Getting into a new sport can sometimes be over-whelming. Especially a sport that you might not have grown-up with.
Well not to fear, NCCH is here 🙂
To help you get started in your knowledge and passion for Cycling, here are some topics we’ve found helpful to discuss.
Our Indoor Facilities:
Here at NCCH, we have two indoor facilities: one in Brantford (Pauline Johnston High School) and one in Ancaster (Morgan Firestone Arena). We do all of our training within our facilities, for both recreational and competitive cycling. Inside each facility, you’ll see a number of Computrainers. Very simply put, a computrainer is a stand that you connect your bike to – and as you ride your bike, the computrainer will put more or less pressure on the back tire of your bike, as though you are pedalling either uphill or downhill. As you ride your bike on the Computrainer, there is a screen in front of you. On the screen, you will see an animated version of yourself riding through different courses (just like a video game!), as well as your time, speed, power, and distance all being tracked. Unlike a spin class, you are using a real bike – either your own, or you can rent one of ours! By having Computrainers in our Indoor Facilities, we give you the option of cycling both indoors and outdoors, throughout the entire year!
Click the links below for more information:
Services We Offer:
Whether you’re looking to race competitively or ride recreationally – and are interested in Road, Track, Cyclocross or Mountain Biking – we at NCCH provide a number of programs and services to help you get back on your bike!
– Public Free Days in our Indoor Facility (coming soon!)
– Group Sessions in our Indoor Facility (for members and non-members)
Youth Programs (between Ages 8-18):
Costs of the Sport
Cycling is similar to most sports, in that you only have to put so much money into the sport as you’d like. To start cycling with NCCH, it’s great if you have the money to purchase a nice bike and a Lycra suit (called a kit), but it’s not required. See, we love cycling so much, and think you will too, that we offer Youth free bike usage in 1st and 2nd Gear Programs (4months), just to help get you started! Once you’re ready to invest in your own bike, we have guides and resources to help you choose what’s the best bang for your buck! And until you’d like to sport our orange kits, you can ride in any old shirt, shorts, and running shoes.
Buying Your First Bike
Click Here for our guide in helping you purchase your first bike!
If you’ve ever seen Olympic cyclists, or driven past a pack of bikers, one thing usually stands out; their tight, spandex apparel. This is what we call a “kit”. A kit includes a jersey, shorts, socks, shoes and a cap. Our kits are custom made for individual by Nine-O in Hamilton. As you probably know, the kit’s main purpose is to provide aero-dynamic comfort, during long rides and races. Bibs are those lycra shorts that kind of act like overalls. Bibs reduce chaffing because they don’t have an elastic waistline and they have a padded Chamois inserted for comfort in those sensitive area! Here at NCCH, although you are not required to wear or purchase a kit, to ride with us in our Group Sessions, we do recommend it for comfort, and so that you feel part of the Team! If you’d like to join our racing teams, or become a member in any one of our programs, you are more than welcome to purchase one of our orange, custom-sized kits for yourself!
From Recreation to Competition
For a lot of us, we’ve grown up biking on training wheels, country roads, in skate parks, or parking lots. But when’s the point of bridging over from Recreational Cycling to Competitive Cycling? If you’re between the ages 8-13, usually we recommend starting with our Safe Cycling School (1st and 2nd Gear Programs). These programs start the basics of safe-cycling, gear changing, knowing your bike, and riding in low-traffic environments. Once you pass these programs, and are interested to continue riding, you can join our Hub Program, which is our middle program. This is perfect for the athlete that isn’t sure whether they want to, or are ready for racing, but would love to keep cycling, and maybe try the different styles of cycling. And if there comes a time that your child would like to race, our coaches will do a free race-ready assessment on them, to see if they’re ready to join our Top Gear program (which is all about racing and competition!) Otherwise, they can keep cruising with us in the Hub, for as long as they like!
