NCTC Rides are free and operate every Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we have three to four ‘led or guided’ rides as detailed below. On Sunday we do not have ‘led or guided’ rides but we split into groups according to who turns up!
We meet in the Newmarket Leisure Centre at 8.45am with a view to leaving at 9:00am PROMPT every Saturday and Sunday. During the winter (November to February) we will leave at 10:00am to avoid adverse weather conditions. Please keep an eye on the club’s Facebook page for details and routes and whether the ride will be going ahead during winter.
These are the main ride ‘types’ we offer:
Saturday Social Ride
This is a led/guided ride, it is usually around 30 miles at a pace 13-15mph.
It is perfect for those cyclists wanting a social ride, those new to the sport, those coming back from injuries and sportive cyclists. All the routes for this ride are designed to take in a coffee stop during the ride unless otherwise agreed (sometimes the coffee stop is at the NLC at the end of the ride) and the group will stay together.
Saturday Club Ride – reclaiming the club ride!
This led/guided ride is usually around 35 miles but can be as long as 50 miles with up to 3000ft of climbing. The pace of this ride is in excess of 15mph but not above 16.5mph.
This ride is perfect for those wanting a step up from the social ride, triathletes, stronger sportive and touring riders and riders with a good level of fitness. It is also the ride for riders wanting to improve technique, such as hill climbing. This group stays together at all times on the level and reforms after climbs. This ride can include a coffee stop.
Prior to the Derbyshire Trip in April this ride will focus specifically on hill training to ensure a good base fitness for those attending. If you cannot make Derbyshire you are still welcome to join this ride!
Saturday Sporting Ride
This ride can be any distance between 40 and 60 miles and sometimes further. The pace of this ride is in excess of 16.5mph and on flatter routes can be as high as 20mph. Routes can include over 3000ft of elevation and can include the biggest hills in the Newmarket area.
This ride is perfect for strong triathletes, half and full ironman athletes and riders with a high level of strength and fitness who want to put in some strong shared training sessions. Please note that this ride does not always stay together, but is up to the riders themselves to agree the etiquette of the ride.
It is envisaged that the stronger riders from 2017 progress their rides to the Sporting Ride as necessary. You are still welcome on the Club Ride, however, this may require more discipline than before in terms of waiting at the top of climbs and/or junctions.
The Sunday rides are dependent on numbers. These are not led or guided rides and may split into two groups. This ride is usually around 15mph, 30-40 miles long and will occasionally have a coffee and cake stop.
We will be organising a 6 week block of Introductory Rides for the 3rd year this summer following the successes of the previous years. These rides are to introduce group cycling and etiquette. The rides will require advance sign up and be limited to 8 cyclists per week. The rides will be lead and include a coffee stop part way. They will be no more than 25 miles and speeds will average between 10-14mph.
Whilst we do not currently have any specific junior rides planned, juniors are welcome on our social rides and introduction rides subject to a parent/guardian being present and that they are able to keep up with the advertised speed. The parent/guardian must stay with their ward throughout the ride.
You can see all our routes on the NCTC route page. If there is route you enjoy which is not included please let us know!
NCTC Guidelines for club Led Rides
We want cycling on the public roads to be an enjoyable experience for us and other road users. As a club we want to support and encourage people to ride safely, respecting their fellow riders and other road users to reduce any risk and danger.
A group ride is just that – the safety of the group is paramount and this means adapting your riding style and preferences to achieve it (e.g. feathering brakes on descents, moderating your pace, holding a line etc.)
Please read the following simple “rider etiquette” to help us achieve this. If you are unsure about anything or want to make any comments then please ask.
1. Use the right equipment. Bikes do not have to be the latest or lightest – but should be maintained and fit for use. All riders should come along equipped with lights, puncture repair/inner tube, and tools, food and fluids as appropriate. We also recommend at least a rear mudguard when it is wet as a courtesy to fellow riders, however, this will not be enforced. For insurance reasons, we ask that everyone that comes on a ride with wears a proper cycling helmet that fits. We have a helmet policy and our led/guided rides require it.
2. Observe the Highway Code. The legal position is clear (Highway Code, Rule 66): “never ride more than two abreast, and ride in single file on narrow or busy roads and when riding round bends”.) Riding three abreast is dangerous to riders and motorists – not least because the middle rider of the three has nowhere to go if there are any problems to avoid. This happens most commonly on descents where some riders can feel the pace is too slow. Please be patient as the safety of the group is most important, not how fast you can go downhill.
3. Respect our Ride Leaders/Guides. Some of our rides are designated as “Led/Guided Rides”. These have trained, volunteer Ride Leaders/Guides whose judgment and direction should be respected at all times. Their primary responsibility is to get everyone out and back safely and enjoyably.
4. Keep the pace consistent. All of our rides have an advertised speed increasing from Social, through Club, to Sporting. These are organised rides not competitive events – no ride with our club is a race! On the return leg of a ride or along designated stretches there may be the opportunity for an increase in pace but this is via mutual agreement and always respectful of other road users. This is a key challenge for riders on the front. It is always best to go a bit too slow than a bit too fast. Riders should make team-mates aware if the pace is too high or too low.
5. The front rider(s) is a position of responsibility. This is an important part of the group riding etiquette. When you are on the front you are the main eyes and ears of the whole group. You must think about the group as a single body. Stay eagle-eyed looking for dangers and be ready to call out hazards and communicate them to the rest of the Group behind. Look ahead into the distance to see what other dangers are lurking – and don’t be tempted to turn your head to talk to your fellow lead rider. Each rider should take a turn on the front (no wheel sucking!).
6. Regroup at the bottom of descents, the top of climbs and after junctions/passing obstacles. Groups often split when they have had to line out to pass a car, or on a steeper/longer rise where it is difficult to keep everyone together. In these cases be aware and steady it up for a while to let everyone to get back on or chose somewhere safe to wait.
7. Good handling and roadcraft. Each rider is responsible for the basic techniques of riding which improve handling and control, communicate hazards through the group and promote safety for all. If you don’t know about them, ask. When you are riding side-by-side, check periodically to make sure that your front wheel is not ahead of your partner’s (known as “half-wheeling”). Likewise, make sure you are ready to brake immediately – positioning your hands on the hoods or drops, not the handlebars are usually best for this. There are also techniques for group riding which manage a smooth change of front riders (”through and off”), switching from side-by-side to a single file (“lining out”) on narrower roads or around obstacles and even navigating junctions quickly and safely as a group (sometimes called “snaking”). These are more advanced and need the understanding of the whole group.