 PM
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Wow, I'm amazed by the number of replies and I really appreciate that, thank you. It'll be hard to respond to each comment because there were so many but Iíll try my best to give a proper reply.

I love riding with this group and they're like family after all these years. Theyíre mature, smart, interesting people. The rides are unique and adventurous and fit my interests exactly. I'm really determined to get at least a little faster and keep riding with them. Otherwise it'd feel like a personal failure, a major one. Likewise, an ebike would feel like a cop out to me. And sometimes we carry our bikes up hillsides or stairways (bike-hiking), so a heavy bike just wouldnít work.

Yes, I have a lot of time to do what I want.

terrymorse, your training program sounds about right to me and I think thatís where Iím headed.

Carbonfiberboy recommended hitting the gym. Probably excellent advice and my wife would be thrilled but Iím so resistant to it. Maybe thatís part of my problem. I donít know, itíd be such a big commitment and change for me. But you really struck a nerve with that one. Maybe.

That said I do a lot of hiking, sometimes with very experienced hikers, and keep up just fine on the climbs when Iím walking. I don't know why cycling is so much more challenging for me.

Bob Ross, I think my stuff amounts to about 10 lbs., or maybe a little less. A dual bottle cage, medium size Revelate frame pack with assorted tools, power bank for the phone, some GPS stuff, first aid kit, bike lock (sometimes), 2 or 3 tubes, pump, not sure what else. But I weigh 185 and the naked bike is probably about 25, so me plus the bike are about 210, making the other stuff about 5% more. The pack itself is kind of heavy. Maybe I could reduce it by 3 or 4 lbs. but would that really change anything? I had thought about this too, but I just donít feel like itís the problem. But Iíll give this some thought because so many people commented on it.

Classtime, yes, I had trouble keeping up even before the shoulder surgery. Also, in years past the group was bigger and there was usually someone slower than me, so I wasnít holding people back. Now the group is smaller, with the other slow guys gone. Being a smaller group we hit fewer red lights and there are fewer random stops, so I have less chance to rest. So I think the rides are actually a little faster than they were in past years.

I was talking with my brother today. Heís 2 years younger than me, is really fit and fast on a bike, and rides with a couple of groups. He said many of the other guys are in their 70ís and keep up just fine, and one guy in his 80ís is among the fastest. Maybe Iím just not built that way but it makes me think that with determination I can get faster.

Besides the physical aspect, I think I need to talk with the group and the leader. I have a feeling theyíll say that theyíre not nearly as fussed about this as I am. And I always have the option to peel off and ride alone, which I enjoy too. I just donít want to have to do it very often. I guess that besides not wanting to be the slow guy in the group, I see myself slowing down on solo rides, and donít like that very much either. Maybe part of this is a pride thing, or just not liking getting older.

By nature Iím a very deliberate and structured person but you can probably see that all this is kind of a muddle for me. Probably the best solution is a combination of things, with more hill training at the top of the list, which I plan to do.

Again, many thanks for all the replies. Iíll take time to re-read them all and figure out which suggestions are best for me. Much appreciated.
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Old 03-04-23, 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by beng1
I am not a fan of hanging with young people whether they are on bikes or anywhere else, they just don't have the brains, education or maturity that some older people have, so I will never miss them. .
Sorry to hear about the heart. Karma is cruel.

The thing about your disdain for young people ... what do you think Krishnamurti would say?

I know a lot of young people who are not idiots. They have less experience but a lot of old people (yell at clouds much?) are just old and bitter and rigid in their thinking and dislike young people as much for their energy and adaptability as because they are "immature."

Any generalization is only so accurate .... and we need to be careful when we let our negative thoughts and feelings (which we all have) color our perceptions.

When I was fast enough to ride with the local club, I was older than most, and there was quite a range of ages .... and no buttholes, no obnoxious people, no inconsiderate people.

I was much more of a Richard when I was young (like .... last week) and I am sure others might feel the same, but that is no reason to condemn all young people.

