Appalachian Mountain Club

AMC Bicycling

The Bicycling Committee organizes rides which are most typically at a leisurely pace of 10-12 mph, and there are generally not a lot of steep hills on the routes. Our Chapter bike rides are (mostly) designed with plenty of stops for photos and bathroom breaks and snacks. They're usually along protected bicycle lanes and dedicated bicycle paths and trails, although on almost every ride there will be times when we'll need to share the road with cars and trucks; there's just no avoiding it in our area.

Most of the time we'll be riding on relatively flat roads, although on every trip there will at least be modest hills where you'll be working hard and your heart will get pumping. The trip write-up will describe exactly what you can expect on the ride.

Finding Tom Seaver: July, 2020 ride to Citifield


Randall's Island Wriggle: June, 2021

Safety for Bicyclists

Helmets which meet federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) certification standards are required, and a rider’s experience must be comparable to the trip level.  Participants must ensure prior to the ride that their bicycle and equipment are in good working order.  This would include, but is not limited to, properly inflated tires with remaining tread life equal to or exceeding the manufacturer’s minimum height; brakes properly adjusted.

Activity Difficulty Rating System

Every bicycle ride will have a detailed description of its mileage, type of terrain, elevation gain, and so forth.  In addition, the trip write-up will note which difficulty the ride falls into based on the AMC’s Activity Difficulty Rating System.


Activity Level Moving Time (Up to___Hours) Distance (Up to __Miles) Average Moving Speed (__ Miles per Hour) Elevation (Up to ___feet) Rise (__Feet per Mile)
Relaxed 3 25 8.3 1000 40
Easy 4 35 8.8 2000 57
Moderate 4 45 11.3 3000 67
Vigorous 5 60 12.0 4500 75
Strenuous 6 80 13.0 7000 88


Activity Levels Explanations

Accessible: Suitable for stroller, wheelchair, or other wheel assisted travel. Paved, hardened gravel or ADA listed terrain or approach. The distance traveled and anticipated timing of the activity are detailed in the activity description. This rating is employed across activities and is not broken out in each of the tables below. Please direct any inquiries for reasonable accommodation to the trip leader in advance of the trip.

Relaxed: Suitable for most active participants with full mobility and participants new to the activity described. Expect to be actively on the move for about 3 hours/day. You may be on the trail, slopes or water for a longer time, but there will be plenty of rest breaks.

Easy: Reasonable fitness for the expected activity is needed, but the trip is designed for those new to the activity. Expect to be active up to 4 hours/day. A bit more active time than the relaxed rating, but with generous breaks.

Moderate: Fitness level and/or past experience to sustain the activity at a moderate pace is required. Expect to be active up to 4-6 hours per day. Reasonable breaks in the action.

Vigorous: Suitable for those with recent similar experience and/or demonstrated proficiency, such as being active in sports or often (regular) engagement in vigorous physical activity. Ability to perform at the expected level for back-to-back days for multiday trips. Expect to be active up to 5-6 hours per day, with brief breaks.

Strenuous: Most physically demanding. Fitness for the specific activity is required with direct experience in the activity highly recommended and potentially mandatory (see the activity description). Expect to be active 6+ hours per day for back-to-back days if it is a multiday trip. Breaks will be shorter/fewer than for other levels of trips.

Becoming a Bicycle Leader

The Bicycling Committee New Leader Coordinator is Eileen Yin, who can be reached at  Contact Eileen to discuss the process of becoming a bicycle leader and how you can get in on the excitement!   Eileen will work with you personally and guide you step by step through the process, which is:
  1. Successfully complete the AMC Leadership Training course offered several times throughout the year (note: this program can be completed during the ‘skills’ training portion of the Bicycle Leadership training program; it is not a prerequisite);
  2. Co-lead a ride with someone who is already a bicycling leader; 
  3. Plan a ride, submit a ride listing to the Activities Database, and conduct the trip according to the AMC’s Leadership Guidelines under the guidance of an experienced, qualified NY-No. Jersey Chapter bicycling day-ride leader.
  4. Complete a ‘check ride’ with the Bicycle Committee chair or designee.
  5. Be an AMC member in good standing and support the Mission and Vision of the AMC.

Note: the AMC Leadership Training Program does not need to be taken as the first step in the process.

