Getting started

This page provides answer to some of the more common questions asked about time trialling. More information can be found on the CTT web site.

What are Time Trials?
Time Trialling is an extremely popular branch of cycle sport that can be enjoyed by all age groups from 12 upwards. Mainly held on public roads, competitors in a time trial will attempt to ride a set course in the quickest time possible. Riders are sent off alone*, normally at one minute intervals. 'Pacing' is not allowed - any rider being caught by another must give way when overtaken and leave a gap so as not to gain any advantage by hanging on to a faster rider's wheel. Distances raced vary, and can be anything from a couple of miles to as great a distance as can be ridden in 24 hours! The most popular standard distances are 10 and 25 miles, while non standard distances over circuit type courses are becoming more popular.  *Occasionally 'team time trials' are held, for teams of 2 or more riders.

Why Time Trial?
It is a sport which can be enjoyed by not only all ages from 12 upwards but by all standards of ability. While some riders achieve many wins in competition, others may never 'win' but may produce a 'personal best', which can be equally rewarding. It's a form of competition which Great Britain has been particularly successful at in recent times - apart from winning Olympic gold and breaking the world hour record on the track, Chris Boardman was a multi-time champion in road time trials in the late 80s and early 90s.  No rider ever won the Tour de France Link to external web site without being able to ride a good time trial - the performances of Lance Armstrong in recent years bear witness to that. It's become a bit of a cliche, but the French famously call the time trial the 'race of truth', as  poor performances cannot be hidden, and the strongest rider on the day will always prevail.

How do I start?
To compete in a time trial you must belong to a cycling club or organisation affiliated to CTT. To find out about clubs in your area, contact this site or look on the club links page. Most clubs run evening events during the summer months which are an ideal introduction to the sport.

What do I need?
Basically a sound, road-worthy bike of any type can be used in a time trial. Experienced riders will be seen on specialist machines with disc wheels, tri bars etc. However in evening club events it is not uncommon to see riders competing on mountain bikes, standard road bikes and specialist time trial machines in close order. We do insist on a high standard of behavior when competing as we do in the public eye - it is our responsibility to obey the rules of the road and act at all times with courtesy to other road users. Although it is not compulsory, we do recommend that riders wear a hard shell helmet that meets an internationally accepted safety standard. In terms of clothing, you will definitely ride quicker in proper cycling shorts and tops - these cling to the body and do not flap around in the wind!

Enjoy your time trialling!