Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club

"We Ride Every Day"

About NFBC

Established in 1969, the Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club is Western New York's largest bicycle club, with over 425 active members. The club emphasizes safe and courteous riding in an extremely social environment. We ride at an athletic pace, and we welcome new riders! The NFBC ride schedule runs March through October and offers over 400 rides throughout the cycling season, with daily rides spanning Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Orleans, Wyoming and Genesee Counties. Each ride varies in length from 15-100 miles with varying degrees of difficulty to challenge cyclists of all abilities and skill levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I join? 

Check the ride schedule and come out to a ride. If you enjoy yourself, fill out an application and pay your dues.

Is it really that easy? What about maps?

Make the first ride easy:

  • Arrive at the ride start 30 minutes before the ride's scheduled to start.
  • Make sure your bike's ready to ride. (fully inflated tires are necessary)
  • Find the ride leader and introduce yourself. (They're the person handing out cue sheets.)
  • The cue sheet has turn-by turn directions and on weekends includes a map. Try to purchase a cue sheet clip or holder (any local bike shop should have them).
  • Bring a spare inner-tube and the means to change it. (Someone may help you, but we don't have a formal support system.)
  • You may want to bring a cool beverage to enjoy in the parking lot after the ride.

I'm new to cycling, can I join?

Sure; we welcome new members. To enjoy riding with us, you need to be able to ride at least ten miles without stopping for a rest. On most weekend rides we stop every 10-20 miles for a brief rest and regroup. You should think that riding a bike for 2-4 hours in a day is one of the best things you could be doing. For your first ride, try to pick a smaller ride with an "EZ" rating. The Wednesday Night North ride in Swormville is typically a very good starting place, because it is one of the more popular rides in the club, and it should be easy to find a group of any skill level.

How fast do you ride?

On a flat route, under 50 miles, we average anywhere from 15-25mph. If the course is hilly, or long, the average drops. (This is a rough estimate. Weather, especially wind can affect these numbers significantly.)

How long are your rides?

Weekday rides are typically 20-25 miles long. Weekend rides are 30-100 miles long. Most are 40-65 miles long. Spring rides are usually shorter.

I'm still not sure about coming to a ride. Is there anyone I can direct questions to?

If you're not sure about coming to a ride, send an e-mail to We'll try to find a good first ride for you to come to. Alternatively, if you've picked one out that you want to do, send an e-mail to the ride leader and ask them any questions you have. We'll be glad to answer anything you ask!

I came to a ride, and everyone went way ahead of me, what gives?

Don't be discouraged! We've all been there! Some of our rides are a lot faster than others, so it's important to try out a bunch of different rides to see where you fit in. Keep in mind, there's a large variation in cycling skill in this club. Generally speaking, the rides in the northtowns are going to be easier than rides in the southtowns, and will be ridden at a slower pace. Pay attention to the difficulty ratings of a ride as well; The fastest cyclists will show up for the XD+ rides, but you'll have a much greater range of skill levels on the EZ rides.

Many of the people in the club have been riding for years, and they ride almost every single day. Some are really fast, but everyone started out slow! The key to cycling is to stick with it, and nothing increases your speed faster than trying to keep up with experienced veterans. If you come out to a few rides a week, you will get better. We see it all the time. 

I heard someone mention a "pace line". What's that?

A paceline is a formation in cycling which more experienced riders use to negate the effects of the wind. This video gives a good quick introduction to what it is:

Do you ride in pacelines?

Some people do, some people do not. It is important to understand that paceline riding takes discipline and practice. If you are a novice cyclist, you should feel very comfortable with your bike handling skills before attempting to do it. If you see a group riding in a paceline and would like to be a part of it, it is common courtesy to ask permission to join first. 

Do you really ride every day?

Within reason, though there are exceptions to the rule. The club officially has rides from March through October. There are typically 2 or 3 rides every day of the week. We try to have a northtowns and a southtowns ride every day so that members don't have to drive all over the place to get to a ride. If the ride leader considers the weather too dangerous, the ride will be cancelled.

What do the ride ratings mean?

Our rating system isn't very scientific.  If you have a question about a specific ride, ask the ride leader for more information.

Ride Ratings

Rating Code Description
Easy EZ Short flat rides. No steep or long hills, good for beginners.
Moderate MOD You will work up a sweat on these. Usually longer than Easy, and/or contains a hill.
Moderately Difficult MD Didn't quite rate difficult. Usually a Mod ride with a few extra hills.
Difficult DIFF Difficult. Expect to shift gears a bit on these. Expect to mutter curses under your breath. Expect short steep hills or long miles with rolling terrain.
Extra Difficult XD Ride will be slightly more challenging than ride with DIFF rating. Ride includes steeper climbs and/or longer distance.
Extra Extra Difficult XXD Ride is of considerable length with some steep climbs or ride contains many steep climbs. Your quads will get a workout but the ride doesn't have the very long distance and/or extremely steep muscle spasm producing grades of an XXX rating.
Insanely Difficult XXX These are the rides that you tell a non-cyclist about and their first comment is "You did this for fun?". Then they ask to see the scars. Expect steep hills (15% - 20% grade). Expect a long ride. Expect to climb for more than a mile. Expect some of the greatest scenery Western New York has to offer.