Well, that is my opinion.
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Old 03-04-23, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by 3940dxer

I love riding with this group and they're like family after all these years. Theyíre mature, smart, interesting people. The rides are unique and adventurous and fit my interests exactly. I'm really determined to get at least a little faster and keep riding with them. Otherwise it'd feel like a personal failure, a major one. Likewise, an ebike would feel like a cop out to me. And sometimes we carry our bikes up hillsides or stairways (bike-hiking), so a heavy bike just wouldnít work.
It's only going to get harder and harder to keep up with a bunch of 30-40 year olds. In your shoes I would be realistic and get a road e-bike, like the Orbea Wildwood posted a pic. It's not a cop-out at all when the guys you are riding with are 30+ years younger! Obviously not ideal for bike-hiking, but they're not that heavy.

I have a friend who rides both a normal road bike and an e-road bike for climbing rides. He's not particularly old (mid 50's) but he's a big guy (100kg ish) and simply can't keep up with the lighter whippets on the longer climbs. So the e-bike evens it out and he can stay with the group. The only etiquette is that he doesn't use all that additional power to drop everyone on the climbs. He just sits at the pace of the fastest guys on normal bikes.
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Old 03-04-23, 11:53 AM
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it’s a plus if you have supportive friends in your bike group - appears you have this

don’t be too hard on yourself - be realistic and enjoy
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Old 03-04-23, 11:58 AM
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also - if not prev mentioned before - make sure your bike is geared appropriately

and your warm up is sufficient

you will need your knees when you get older
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Old 03-04-23, 10:55 PM
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I'm your age, almost 70. A few comments:

Your "it's just 5% of the total weight is for these bags and etc" is true. Leaving all of it at home would just bump your speed slightly. Still, it's nice to cut down the load:

Pump and tubes and tools:
You are riding with a group of experienced road riders. Just bring one tube and a CO2 and a Genuine Innovations tiny inflator. In groups I ride with, a few riders are very good at tire changes and jump in to help. Just providing your own tube and co2 is all you need -- a rare second flat will get you a loaner tube.
Won't your phone last for the whole ride? And add offline mapping apps if you ride solo and get lost -- just a working phone and a view of the sky for these apps, no cell service is needed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Keeping up with the younger, fast group
Power meter:
I really like my Stages left side crank power meter. I get power numbers on my Garmin and the power data is included in the ride recording, of course. A single sided power meter is less expensive but not as accurate as a dual pedal or other full meter, but it's close enough for me. I think it's often less than 5% different than a full meter would show.
Riders use it for structured training sessions, and tracking their progress toward a goal ride or race.
But I use it for pacing, and for generally seeing how I'm doing over the course of the year.
Pacing with a power meter: I like the Golden Cheetah free analysis software that has a Critical Power chart. This chart is the best average wattage I've done at every time period from 5 seconds to hours. So I know my best 30 second power, 5 minute, 15 minute, etc, ranges. On a one mile climb that might be 6 or 8 minutes, I know a good target is about 200 watts for me. It's so easy to go too hard at the beginning, or to find that what feels difficult isn't actually near my maximums. I've set quite a few Strava PRs using this method, beating my best times from 5 or 8 years ago.

On flatter roads, it's iinteresting to me to see how the 3 second average power changes while I'm riding different cadences, and how much less power I need when drafting effectively.

Drafting on the flats:
Pre-Covid, I did some of the cycle club evening rides, sitting in with groups that were just a little too fast for me. I was good at maximizing an effective draft, watching wind directions and keeping gaps closed. These weren't very hilly routes, where I would likely be way off the back by the top of the climb.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dialing back the pace
Aesthetics over speed:
Now I ride with a smaller group. It started in the Covid lockdown era. We are fairly compatible in speed -- some of the riders are considerably stronger, but like the easier pace for them and the interesting routes. We often ride hilly routes, since that's the quiet country roads and the best scenery. I don't want to do those fast drafting club rides any more, this is much better for me. Small groups can let cars pass by easier, and find it easier to stay together, and can make ad-hoc decisions that are impossible with a big group. It's safer than riding with a big pack or riding solo.
We do some very hilly rides in the summer, but climb at moderate paces. I'm doing less yearly miles but a lot more elevation in the last few years. Back then, I wouldn't do the fast club rides that were hilly, and the easier paced club rides rarely had lots of climbing.

