NYCC Equipment Requirements


There is an old saying that the best bike for any particular use is the bike you already have. Nonetheless, some bike types are more suited to NYCC-style rides than others. Our goal with these guidelines and policies is to make your ride safe, pleasant and problem-free.

On A Level rides

Road bikes are generally expected; riders with any other bike configuration should check with the ride leaders.

On B and C Level rides

Your bike should be suitable for road riding and is generally expected to have smooth to lightly treaded tires. Weight is important; a lighter bike is easier to ride up hills and much easier to carry up and down subway or train station stairs. It is generally a good idea to remove unnecessary accessories and equipment from your bike. You probably don’t need a heavy chain or U-lock on a Club ride, although you might want to bring a lightweight lock. A kickstand, racks for bags and panniers, and fenders in dry weather, might just be adding weight you have to carry up or down those subway stairs without improving your ride quality.

On D Level rides

You must use either a gravel or cyclocross bike. D-Rides focus on unpaved roads and trails. Those roads are much more difficult to navigate safely on skinny high-pressure road tires. Depending on brake and fork clearances, one can often convert a road bike into a gravel bike simply by mounting fatter tires and maybe installing a cassette with a larger low-gear cog.

Aero Bars

NYCC does not permit aero-bars or time-trial bikes with built-in aero-bars on any of its rides. This is a safety issue: These bikes are designed for time trials and the cycling part of triathlons (which are essentially time trials) where riders are not permitted to be riding in close proximity to other riders.

“Standard” road bikes are designed to be maneuverable in close quarters. Your hands are close to the brake levers, not stretched out over the front wheel. This is important when riding near other riders or in traffic or on poorly maintained roads. Additionally, the aero bars can add more risk of injury to other riders in case of a crash.

General Considerations Applicable to all Rides

You are expected to keep your bike in good mechanical condition and to know how to operate your bike safely.

If you get a new bike or make major changes on your current bike, we strongly recommend that you do a test ride for a few miles to check out the bike. A few laps around Central Park or similar ride will expose problems, like the need for saddle or handlebar adjustment, loosely fastened parts, or gearing or brakes that aren’t working properly, and you can deal with them before embarking on a Club ride. You don’t want bad brakes or an uncomfortable saddle position to manifest itself 30 miles into a ride.

Our leaders and fellow riders are always eager to lend a hand when there is need to perform a minor repair on the road. But we expect our riders to have the necessary supplies and tools to perform those repairs. So, bring at least two spare tubes (make sure they fit your tire and have the correct length valve stem), a patch kit, a basic roadside multi-tool, tire levers and a pump or CO2 dispenser on rides. If you have a flat, drop a chain or have other minor problems and are assisted by a ride leader or fellow rider, try to use that event as an opportunity to learn how the repair is done so you can handle it yourself. There will come a time when you are not with experienced riders or leaders and get a flat. Be prepared.

Ride leaders and other riders cannot be expected to know how to remove a wheel with a hub motor or to have specialized tools for “non-normal” bicycles (e.g., non-standard spoke nipples, disk brake removal tools, tools for thru axles).  If there is a mechanical problem that cannot be fixed on the road, you must be prepared to find a way home.

If you have electronic shifting, make sure the batteries that operate it have sufficient capacity for your ride. Also, know how to deal with a battery that runs out or an electrical connection that comes loose on a ride.

Similarly, if you have non-standard components, such as unusual spoke nipples, or hydraulic disc brakes, make sure you have the appropriate spoke wrench, brake tool or other tool to deal with problems that might arise on a ride. For example, an infrequent but common road problem is a broken spoke. If a spoke breaks it will be necessary to remove the broken spoke and the sudden change in spoke tension might cause the wheel to go out of true to the point where one can’t ride safely without at least doing a rough wheel truing on the road. That is not the time to find out that your spoke nipples are an unusual type and even the best-intentioned ride leader cannot help you re-true your wheel to make your bike rideable. Or you get a simple flat and then find out that you need some special widget to keep your disc brake caliper open after you remove the wheel to fix the flat. A little foresight can make a big difference in such circumstances. There is a great deal of information on these topics on the internet that can help you be sure to have a properly prepared and tuned bike before you embark on a Club ride.


E-bikes are showing up on our rides more and more frequently and are probably here to stay. A properly used E-bike can make it possible for an older rider or one who has suffered a stroke or other debilitating issue to keep on riding instead of being relegated to watching bike races on TV. These guidelines are intended to balance the advantages of E-bikes for some people with the need for safe and controlled riding on group rides for all riders.

E-bikes for recreational riding are new and evolving. These guidelines are subject to change and revision as E-bikes evolve. Our advice that you take a new bike on a several-mile test ride is especially important for a new E-bike.

We have had some issues with E-bikes, mainly because people get one and jump on a group ride before taking the time to thoroughly understand their bike.

There are presently three categories of E-bikes: Class 1 and 3 E-bikes are defined as pedal assist with a maximum assisted speed of 20 or 28 m.p.h. respectively. Class 2 E-bikes (throttle type bikes) are the type often used by delivery riders and work without pedaling. NYCC permits pedal assist E-bikes under the circumstances described in this memorandum. Throttle type bikes are not permitted on any Club ride.

E-bikes are significantly heavier than most road bikes and riders need to be sure their bike has a full battery charge before starting a ride and to have a plan for getting home if the battery is discharged or there is a mechanical problem that cannot easily be fixed on the road.

We expect E-bike riders to ride with their group as if they were using a normal bike. That is, stay behind the leader unless cleared to ride at your own pace and be aware of the limitations and characteristics of E-bikes. Because an E-bike is considerably heavier than most riders’ bikes it can cause more damage to yourself or other riders if you collide with another cyclist. It may be less maneuverable in close quarters (especially the heavy type) than a normal road bike. Pedal-assist E-bikes rely on using one’s gears and pedaling to get up a hill. The motor alone will not do it for you.

Pedal-assist E-bikes are permitted on C and B rides at a listed pace of 16 m.p.h. or less and on faster B rides at the leader’s discretion. At present, E-bikes will not be permitted on A rides. Participants in SIG rides will not be permitted to use E-bikes.

  It is the rider’s responsibility to know their type of E-bike. Maximum tire width currently permitted is 2” or 48mm. Before joining an NYCC ride with an E-bike, the rider must be thoroughly familiar with its use, including smooth starting & stopping plus how to adjust speed with a combination of proper gearing and pedal-assist power.  The rider must be able to adjust his/her pace to stay in a proper place in the line of riders.

An E-bike rider must be fully aware of battery range, which is generally dependent on terrain. If your range is 40-65 miles, do not sign up for a 60-mile hilly ride, or if you do, expect to be riding on your own when your battery runs out.

Some rides involve subway transits at one or both ends.  If the bike is too heavy for you to carry up or down stairs, you will need to find the closest station(s) with elevators or escalators. It is your responsibility to know if a ride involves stairs or other impediments and if a designated station for a ride, like the #1 242nd Street subway station, a popular station to use at the end of a ride, does not have an elevator. You need to know where the nearest accessible station is or be prepared to ride all the way home.

E-bike riders must be aware of the possibility that train conductors will not allow their bikes on a train. Metro-North, LIRR and NJ Transit currently officially prohibit “motorized bicycles.” Nevertheless, some conductors will allow E-bikes but one cannot count on that happening. The issue usually is that most E-bikes are larger and heavier than a normal road bike and may block aisles.

If in doubt about your ability to comply with these guidelines contact your ride leader in advance of the ride. Ride leaders have discretion to modify these guidelines in an appropriate case or to prohibit E-bikes from their ride.

NYCC February 27, 2021