NCTC offers 4 different Saturday rides suited to a wide range of rider abilities. The details below will help you select which ride is best for you.
We also run a Sunday Ride, the speed and distance for which is arranged on the day, depending upon who turns up on the day (see below).
All our weekend club group rides start from Newmarket Leisure Centre (NLC). Please meet at 08:45 for a 09:00 depart. Occasionally, rides times may be changed (e.g. when the roads are icy in the winter), but we will let everyone know on Facebook if that happens.
Club group rides are free to attend, just turn up and ride. If you are not a member of NCTC, then you are welcome to join us for any weekend club ride, but we do ask that you become a paid club member after attending 3 club group rides.
NC&TC Rides Overview
Before attending a club group ride, we ask that you read our guide to group ride best practices. All our rides are “guided rides”, where a member of the group is pre-arranged to lead the group, they will plan the route and provide any support needed to the group members. NCTC is a super friendly club which is committed to inclusivity and rider development, so you can ride with confidence in the knowledge that you won’t get dropped and stronger riders will protect you from the wind (possibly in exchange for cake-based gifts :-D)!
Most rides include a coffee and cake stop, and we usually finish the ride at Victor Victoria in Newmarket, where club members can get a double rewards stamp for every hot drink they purchase (i.e. one free hot drink every time you buy 5 drinks). Specific details of the rides and coffee stops will be published on Facebook on Friday, so that riders can choose their preferred group in advance.
Riders are encouraged to move up through the groups as their fitness and experience increases. Stronger riders are welcome to join slower/shorter rides, but they must ride to the agreed group pace, to ensure the ride is enjoyable for everyone.
NCTC has a strong safety culture, where riders should expect to give and receive advice and feedback on their riding. We can all learn to ride smoother, safer and therefore faster, so please be open to giving and receiving respectful pointers to/from anyone on any ride.
If you join a specific ride, then please remain with the same group throughout your ride, unless you have prearranged it with both ride leaders (e.g. swap from Sporting to Intermediate at a mutual coffee stop). If a slower ride is overtaken by a faster ride at any stage, please stick to your chosen ride's pace and do not attempt to merge groups or race each other.
The Social Ride is perfect for novice cyclists, cyclists recovering from injury, or those who simply wish to ride at a sociable pace.
(Note: You will ride faster in a group than you do solo owing to aerodynamic shielding, so don’t worry if your solo pace is a little below 13 mph, we will get you round).
The Club 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 the ride for those wanting to improve their technique, such as hill climbing. This group always stays together on the flat and reforms after more significant climbs.
The Inters (Intermediate) Ride was originally designed to help transition riders from the Club Ride to the Sporting Ride, but should be considered a ride category in its own right. It aims to help riders develop their strength and endurance over longer faster rides, and focuses on skills improvements to enable riders to ride safely and smoothly in a close bunch (two abreast, paceline and rotating paceline). This group always stays together on the level and reforms after more significant climbs.
The Inters Ride is sometimes merged with the Club Ride or the Sporting Ride (when attendance is lower), and on these occasions, the Inter riders should ride within the slower ride's pace.
The Sporting Ride is the fastest of the group rides, covering the longest distance (and hence a greater elevation). 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.
This ride, due to its nature, has a good deal of ﬂexibility but will still be setup to beneﬁt all the riders in the group, with a focus on tight, fast group riding. In general the Sporting Ride is also a “no-drop” ride like all others, but the group may deviate from this on the day, with agreement from riders (e.g. group may split and reconvene at coffee stop, or riders may be dropped in the last 5-10 miles, when they are close to home).
Riding in close formation at these increased speeds, over long distances, introduces a greater level of risk. Therefore, new riders joining this group can expect support and feedback from fellow riders, to help their safe transition.
Sunday rides don’t necessarily run every week, so please check on Facebook to confirm whether the ride is working (please post a question to ask if there isn’t an obvious post about it). Sunday rides are, in general, ridden at Club or Social Ride pace, dependant upon who attends on the day.
Juniors (under 16 years old) are welcome on our social and club rides subject to a parent/guardian always being present and that they are able to keep up with the advertised speed of the selected ride. The parent/guardian must stay with their junior throughout the ride.
During the winter months the rides may leave at 10:00 am to avoid adverse weather conditions (e.g. ice or fog). If the conditions for riding are considered not safe for everyone, the NCTC ride co-ordinator will decide whether the rides go ahead and communicate to ride guides and all members via Facebook.
During winter, it is recommended that you bring a waterproof jacket, not only for rain protection, but also to give an extra layer if you have to stop with a puncture, which will always mean you cool down quickly. A brightly coloured jacket will also help with your visibility to other road users.
Ride guide volunteers and contact information
We are always looking for help with our guided rides. If you are an experienced cyclist with good group riding skills send us a message if you would like to help. You do not need any formal ride guide qualiﬁcations, but these are obviously beneficial.
If you have any question regarding our rides please contact firstname.lastname@example.org