Waiting at the top of climbs:
I do ride with a couple of riders that can go really fast on climbs at times. But even then, they don't wait more than a minute or so for the last rider to arrive at the top. That's reasonable and expected.
I expect that a large group might get more impatient with that somewhat long wait, though.

Finding a group that has similar goals is very nice. We really like these rides.

At the extremes, though, I never did like being "that guy" with everyone waiting -- partly because I felt I had to max out my effort to try to get there as fast as possible. Doing my reasonable steady effort on climbs is a much nicer ride experience.

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Old 03-05-23, 07:43 AM
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A few folks suggested e-bikes, but aren't most road e-bikes Class 1? If so, the pedal assist tops out at 20mph which renders such a bike useless if you are hammering with a fast group of road riders. That is, of couse, assuming you don't hack the bike.
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Old 03-05-23, 08:29 AM
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Went through the same scenario with my father on the golf course as his abilities declined with age. His frustration wasn't so much with his declining abilities. It was because he wasn't competitive in his playing group any more. He wanted to change the rules of the group to compensate for his short comings. Problem was, they played for money. It was very small amounts mostly for bragging/needling rights. He was told to find another group if winning the money was that important to him. He did. Now in his 80s, the current group is still out there, what's left of them. As long as they're evenly matched and some money is changing hands, the scores aren't really important. The OP needs to figure out what's really important to him, and what will solve his frustrations. Getting faster and keeping it up is probably not going to happen. Finding another group with similar abilities and goals is most likely the answer, especially if the social aspects of the ride are important.
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Old 03-05-23, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Dino_Sore
A few folks suggested e-bikes, but aren't most road e-bikes Class 1? If so, the pedal assist tops out at 20mph which renders such a bike useless if you are hammering with a fast group of road riders. That is, of couse, assuming you don't hack the bike.
My Orbea is Class 1 and the hub motor shuts off well before 20mph, maybe 14-15mph. If one rides with the hammering fast group, they will likely be hammering to drop any e-bike. It helps me on steep hills and moderately steep extended climbs.

My opinion is that if one cannot regularly keep up with a group on flat-ish rides, then you might be with the wrong group of cyclists. Exception for anyone starting out as a newbie pedaler, realistically expecting to get stronger.

Maybe we need a poll, but my guess would be that the vast majority of older riders buying 700c road e-bikes are not going electric to be faster on flat roads. Rather, the reasons may be: help on hills, longer distances, faster recovery, or to ride with a more capable spouse.

Throttled machines that do not require pedaling to activate the motor and exceed 20 mph - should be called something other than bicycles = mopeds or pedal capable motorcycles.
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Old 03-05-23, 08:53 AM
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I can imagine, motorists are going to be more irritated when more and more group rides for aging slow riders slow down traffic.

Then there's be an argument from motorists why such old riders are on their bikes instead of driving?
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Old 03-05-23, 08:59 AM
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senior riders

there maybe some useful tips in this short read; https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/...FYhmDfZBBqw%3D
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Old 03-05-23, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dino_Sore
A few folks suggested e-bikes, but aren't most road e-bikes Class 1? If so, the pedal assist tops out at 20mph which renders such a bike useless if you are hammering with a fast group of road riders. That is, of couse, assuming you don't hack the bike.
My 2 friends who ride e-bikes have class3 bikes, 28mph assist. He has heart issues and she doesn't need one but got one anyway. It did help her train back to her previous fitness and she is transitioning back to her race bike.

E-bikes are banned in our club but they are allowed, being members for so long plus they don't do anything obnoxious on rides, like push the pace or make unsafe moves. They ride about like they always have.

They never use all the battery, even on hilly rides of 80 miles but if the pace is high he will get close to using it all. He's only about 150 pounds and switches the motor off when he can.

