Time trialling is often the first and easiest way into racing bikes on the road in the UK. It has a long and often obscure history, which means that some of the rules and regulations it's held under often seem impenetrable and frustrating for novices. As a section of cycling sport it does not market itself well, so if you're new to it, please persevere-it'll be worth it in the long run!
Benefits of time trialling include a big improvement in your fitness, an introduction to competition for less confident riders, and a way to measure your absolute ability against both other riders and yourself. As they say, it's the "race of truth", with nowhere to hide!
Can anyone time trial?
Almost, as long as you're a club member and over 12 years old. You need to be a member of a CTT affiliated cycling club because of event insurance, except for the occasional 'Come And Try It' events. If you are under 18 years old we also need a signed Parental Consent form.
If you don't belong to a club, we can arrange a day membership, for only £1.
Do I need a special bike?
No, basically, if it's a conventional bike, road/mountain/bmx/trike or Raleigh shopper, you can ride it.
Do I need a helmet?
Technically, no you don't. However, for your own safety, our cycling club and the Road Time Trials Council strongly advise you to wear a hard-shell helmet in all events of this nature. If you are under 18 years old, then an approved helmet MUST be worn.
Do I need to enter club events in advance?
No, just turn up with your entry fee (£3 if you're a member of CC-CC or £3.50 for other cycling clubs) pin on your number, and ride. (The only exception being the interclub events -see the racing secretary)
What about Open events?
Ah, more tricky here. See the Club's racing secretary, or an experienced club rider, just to make sure you know the secret Masonic signs to enable you to enter. It's not difficult, it's just somewhat obscure, and must be done 2 weeks before the event, that's all!!
What sort of time should I be aiming for?
As a beginner, for a 10 mile event, anything under 35 minutes is encouraging, under 30 is excellent. By the way, less than 20 minutes and your surname may well be Wigins!
Will I make a fool of myself?
No. "Testing" is physically very hard, whatever you're standard. They'll always be someone, somewhere who is faster than you, so no one can afford to be arrogant about anyone else's ability. Ask for advice from other riders, but please, not from the timekeepers while they're doing their job!
What should I be careful of?
Keep your head up and watch where you're going, no matter how tired you are. Watch especially for cars pulling out of side turns, or turning in front of you. You're going much faster than they're used to seeing cyclists go. Be wary of faster riders passing you without warning-they don't make any noise as they approach! Don't ride in the gutter-you may hit the kerb and fall, and it encourages careless drivers to squeeze through the gap between you and oncoming traffic, instead of using that strange accessory called the brake.