Want to Learn How to Ride?

Join One of Our Special Interest Groups (SIG)

Each spring, NYCC offers SIGs at C, B, and A levels. Each SIG consists of a series of progressive training rides that increase in speed and distance and teach cyclists to ride well in groups. Completing a SIG offers cyclists an ideal way to jumpstart their season.   More >>

SIG stands for “Special Interest Group.” 

The story of the SIGs.

Central Park Self Test Table

Unsure which ride to try? Assess your cruising speed by timing yourself on a four-lap ride of the complete oval in Central Park (24.4 miles).

Ride at a comfortable, sustainable pace. Fewer than four laps will give a false assessment. Find your time on the chart below and note the cruising speed.

4-Lap Time = MPH

1:10 or less = 22

1:10 - 1:13 = 21

1:13 - 1:16 = 20

1:16 - 1:20 = 19

1:20 - 1:25 = 18

1:25 - 1:30 = 17

1:30 - 1:38 = 16

1:38 - 1:48 = 15

1:48 - 2:00 = 14

2:00 - 2:14 = 13

2:14 - 2:30 = 12

2:30 - 2:50 = 11

Pick an NYCC ride that lists a speed that matches your cruising speed. It's that easy!

Prospect Park Self Test Table

Unsure which ride to try? Assess your cruising speed by timing yourself on a seven-lap ride of the Prospect Park loop (23.8 miles).

Ride at a comfortable, sustainable pace. Fewer than four laps will give a false assessment. Find your time on the chart below and note the cruising speed.

7-Lap Time MPH
1:05 or less 22
1:06-1:10 21
1:10-1:15 20
1:15-1:20 19
1:20-1:25 18
1:15-1:30 17
1:30-1:35 16
1:35-1:40 15
1:40-1:47 14
1:47-1:55 13
1:55-2:05 12

Pick an NYCC ride that lists a speed that matches your cruising speed. It's that easy!

Rides

Our Group Rides

The New York Cycle Club (NYCC) offers friendly group rides every weekend and some weekdays. Favorite destinations include Westchester, Connecticut, Long Island and across the Hudson to Bergen and Rockland counties. No matter what pace you ride, you will usually find a ride to suit you. A complete listing of rides can be found in the Upcoming Rides page as well as on the NYCC home page.

Safety is a priority at NYCC. The use of cell phones is restricted while on an NYCC ride. Phone calls, text messaging, photography, and social media usage are prohibited while riding. GPS Navigation and Ride tracking/logging on a cell phone are permitted. However, the cell phone must be physically mounted on your bike and, if your navigation app is audible, you may use an earbud while riding, provided that you use it in one ear only.

Riding bicycles with aerobars (whether or not in use) or without brakes are not permitted.

Helmets are required on all NYCC rides. This requirement cannot be waived by the ride leader.

Our Equipment Requirements

On A Level rides, road bikes are generally expected; riders with any other bike configuration should check with the ride leaders.

On B and C Level rides, you may use road, gravel, cyclocross, hybrid, and mountain bikes. Your bike is generally expected to have smooth to lightly treaded tires.

On D Level rides, you must use either a gravel or cyclocross bike.

The ride leader has the discretion to allow fixed-gear (fixie), single speed, recumbent, and other street legal bikes. Please contact the ride leader after signing up for the ride to discuss your experiences on group rides.

If the bike you are using has a non-standard configuration, you are expected to know how to operate the bike safely with that configuration. For example, older road bikes might have the shifters on the down tubes rather than on the handlebars; if so, you must be able to shift safely and keep up with the ride.

e-Bikes

If you have an e-Bike, only the pedal assist style is allowed. Please keep in mind that some rides require the use of mass transit where you will encounter stairways. You might need to shoulder the bike to climb/descend stairs. The ride description will let you know if mass transit will be used. The ride description does not indicate whether the stations used will be handicap accessible. Also, some of the commuter rail systems currently do not allow e-bikes to be brought aboard. For example: New Jersey Transit Rail.