A person also needs to be an experienced cyclist in the type of ride they intend to lead.  For example, cyclists may have a lifetime of bicycling experience, but if that experience consists exclusively of mountain bicycling, that person could not lead a ride which navigates along city streets. 

The New York-North Jersey Chapter will recognize as a leader for our chapter anyone who is a bicycle leader for another AMC chapter, or is a leader for the 5 Boro Bicycle Club (5BBC), New York Cycle Club (NYCC), or another bicycling club with a robust leader skills training program.  The AMC Leadership Training course is always required, although the course does not need to be completed first. 

A basic First Aid course is recommend, but not required.  The Bicycle Committee will reimburse leaders for the cost of the First Aid course.


Bikepacking is an activity which combines elements of bicycling, hiking, backpacking and traditional car camping.  It’s easy!  Strap your backpacking gear onto your bicycle, and head off to the campground!  Now you’re bikepacking.  

Some bikepacking trips are run as “backpacking, with a bicycle,” while others are run as “car camping, with a bicycle.”  Which means that some events will involve 4-6 miles of cycling to a campsite, and then setting up camp, followed by hiking.  Whereas other trips will ride many more miles each day on the bicycle, perhaps 25 -65, before setting up camp for the evening.

If a cycling ride involves an overnight component, it will be listed as a “backpacking” activity for AMC purposes, since the trip leader will necessarily have to be certified by the Backpacking Committee due to the additional skills required to lead the trip successfully. 

Additional Considerations


  • Must develop a robust skills training program.
    • Currently there are no systems and procedures in place for ensuring leaders understand the rules of the road and otherwise how to lead a bicycling trip.  Use 5 Boro Bicycle Club’s (5BBC) bicycling leadership manual as a guide to develop our own.
      • Hand signals and verbal commands
      • Rules of the road
      • Don’t pass on the right
      • Rider personality types and special management issues
      • When to drop a rider
      • Flat tires and Uber
  • Must implement some pre-ride equipment safety check.  Brakes, tire pressure, loose wheels, etc.  Helmets, lights.
  • Bells are for warning pedestrians to avoid collisions and keep everyone safe.  Bells are not used as a means for having people move out of the way
  • Consider leaders should be careful when fixing participants’ bicycles because they are not bicycle mechanics.  Repairs performed incorrectly may lead to accidents and injuries
  • Rides with more than 6 participants must use a sweep.  
  • What are lunch procedures during covid?
    • Leader’s discretion
    • AMC bicycle rides differ from most other clubs in the area in so far as we typically carry our lunch and find a nice spot to eat, instead of stopping at a diner, etc.
  • Bicycle repair for leaders
    • Carry tools and most commonly used spare parts
      • Depending on the location of the ride, leaders may
  • Consider when to require riders to carry a spare tube
  • Consider when to require a RideWithGPS file, or cue sheet, or lesser navigational elements
    • A RWGPS file is not needed to go around Central Park, nor is it very useful in any event.  Nevertheless there are many places where a cyclist could turn off the proper route.  Same as on the the Hudson River Greenway.  Extra care is needed to make absolutely certain nobody loses their way; it is very easy for a rider to get distracted and lose sight of the person in front of them.  Most especially in the Summer when there are many riders on a dedicated bicycle path.  Sometimes cyclists not on the ride will merge in to an AMC ride, and then turn off their own way.  The AMC cyclist may inadvertently follow.  Most of the time it is difficult to know everyone on the ride; cyclists look similar from behind.
  • Bikepacking
    • Problematic if public transportation is required –  may need to forget about this.  
    • Right now (March 2021) camping is also problematic as people with 2020 reservations have priority.  Group sites generally unavailable.  
    • Can be uncertain when bicycles are allowed on the trains.  Regardless of published rules about bringing bicycles on the trains, the rules are always subject to the conductor’s discretion  on how this effects the train.  So we can’t schedule a trip 
  • List all scouting rides on the database even if there’s only one participant.  Scouting rides which are  intended to further bicycling opportunities for members and so should be on the database even if the ride is not open to other participants.
  • Consider pruning the leaders list if someone hasn’t led for three years.
  • Consider whether to have multiple start or meeting points and allow participants to join a ride at various points.  It’s a convenience for some people, and for others a way to shorten a 30 mile ride to a 25 or 20 mile ride.