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 ūüôā
To help you get started in your knowledge and passion for Cycling, here are some topics we’ve found helpful to discuss.

Our Indoor Facility
Services We Offer
Costs of the Sport
Buying Your First Bike
From Recreation to Competition
Breaking down Biking Barriers
Cycling Lingo
How do I know if my child is talented?


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 winter 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:

What is a Computrainer
Youth Programs Indoors
Adult Programs Indoors
Book an Indoor Training Session for Adults
Directions to Ancaster
Directions to Brantford


Services We Offer:

Photo: Youth Coaches teaching Ages 10+ balance in our Safe Cycling School – 2nd Gear Program

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!

Recreational Riding:

– 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):

–¬†Safe Cycling School (1st Gear Program & 2nd Gear Program)
the Hub (our Middle program Рprogressing from Beginner to Competitive)

Competitive Cycling:

Top Gear (Youth Program who want to race competitively)
Adult Masters (Associate, Coached, High Performance)


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!



Photo: Hub Indoor Sessions during the cold and rainy seasons!

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¬†Pearl Izumi. 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, you are only required to purchase a blue jersey once you join our Hub Program. Whether you’re racing or not, you are apart of the team!

A couple times a year, NCCH will put a custom kit order through. Once the order has gone through, it usually takes about 3 months for the kits to be made. The NCCH will contact you once they’re ready to be picked up! You can view and order a kit¬†through our online store!

Or you can purchase something we have in stock through our online store as well!


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

Photo: Mountain Biking Coach Frederic Bergeron and his two sons, Charles and Antoine, trying out their fat bikes through the winter trails

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?


Cycling Lingo

Here is our guide to understanding what we do!


Short Forms and Strange Words:

Attack: a sudden attempt to pull ahead from a rider or group of riders.

Bibs: a cycling short that has a bib or suspenders (like overalls), instead of an elastic waistband. Preferred by most cyclists, as the elastic waistband can cause discomfort or chaffing.

Computrainer: simply put, a computrainer is a stand that you connect your bike to Рand 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. The computrainer records your distance, speed, heart rate, and watts onto a screen in front of you, while you bike through courses and time trials (kind of like a video game). For a more in depth explanation of the computrainer, click here: What is a Computrainer?

Cyclocross: a race that could involve riding on pavement, trails, grass, hills and obstacles, and may involve the rider to dismount their bike.

Development Team: all of the athletes in our Hub and Top Gear Programs (who have NOT been asked to be on our Trade Team) is on our Development Team ūüôā Development Team sponsors do not contribute to our Trade Team.

Drafting: cycling behind another rider so that they block the wind from you. The rider in the front is getting 30% more of the work than those behind.

Elite Team (aka Trade Team): Our Trade Team is powered by the MGCC (Morning Glory Cycling Club), and sponsored by a number of sponsors APART from our Development Team. The Trade Team is made up of athletes who’ve been specifically invited to join, because of their hard-work, ability, performance, and character.

HPT: High Performance Team – the most advanced team to reach through NCCH.

Kelso: Kelso is a  Tuesday night race series that is the biggest weekly mountain bike series in Ontario. Located in Milton, ON at the Glen Eden ski hill. There are categories for every level of rider which makes this series a perfect environment for new racers.  The atmosphere is fun and relaxed. Every HUB rider is encouraged to participate. If you have questions regarding which category would be best, please ask your Coach.

Kit: is a cycling jersey. The most basic kit is made up of cycling shorts (yes, with the diaper on it) and a lycra jersey.

MGCC: Morning Glory Cycling Club – located in Toronto, they sponsor our Trade Team!

MTB: Mountain Biking

NCCH: National Cycling Centre Hamilton – that’s us!

OCA: Ontario Cycling Association – the provincial governing body for the sport of cycling in Ontario.

OCA Licence: If you want to train or race outdoors in Ontario, it is mandatory for you to purchase an OCA licence. For a youth, the licence is usually around $40 annually. You can purchase one as an independent rider, or under the team that you are racing for. If you are on a team, you must purchase the team licence, as you will not be able to race in your team kit or for that team without it. This also protects the team sponsors’ rights for being represented on the team kit.

Ontario Cup Series: The Ontario Cup Series consists of 7 Mountain Biking races throughout Ontario.  New last year they offer a 9:0 am race which is intended for less experienced racers.  It’s a bit shorter and less technical than the later races and is more spectator friendly.

p/b: Powered By. You will see that our 2018 name is NCCH p/b Franklin Templeton Investments, which means our Title Sponsor is Franklin Templeton Investments.

P2A: Paris to Ancaster. This community ride is a  Spring classic!  You can ride it on a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike.  There are 3 different distances 20km, 40km or 70km. This race is a mix of road, rail trail, single track, and farm roads.   The race ends with the Martin Rd. hill behind our training center.

Polka Dot Jersey: this jersey (white with red polka dots) is given to the King of the Mountains in the Tour de France. The King of the Mountains is the rider who has the most points in the hill-climbing sections of each stage. Points are given to the rider that reaches the top first, and more points are given the more difficult the climb.

Pulling the Load: the rider that is in front of the pack is doing 30% more of the work, and is blocking the wind for those drafting behind them.

Rollers: three rolling cylinders you place your bike onto, and must keep your balance in order to continue to ride. Used for training.

Safe Cycling School: is made up of two programs – 1st Gear and 2nd Gear. We teach youth Ages 10+ the basics of bike riding, road safety, gear changing, and general health and fitness, that the child can become proficient and confident on their bike.

Saddle: your bike seat.

Title Sponsor: The Title Sponsor can change over the course of a few years. In the past, NCCH has been powered by CHCH and DEC Express. In 2018, Franklin Templeton Investments became the new Title Sponsor for NCCH. The Title Sponsor receives naming rights to the team, as they’ve sponsored the team a very significant sum, highest above all other sponsors.

Trade Team (aka Elite Team):¬†Our Trade Team is powered by the MGCC (Morning Glory Cycling Club), and sponsored by a number of sponsors APART from our Development Team. The Trade Team is made up of athletes who’ve been specifically invited to join, because of their hard-work, ability, performance, and character.

Track: No, we don’t mean Track and Field. When we say Track, we mean the racing on the Velodrome. ūüôā

TrainingPeaks: a training software for athletes and coaches. You can track your workouts and analyze your fitness both at our facility and at home.

TT: Time Trial. A race against the clock!


Photo: The Mattamy National Cycling Centre (Velodrome) is the only one of it’s kind in Canada, and only the second in North America that meets top international standards

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 ūüôā

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:


Photo: Victoria Slater racing the Madison at Track National Championships and winning Silver with teammate Kaitlyn Rauwerda


  • 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)


Photo: Jack Sirman competing in the Provincial Track Championships

During a Race:

In a group race (excluding Pursuits), all the racers will line up at the Starting Line. Don’t 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.

Racing FAQs

Checkout our Event Schedule to come and watch!