Ride Descriptions

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Slow, medium, fast…take your pick!

Honestly, riders of every ability have happily joined the NHCC, from those who didn’t think they could make it to the corner store on their bikes, to those who were simply born to wear lycra. The biggest question we hear is, “Am I fit enough?” and the short answer is Yes! New members are usually happy as clams when they show up for their first ride and see that it’s true! We recommend you begin with a ride level that might be too easy for you and then move up from there. You’ll find your fitness level, make new friends and have a great time too. 

Level 1: Easy Easy!

Your Ride Coordinator: Dennis Benson

Dennis has been a member of the NHCC since it’s first year of operation. As a tireless advocate for safe cycling, Dennis is a certified Can-Bike Instructor and passionately spreads his wealth of safe cycling knowledge to all NHCC members and in particular to the Level 1 program. Dennis has years of cycling experience and is super supportive of new cyclists.

Dennis Benson

Level 1 offers instructional rides for new cyclists at a leisurely steady pace but in a relaxing environment. Safe cycling practices and bike handling skills are developed. Experienced cyclists sometimes participate in order to enjoy a slower social ride and the opportunity to mentor others.

  • Any type of bike goes—mountain bike, hybrid, road bike, beach cruiser.
  • Easy, fun pace, lots of social talk time.
  • No fancy spandex bike shorts required!
  • Experienced ride leader to show the way.
  • No experience necessary (though you need to know how to actually ride your bike)
  • Best for those who have no idea how far they can ride.
  • Distances between 10 and 20 km total distance at a nice slow pace.
  • Learn group riding techniques (from a recreational perspective).
  • Frequent stops as needed. May sometimes stop for ice-cream, freezies, or soft-drinks.
  • You will never be abandoned on the road.
  • Experienced riders to encourage you along.

These are fun rides. Great for any age, any fitness level, and any bike. Helmets are essential! (We never compromise safety)

Level 2: Easy Plus!

Your Ride Coordinator: Geoffrey Honey

Geoffrey Honey

A little more distance, plus a few country roads, and a hill or two. This level is ideal if you are interested in seeing a little scenery, yakking with others and want to test your endurance more. The group stays together and nobody gets left behind. Any bike is acceptable, though a hybrid or road bike will be easier on you!

  • Ideal for beginners and seasoned riders who want to take it easy for a change
  • Best if you are interested in seeing a little scenery and yakking with others
  • Distances start at around 20km increasing up to 35km as the season progresses
  • Experienced ride leaders will accompany the group
  • Nobody will get dropped, the group stays together
  • A comfortable pace of about 16-20km per hour (average, on flat roads)
  • Brief stops for hydration or to re-group

Be prepared:

  • Bring one, preferably two water bottles (filled with water or other drinkable)
  • Know how to change a flat tire (at least in theory)
  • Be able to cycle for about an hour continuously (but not strenuously)

The ride leader will try to ensure that the pace is suitable for all. If a few start drifting back and getting left behind, the leader will slow everyone down to allow time to re-group. The group waits at the top of the hills for others to catch up and to have a little break.

Level 3: Intermediate

Your Ride Coordinator: Anita Macklin

Anita has been a member of the NHCC since it’s official formation, is the immediate past president and one of the founding members of the Club. She volunteers with the Bicycle Action Committee of Sustainable Cobourg, and is a CanBike qualified instructor.

anita macklin

Designed to be more challenging, with a little more of everything than you’ll find in Levels 1 and 2—hills, distance, and speed—but at a controlled pace. If you’ve set a goal for completing a century ride (100km) you’ll want to spend some time in this group, building mileage and improving your endurance.

  • Terrain will be a mix of flat areas and hills, with distances between 40 and 100 km.
  • There will likely be a few stops to grab a drink, re-group, and allow for brief breaks.
  • Best for those who ride 2 or 3 times per week, for more than an hour each time.
  • Riders will travel in a group with a group leader.
  • All riders should have maps and know how to read it.
  • The group typically stops to assist when someone has a flat.
  • The pace should allow for social conversation without being out of breath.
  • Should be able to sustain a moderate degree of physical exertion for 2 or 3 hours, taking a few breaks.
  • The group usually re-groups at the top of hills or before major changes in direction.

Level 4: Advanced

Your Ride Coordinator: Randy Albon

Randy initiated the creation of the NHCC in 2010! He is passionate about making the Club a place for cyclists of all levels including those who want faster and further. Randy is a CanBike trained instructor, and current Board member.

randy albon

Faster pace, fewer constraints and usually longer rides for conditioned riders who aren’t afraid of hills!

  • Suitable for those wishing to challenge their fitness and cardiovascular
  • Best for riders who ride consistently, 3 or 4 times per week
  • Road bikes are required
  • Individuals should be able to maintain sustained exertion for about 2–4 hours
  • Speeds will be around 22km per hour or more on flat terrain
  • Distances might be between 40 and 70km+ depending on time of season, weather, and needs of the group
  • Minimal stops only, for hydration, nutrition, or tire changes

The group may “spread out” but it remains a group ride. They may re-group from time to time and riders should not get dropped without their consent.

Friday Floater Casual Rides

Your Ride Coordinators: Randy Albon

Randy is a CanBike trained instructor, and also volunteers with the Bicycle Action Committee of Sustainable Cobourg. He loves long distance cycling touring & adventure. He serves on the Board, and multiple sub-committees of the NHCC.

randy albon

Longer, weekday rides (typically Fridays) at an intermediate pace.

  • Best for riders want to enjoy a recreational ride on a weekday
  • Often these rides start out of town and could be considered “touring rides”
  • Road bikes are strongly recommended (but not mandatory)
  • Individuals should be able to maintain sustained exertion for about 2–4 hours
  • Speeds will average around 18-24km per hour over the entire distance
  • Distances might be between 40 and 80km+ depending on time of season, weather, and needs of the group
  • Occasional stops for hydration, nutrition (aka ice-cream), tire changes and photographs!

The group rides together and accommodates all participants. Nobody gets dropped!

Weekend Rides

Your Ride Coordinator: Debbie Parks

Current president of the NHCC, Debbie has been a member of the NHCC since 2013. Debbie has years of cycle touring experience and knows how to motivate and inspire others!

debbie parks

Longer rides with varying pace. Something for everyone! Level 2+ or Level 3&4

  • For riders who want to ride longer distance (40-100km+)
  • Riders of varying speeds may separate into pace groups according to ability
  • Road bikes are recommended (but not mandatory)
  • Individuals should be able to maintain sustained exertion for about 2–4 hours
  • Distances depend on time of season, weather, and needs of the group
  • Occasional stops for hydration, nutrition, tire changes and photographs!
  • A degree of self-sufficiency is required for weekend rides. Everyone should have access to the route map (either printed or available on their phones) and have the necessary items to change a flat tire should it occur.

There is no formal pace set for weekend rides. Though they are a no-drop format, you should review the ride posting to determine whether the pace will be one that you feel confident with. 

Century Rides

The NHCC offers century rides periodically beginning in May, all weather-dependent, of course. The first is usually an easy, flat course subsequently increasing in difficulty as the season progresses. The final century ride occurs in Fall with varied distance options that members can choose from: 25, 50 or 100km and possibly 160km if there is interest.

With adequate training starting early in the season, most club members could set a 100km distance goal to progress toward. Consistency will be key—ride regularly, build distance up incrementally, seek advice from others, and you might find yourself celebrating your first Century Ride by the end of the season!