I've never seen an e-bike when riding with the other club and most clubs in the area that I know of don't allow them.
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Old 03-05-23, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Dino_Sore
A few folks suggested e-bikes, but aren't most road e-bikes Class 1? If so, the pedal assist tops out at 20mph which renders such a bike useless if you are hammering with a fast group of road riders. That is, of couse, assuming you don't hack the bike.
i donít know about most, but the most common electric road bikes around here are class 3.

the specialized turbo creo weighs 27-33lb depending on the model, assists up to 28, but only supplies a maximum of 240 watts. the assist can be adjusted to whatever percentage of the riderís input is desired, with optional max cutoffs, e.g. it could be set to add 30% more power up to a maximum of 50w. you can turn the assist on and off in stages from buttons on the bars, or adjust it in 5% increments on your phone. since th battery is only 320wh, this kind of control is needed on a long ride.

the newest competitor in this space is the trek domane+, which is a pound or two lighter than the creo, has a narrower and nearly totally silent motor, with a slightly larger battery. havenít ridden one, but is also available with 2x groups. creo is 1x only.

i hesitated to suggest it around here (lol) but i agree that a lightweight, low power e-road-bike would solve the OPs problem. it would be quite a feat to keep up with people half your age if they were trying hard. on an e-bike you can push your very hardest, and make up the gap with a little boost.
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Old 03-05-23, 09:03 AM
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Much thanks to 3940dxer for a good and detailed question and very through evaluation and response to the various plans and programs presented ... and thanks to those who responded.

I will never need any of this advice because I cannot even keep up with myself, and going faster is not part of my program, but perhaps I can learn a thing or two anyway.
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Old 03-05-23, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4
I can imagine, motorists are going to be more irritated when more and more group rides for aging slow riders slow down traffic.

Then there's be an argument from motorists why such old riders are on their bikes instead of driving?
In my experience older riders tend to be more courteous to drivers than younger riders.

Also, drivers who get irritated by cyclists are irritated no matter how old, young, fast, or slow those riders are. The one thing that upsets drivers the most is when we obstruct a lane when there is no reason to.
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Old 03-05-23, 10:45 AM
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At the risk of being too obvious, maybe you just a different group.

At age 66, I mainly ride with folks (men & women) who are retired and in my age group. Since we're not working, we can ride weekday mornings and since we don't have family obligations to get back for, we can leave later when it's cold. We still get after it pretty good, but no one gets dropped and everyone has a good time. 60 or 70 miles of hills, just not at 25mph.

If I ride the after-work rides, many are in their 20's, 30's, 40's and it soon devolves into the World Championship, drop and you're on your own, survival of the fittest. So fun for 30 minutes, then solo ride the next 90.
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Old 03-05-23, 10:57 AM
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when I was in my 30’s I did frequent rides with small groups that included some guys in their 60’s and early 70’s

these were the best bike rides I did - and some of the best years of my life

often these rides were slower / longer distance - including a few centuries

on long climbs I sometimes would power up a climb - then circle back down the climb and then eventually do the climb again ... join some of the slower climbers for the remainder of the climb to the top
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Old 03-05-23, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p
when I was in my 30ís I did frequent rides with small groups that included some guys in their 60ís and early 70ís

these were the best bike rides I did - and some of the best years of my life

often these rides were slower / longer distance - including a few centuries

on long climbs I sometimes would power up a climb - then circle back down the climb and then eventually do the climb again ... join some of the slower climbers for the remainder of the climb to the top
That's exactly what the fast folks did when I first joined the group, all younger than I. That's how you build friendships. Good for you. Eventually, I was able to keep up.
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Old 03-05-23, 09:52 PM
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I'm almost 62 and simply quit my cycling club years ago partially because I can't keep up with the group anymore. After a day's work during the weekday I'm simply too tired to ride, anyway. My club did away with the beginner and "old people" rides so there was really no reason to keep paying dues. Also I got tired of driving long distances to some far-flung place out in the hinterlands just to go ride a bike.

Last autumn I moved out of the "big" city (not Chicago big!) to a smaller bedroom community which is flatter with less traffic and much more bike-friendly. Once I get healed from my knee-replacement surgery I'm game to explore my new area that I really didn't get a chance to before. At this point in my life I'm too grumpy and really can't stand other people anymore. I just want to ride by myself, go at my own pace, don't have to load up the car with a bike and start my ride from the house or where I'm staying at on vacation.

