The bread and butter rides during the winter are the weekly group spins. The page has all the detail you will need but broadly speaking riders will be riding in one of the below categories.

We're continuing the colour-coded system of sorting riders which has served us well but will be making a few tweaks based on your feedback over the years.

The groups are based on estimated distance and average speed - and you should be comfortable with BOTH. Of course, average speed is highly weather dependent, but it will give you a general idea of what you can expect on one of these spins.

As the season progresses, group riders who are deemed too strong or too weak for a given group will be prompted to move to a more appropriate group in order to maintain the listed average speeds. The great thing about being the biggest cycling club in Ireland is that you will always find a group that is going your speed. 

What you will find is that over the course of the year the distances, speeds and vertical metres of the groups will increase naturally as riders get stronger although perhaps not ready yet to move up to next group.

In addition to these groups there are various other rides, usually smaller, that go out at different times and are open to members. These tend to have a group leader – either formal or informal – who will set the ethos of the group and the aims of the group. You are welcome to join these rides, but please respect the aims of the group and if you are either too good or too weak to comfortably ride in the group please be self-aware and excuse yourself from the group. There are quite a number that run during the summer when the official spins end and we will post details nearer the time. 

There will also be groups linked to specific events, i.e. a beginners' Sportive ride, a Marmotte training group and we will post details of these as they come in.


 White  9:30am start for Winter spins

Average speed: 20-22kph
Distance: 50-85km
Skills: Group skills

Orwell Leaders :  Yes - and on designated dates - Minders to help newcomers into group riding

For those new to the sport, or unaccustomed to club and group spins. Spins will start at around 50km in length.  Coffee stop is mandatory. Great fun for those who have mastered the basics, but want to get a bit stronger &/or look forward to riding with like minded souls. You're more than welcome to stay in White for the year and we have many members in this grouping. Others move on at their own pace to...


 Yellow  9:20am start for Winter spins

Average speed: 22-24kph
Distance: 60-95km 
Skills: Group skills, increasing distance and average speed

Orwell Leaders : Yes

Riders who have a feel for the sport and are confident on the bike, in a group and able to move efficiently for 1.5- 2 hours before a break. Spins will start at 60km in length and at a slightly faster pace than White. If you were comfortable White last year, or did the Wicklow 100/ SKT 100 etc without too much bother you should give some consideration to starting here. The second captain and his team are moving up to here after 3 years in White.


 Orange  9:10am start for Winter spins

Average speed: 24-26kph
Distance: 70-100+km
Skills: Improving climbing skills, increasing distance and average speed

Orwell Leaders-  no, self led by the group

This group is for improving to strong riders who like a little bit more of a challenge and are comfortable riding in a group. Distances are longer and pace a bit faster than yellow.

Last year too many strong riders stayed in here long past the time to move into Red, so we will be encouraging them to move up this year. If you completed all or most of John Lanigan's 200 Group, if you've clocked an average of over 30kph on a Group Ride , if you were among the early finishers in the Marmotte , then up you go.


 Red  9:00am start for Winter spins

Average speed: 26-30kph
Distance: 70-120km 
Skills: Improving climbing skills, increasing distance and average speed

Orwell Leaders-  no, self led by the group

This group is for those who have a good level of fitness, are experienced in cycling in a group, and are up for longer spins at a higher pace.  The spins will start at around 80km and work up to about 100-120km by Christmas. Mindful that people don't want to be out all day , breaks on this may usually be shorter than the more leisurely ones enjoyed in other groups.

After Christmas, this group will split into two:

- a sportive red, where the routes will tend to involve a good bit of climbing, a fair clip and a presumption of a stop.

- and a racing red - which will be be flatter and faster (over 30k) and work on interval training, sprinting and race skills. Expect to be knackered after this one!