Our Ride Levels Explained

NYCC ride levels are designated by a two-part ride level system:

  • Ride Level: the letters A, B, C, D indicate the expected skill set and typical max ride length, stop frequency, vertical gain, max hill grade, and predominant terrain.
  • Cruising Speed: this number indicates the target cruising speed on a flat road.

Cruising Speed

This is the target speed for a flat road in the absence of wind. This is not the average speed, which is generally 3MPH lower than the cruising speed. The average speed is terrain dependent. Cruising speed is not terrain dependent. For instance, on a flat ride with no wind and no serious road hazards, the cruising speed and average speed may be the same or close to the same. NYCC does NOT classify or describe rides by average speed.

Ride Level

Note: Below are general guidelines. Note also that ride leaders have the discretion to modify these and will generally indicate that in their ride description.


Level  

Skill Set

Length  

Stop Freq

Hill Grade

A & D

Tight, straight, rotating pace lines; completely self-sufficient

65-100+

35 – 40 miles

Could be very steep

B

Tight straight-line groups

40 – 80+miles

10 – 20 miles

Could be some what to very steep

C

New club members; less experienced members; and members looking for a more relaxed ride

35 – 60 miles

10 – 15 miles

Typically, gentle but may have a steep hill or two or three

Pacelines

A paceline is a string of riders following closely behind one another and benefiting from drafting. The higher the speed, the more the paceline shelters riders from the wind and resulting in faster average speeds.

NYCC rides at the A and D level ride in a paceline. B and C ride leaders have the discretion to indicate in the ride details that paceline skills are required if they would like to paceline during the ride.

Drop/No-Drop Policy

All B and C rides have a default policy of No-Drop, i.e.: never leaving a rider behind. This is to encourage new riders or those not familiar with the area and route to join with the confidence that they will not be left to fend for themselves. The ride leaders and other rider will assist with resolving minor mechanical issues that might happen during a ride.

B ride leaders have the option to follow a drop policy for the ride, provided that is stated in the details of the ride at the time it is posted.

All A and D rides by default, follow a drop policy, i.e.: leaving a rider behind, if they are unable to keep up with the pace of the group or there is a major mechanical issue. The expectation at this level is self-sufficiency: can handle mechanical issues; navigate via cue sheet or GPS; and can find your own way home.

Regardless of the drop policy for a ride, If the leaders feel that you are riding in an unsafe manner or do not have the requisite skills or endurance for the ride, they have the discretion to ask you to leave the ride.

How does all this work together?

Figure 1- Ride Listings

Figure 1 is a snapshot of a ride listing page. The ride listings provide some high-level summary info about the rides and links to the rides' details. The relevant columns of interest for new members selecting a ride are: Level and Distance .

The Level column indicates the ride's Level and speed, while the Distance column indicates how many miles you will be riding.

Typical Ride Groupings

The pace of our rides typically falls into the below ranges:

  • A/19 - A/22
  • B/15 - B/18
  • C/12 - C/14

However, occasionally you will find a ride Level with a speed outside the typical range. This happens because something about the planned route is more appropriate for the different ride level or speed.

It is my first ride, what should I do?

Be conservative. Choose a ride easier and shorter than you think you can ultimately handle. You will not enjoy struggling to keep up with a ride that is too fast for you, nor will the group enjoy waiting for you.

Unsure which ride to try? Use the Self-Test Table (on the right side of this page) to assess your cruising speed by timing yourself on a four-lap ride of the complete oval in Central Park (24.4 miles) or seven laps of the Prospect Park loop (23.8 miles).

Still in doubt?

Try a C ride to start.

If a ride looks interesting but you are still not sure, reach out to the ride's leaders to introduce yourself and ask some specific questions. Our leaders are happy to answer your questions and provide you some guidance. Everyone wants you to enjoy your experience on a club ride.


cycling trips