That's probably not really "advice" but that's where I'm at in my cycling life.

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Old 03-06-23, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Dino_Sore
A few folks suggested e-bikes, but aren't most road e-bikes Class 1? If so, the pedal assist tops out at 20mph which renders such a bike useless if you are hammering with a fast group of road riders. That is, of couse, assuming you don't hack the bike.
The Orbea my friend has is Class 1 I believe. On flat fast group rides he prefers using his normal road bike and is actually a little slower on his e-bike. But any ride with significant climbing strongly favours his e-bike. The extra weight is not a major issue on the flat parts of the ride, but on the climbs he doesn't get dropped like he would on a normal bike. It makes for a better group ride for everyone. Nobody cares about the fact that he rides an e-bike (It's completely silent and doesn't even look like an e-bike). I think it would only be a problem if he was blasting off the front up every climb, which he realises would be poor form. He just sits in and lets the other riders dictate the climbing pace.
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Old 03-06-23, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat
It's their ride as much as yours.
Slight thread drift: As someone who spent 12 years coaching an annual progressive training course in Cooperative Group Cycling Skills I always get a bit uneasy when people talk about "It's my ride" or "It's their ride" or really any variant other than "It's our ride."

You want to ride together as a group? Then ride together as a group. Which means everyone in the group has to cast aside their personal egos and agendas and just ride for the group. If someone in the group is trying to meet their personal workout goals, they're not riding for the group. (If however they happen to meet their personal workout goals while riding for the group, that's gravy; that's win-win.)

Okay, sorry, off the soapbox...

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Old 03-06-23, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross
Slight thread drift: As someone who spent 12 years coaching an annual progressive training course in Cooperative Group Cycling Skills I always get a bit uneasy when people talk about "It's my ride" or "It's their ride" or really any variant other than "It's our ride."

You want to ride together as a group? Then ride together as a group. Which means everyone in the group has to cast aside their personal egos and agendas and just ride for the group. If someone in the group is trying to meet their personal workout goals, they're not riding for the group. (If however they happen to meet their their personal workout goals while riding for the group, that's gravy; that's win-win.)

Okay, sorry, off the soapbox...
That's why I ride by myself. Some people want the good and bad that comes along with a group ride and others don't. It's a choice and neither is wrong.
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Old 03-06-23, 12:22 PM
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Yeah ... when my club stayed fast and I got slow ... see ya!

For a while there were "beginner" rides at a pace I could do easily, and could even do when I got slow ... but people are so selfish---they go off and raise their kids, work to pay for homes and food and cars, and don't think that I might need them to organize a group ride on the odd day off I might get.

I tell ya ... people nowadays ...
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Old 03-06-23, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
The Orbea my friend has is Class 1 I believe. On flat fast group rides he prefers using his normal road bike and is actually a little slower on his e-bike. But any ride with significant climbing strongly favours his e-bike. The extra weight is not a major issue on the flat parts of the ride, but on the climbs he doesn't get dropped like he would on a normal bike. It makes for a better group ride for everyone. Nobody cares about the fact that he rides an e-bike (It's completely silent and doesn't even look like an e-bike). I think it would only be a problem if he was blasting off the front up every climb, which he realises would be poor form. He just sits in and lets the other riders dictate the climbing pace.
There are a few folks in the local club who seem to get their thrills blasting up hills on their e-bikes. I've tried to hang with them a few times, but there's no way. I crack at about 6 W/kg, but they just keep going. These are just social rides with lots of regroups, so no hurt feelings. If they did this on a fast group ride, that would be annoying.
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Old 03-06-23, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Dino_Sore
A few folks suggested e-bikes, but aren't most road e-bikes Class 1? If so, the pedal assist tops out at 20mph which renders such a bike useless if you are hammering with a fast group of road riders. That is, of couse, assuming you don't hack the bike.
Class 1 e-bikes can be pedaled as fast as you care to go.
I ride my ebike without assist for the majority of every ride I take, because I exceed the motor assisted speed. My rear hub motor disengages at probably ~15mph on the lowest level of assist. I like it that way.
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