But rather than heading off on a solo trip or not riding with them at all, use these tips to continue riding with your slower friends without ignoring your own training needs.
Ride in a higher gear.1 of 13
The simplest way to even the playing field while riding with slower cyclists is to simply ride in a higher gear while they are in a lower one. Be cautious not to gloat about the discrepancy in your gears, though, as you might end up being the one to get dropped—as a riding partner.
Work your cadence.2 of 13
Ride in a lower gear but with a cadence 10 to 20 revolutions per minute higher than your natural turnover. Trying to keep up with your friends in a low gear at 120 RPMs without bouncing out of the saddle might just be the challenge you're looking for.
Mismatch your rides.3 of 13
Coordinate your calendars so they're riding on their fast day while you are on your slow day. This way, your speeds will more closely align or at least be similar enough that no one gets dropped or works above their threshold.
Opt for your gravel bike.4 of 13
There's no doubt that a slow road bike pace is challenging when you're riding knobby 33-inch tires with a more relaxed geometry—even in a pack of slower riders. And, since the appearance is similar to a road bike, you won't risk insulting them by showing up on a mountain bike, either.
Let your friend ride in your slipstream.5 of 13
Slipstreaming, or riding in the turbulent area directly behind another rider, saves up to a third of energy for the following cyclist. Letting a slower cyclist ride in your slipstream will help them preserve energy while also allowing them to keep up with faster riders in a group. Just make sure they don't get too close to your back wheel, because touching can spell disaster.
Do hill repeats.6 of 13
Tired of waiting at the top of a hill? Why not head back down—and then up again—while you wait for them to make it to the top instead? It's a better use of your time and you'll get some extra climbing training. Plus, the additional effort will make you more tired, slowing you down for the rest of the ride and keeping you at the same pace as the others.
Practice your drops.7 of 13
Many riders spend more than 90 percent of their time with their hands on the hoods. Riding in the drops can be challenging in a high-paced group ride, so why not practice during a more casual ride among friends?
Plan breakaway zones.8 of 13
Communicate with your fellow cyclists the sections of the ride you plan to work in a high intensity interval. Just make sure you establish the meet-up spot ahead of time.
Test out new gear.9 of 13
We all know not to don new gear the day of a race. But what better time to dial in your new power meter or try out a new saddle in a leisurely group ride? It'll be well worth it come race day.
Do separate rides, but come together at the end.10 of 13
Rather than doing the whole ride together, head out on your own regularly paced ride and then come back together at a previously discussed point to wrap up the activity together. That way you're both tired after a long workout and not too bothered by riding slow to cool down. And you'll still get to spend some quality time with each other.
Be supportive.11 of 13
It can be intimidating riding with faster riders. But it can also give those slower riders time to work on skills while also spending quality times with friends. Everyone was a beginner at some point, and no matter how fast you are, you've probably been dropped at one point or another.
Get a tandem.12 of 13
If all of the previous options aren't working for you, you can always get a tandem bike—then there's no way either of you is getting dropped!