NCTC Rides are free and operate every Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we have ‘LED or guided’ social and club rides together with a training ride if there are the numbers. On Sunday we do not have ‘LED or guided’ rides but we split into groups according to how far/fast riders would like to go. If you are a non member you are welcome to join us for three free rides after which we would ask you to become a member of the club.
We meet in the Newmarket Leisure Centre at 8.45am (with a view to leaving at 9:00am PROMPT) every Saturday and Sunday. Please keep an eye on the club’s Facebook page for details and routes.
- Routes are published for each led ride, we also publish suggested routes for the Sunday rides, riders should familiarize themselves with the route. The routes all start and finish at Newmarket Leisure Centre and will be shown on the EVENTS TAB of our Facebook page.
- Speed is an average and will always vary depending on the conditions and the route. A strong and experienced club rider might average almost 20 mph on flat roads without a wind. For less stronger riders, those planning sportives or still building their experience and strength, a ride at anything from 12 – 15 mph is very respectable.
- Coffee and cake are sometimes social – sometimes essential! We are fortunate to have many good stops around Newmarket and we plan accordingly.
These are the main ride ‘types’ we offer:
Led/Guided Social Ride – Saturday
This is a led ride, it is usually around 30 miles at a pace below 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 at all times.
Led Club Ride – Saturday
This led/guided ride is usually around 40 miles but can be as long as 50 miles and a maximum of 3000ft of climbing – most of the rides actually average between 2200 – 2700ft. The pace of this ride is in excess of 15mph but not above 16.5mph. This ride is perfect for 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.
Training Ride – Saturday/Sunday
This ride can be any distance between 40 and 60 miles. The pace of this ride is in excess of 16.5mph and on flatter routes can be as high as 20mph. It can also include strong interval sessions. 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. These rides do not happen every week and will only take place if there are a number of riders who have the ability to perform this ride. This ride does not always stay together, but is up to the riders themselves to agree the etiquette of the ride.
The Sunday rides are dependant on numbers. These are not led rides and we usually split into two groups. The slower ride is very similar to the Saturday ‘led’ social ride and is about 30 miles, the speed is below 15mph and this ride usually has a coffee and cake stop. The faster ride is about 40 miles with speed averages between 15 – 16mph (this was the average speed for our 2015 rides) and can have a coffee stop. This ride is similar to our Saturday ‘led’ club ride.
You can see all our routes on the NCTC route page
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. These come from the experience of thousands of riders over many years – 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. For insurance reasons we ask that everyone that comes on ride with our Club wears a proper cycling helmet that fits. Our Led 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. Some of our rides are designated as “Led Rides”. These have trained, volunteer Ride Leaders 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 Training. 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 slower than a bit too fast. Riders should make colleagues aware if the pace is too high or too low.
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.
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.
9. Good handling and road craft. 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 is 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 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.