Breaking Down Biking Barriers
When we’ve talked to athletes or parents about why they’ve never considered Cycling, there’s usually about 5 reasons that always come up; Safety, Money, Time, Team-work and Eliteness. For parents who don’t know the best ways to teach their children about Cycling Safety, having your kids “ride in the streets” can be very scary. Imagining the sacrifices that our Olympic cyclists took, to get where they are today, can turn any parent away, when it comes to Money and Time. To the regular spectator, cycling seems more like a “Individual” sport, then a “Team” sport. And just the word “Cycling” brings to mind wrinkly-men in tight-spandex. Well we are here to break down those barriers and stereotypes, in hopes that you might see the beauty, excitement and passion of cycling, as we do. When it comes to Safety, we offer phenomenal programs and guides to keep your kids and our athletes as safe as possible! When it comes to Money, we help with initial costs, (like equipment rentals, and even programs that provide the bikes for you!) just to keep you active and going, until you’d like to invest yourself! When it comes to Time, we don’t train our athletes more than 2 one-and-a-half hour sessions a week, and that’s for our High Performance athletes! You can join our Group Sessions, whenever you feel up to it. When it comes to Team-Work, NCCH works together, in racing and training, to reach beyond each person’s goals, uplift each other in peaking and struggling seasons, strategize together in every competition, and grow together in fitness, health, character, and self-discipline! Not to mention, that when it comes to cycling, there’s no such thing as getting “more playing time”. Every cyclist gets an equal amount of racing and training time! (And let’s be honest, the slower you go, the more play time you do get!) And lastly, when it comes to Eliteness, Cycling is just a fancier word for biking. Some do it more, others haven’t done it since they were kids. But either way, whether your biking to stay fit, socialize, compete, or just to stay positive, we want to ride with you! So what’s stopping you?
Here is our guide to understanding what we do!
Going to the Velodrome:
It’s Free! No charge here to come cheer on your favourite athlete! Unless of course you’d like to grab a coffee and snack 🙂
Get Loud and Take Pictures! This isn’t tennis or golf. Bring on that loud and passionate support! We know we will be!
It’s Warm! The Velodrome is an indoor track, that goes around in a circle. You’ll notice when you arrive, that it’s very warm inside (a maintained 28 degrees celsius to be exact). This isn’t to overheat the athletes, but rather to help them go faster! Warm air keeps the muscles loose and flexible, and the air less dense than cooler air, decreasing the aerodynamic resistance for the riders.
On the track, you’ll see a black, red and blue line. Between the black and red line, is called the Sprinter’s Lane. This is the optimum area for racing as fast as you can. Between the red and blue line is called the Stayer’s lane, but you might it as the Passer’s lane. In order to pass the person in front of you, either they must retreat to this line, or you must push ahead of them here. Because there is a lot of passing during a 20+ lap race, a rider becomes very aware of their surroundings, using their peripherals constantly!
Before a Race:
Before a race, all the athletes will be getting warmed up. This includes more than just a couple stretches. Some will be on Rollers (three rolling cylinders you place your bike on, and must keep your balance to continue riding), some zoning out any distractions with headphones in, and others getting their bikes checked to make none of the bikes have any malfunctions before starting each race.
Types of Races:
- Sprint (two – four individuals competing against each other, can go as slow as they want for the entire race, until the last 200m is timed, and winner is whoever is across the finish line first)
- Team Sprint (same as above Sprint, but team against team)
- Track Time Trial (one individual, racing to beat the clock, for the fastest time overall)
- Keirin (a 5-8 lap race, that starts behind a motorized vehicle, slowly gaining speed, until the vehicle leaves the track, and it’s a sprint to the finish for the last 600-700m)
- Individual Pursuit (a one-on-one match between two riders, starting in a stationary position at different ends of the track, racing to either catch the other person, or get the fastest time, usually about 1.5 laps)
- Team Pursuit (Like the Individual pursuit, but instead of one rider, up to four riders as a team)
- Scratch Race (Your most basic race – usually 20+ laps, the winner is whoever crosses the finish line first)
- Points Race (Usually 20+ laps, each lap you get a certain amount of points depending on what place you’re in – 5 points for first, 3 for second, 2 for third and 1 for fourth – at the end of all 20 laps, your points get added up)
- Madison (like a relay race, one team races at a time, able to tap in their teammate to take over, by touching them, usually on the shorts or hand – usually a 30-60 minute event)
- Omnium (a combination of the above races, usually held over 2 days)
During a Race:
In a group race (excluding Pursuits), all the racers will line up at the Starting Line. Do be worried if your athlete is at the back of the pack. During these group races, there is a lot of strategy that takes place. Odds are that if you start in the front, you won’t end in the front.
When racing, the rider who is in first place is doing the most work (in fact, 30% more of the work, than anyone else). They are said to be “taking the pull”. Often you’ll see teams working together, taking turns at the front of the line, then dropping back to let someone else take the pull, until they’re ready to attack. When a racer is hovering behind the first place rider, this is called “Drafting”. The front person is blocking the wind for the second and third place riders.
When you hear the Head Coach either yell someone’s name, or “Attack”, this means the coach is telling him or her to attempt to move away from the pack, passing anyone who’s in front of them. If the rider “gets away”, then nobody can “draft” him/her, and the race is on! This may happen many times throughout a race, with racers trying to get clear! Like any sport, there are many strategies and techniques, and our Coaches teach these, as riders reach certain levels and skills.