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Time trialling is the simplest kind of bike race – and it’s easy to get involved too. Just find a club that’s running turn-up-and-ride events in your area on this list and get in touch. Most of them have regular competitions on weekday evenings, normally over ten miles.

These races are relaxed and informal, and are the ideal way to begin. All you need to do is get there twenty minutes or half-an-hour before the event starts with a roadworthy bike and a small entry fee – normally it’s £2 or £3. We recommend you wear a helmet (some clubs will insist you do). And that’s about it.

You’ll be asked to read and sign an official entry sheet (if you’re under 18 you’ll also need a signed parental-consent form. Then you’ll be given a number and a starting time. The course will be a simple out-and-back turning at a roundabout, or a left-turn-only circuit. There are usually marshals to keep you on track.

You can get an idea of what to expect from your first time trial in this article from Cycling Plus a couple of years ago.

If you enjoy your first race and want to take the sport further, the next step is usually to join a club. That’s because most time trial events, other than the turn-up-and-ride ones, are only available to members of a recognised club.

As well as conventional clubs, whose members can offer (and indeed occasionally have to be restrained from offering) endless amounts of good advice, you also have the option of joining the CTT headquarters club. This is a good option if you can’t immediately find a club that suits you, but want to do some racing in the meantime.

After you’ve joined up, you’ll find there are two tiers of competition in time trialling. First, there are club events, run informally like the turn-up-and-ride races, but only for members of a club. (These races are normally available to members of any club, not just the one organising the race.)

Above that in the hierarchy are “open” events. These usually happen at the weekends, and attract a higher standard of competition than the club races. You have to enter in advance by post, using an entry form available here. There is a full list of open events here.

For historical reasons dating back to an era when cycle racing in the UK was illegal and time trialling was a clandestine affair, open events are run on courses that are identified by a system of course codes. This means you have to get used to looking up where they are. Some opens are very popular, so if a race is oversubscribed the field is selected on the basis of riders’ fastest previous times, shown on their entry form.

Further details of open events and course codes, as well as the full set of TT regulations, are available in the CTT’s annual handbook .

 

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