Road Racing FAQ's

Q: Where's my membership / license?
A: You will normally apply for membership directly to British Cycling,
stating you are member of Reading CC. The membership and license
is then sent to the Road Race Secretary, who will check that the
applicant is current member of the club. Allow up to a month for
this process.

Q: Where can I find out about events?
A: British cycling run events for all categories, including senior (elite,1,2,3,4), veterans, women, and juniors. Most open events are listed in the national magazine "Cycling Weekly" and on the British Cycling web site at http://www.bcf.uk.com/calendar/2004/calendar_contents.shtml.

The Surrey League runs a full program of races across the season, though this requires separate membership. See http://www.surreyleague.co.uk/calendar.htm. For veterans (40+) there is the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (LVRC, see http://www.lvrc.org). This is popular not only because
there any many age related races, but also a lower cost of race entry and license There are also races under The League International TLI (http://www.t-l-i-.org)

Q: I am new to Racing. What do I do?
A: Those people new to racing don't worry! Yes it'll be tough but
everyone else finds it tough too and in terms of pace, fourth cat
races are generally like fast club runs that don't wait for people
who cant keep up! and are an excellent way to accelerate your form.
All you need is your bike, your spanky new kit and a helmet. You
will also need a license which is primarily an insurance thing.

Q: What kind of racing licences are there?
A: For BC races, you'll need to take out membership of British Cycling at Silver or Gold level (£32 or £58 respectively for 2004), which gives you a provisional license and entitles you to purchase a full race annual license (an additional £30 for 2004). This looks like an awful lot of money to shell out if
you are not sure whether you are cut out for road racing or not. Alternatively you can buy a day license (£12) from the race organiser at the event. For Juniors (16-18), racing licenses cost £12. All members
aged 16 and under who sign the parental consent on the membership will receive a full racing licence free of charge. LVRC and TLI races have their own membership and license arrangements.

Q: What competition can I enter with a provisional racing licence?
A: Mountain Bike events up to National level in some categories. (Check with race organiser), Specially designated Road events (closed circuits only), Cyclo-Cross local and regional events, Specially
designated Track events, All cycle speedway events, BMX local events.

Q: I want to enter events on the open road; can I do so with a provisional racing licence?
A: No. You will need to take out either a day licence on the day of the event or take out a full racing licence. (A FULL Racing Licence can only be obtained from the British Cycling membership dept and
requires either a Silver or Gold membership.) Day licence £10 for members, and for non members £12.

Q: What does a full racing licence give me access to?
A: All British Cycling open road and track events, as well as National BMX, Cyclo-Cross events and the British Cycling National Mountain Bike series. A full licence also entitles you to Ability categories,
Points for upgrading, National rankings, National series standing points and a UCI licence number, enabling you to take part in International events. For more FAQ's go to http://www.bcf.uk.com/membership/2003/faq.shtml

Q: How do I enter a race?
A: Again designed to be as straight forward as possible. The race has a published organiser and telephone number, address and sometimes e-mail address and you send him a standard form along with the race entry fee usually between £6 and £12. Or you can do what is known as entry on the line or e.o.l.. If you enter on the line, you just turn up on the day fill in the form and pay the fee,
but be warned!! races do have a maximum number of entrants so call the organiser the day before and get there early to avoid disappointment. Entry form from the BCF website: http://www.bcf.uk.com/events/entry_forms.html

Q: What happens on the day?
A: You arrive at the race HQ, usually a village hall, football club or school and sign on. Signing on is simple, just find the organisers desk and sign next to your name to show your there! You will then
be given a race number that you attach to your jersey using safety pins that are provided. Get your bike and self ready have a gentle warm up and go the HQ at the allotted time and listen to the brief. The brief is usually the Commissaire (the person in charge on the road), briefly highlighting the course and reminding you not to drive into hedges each other or oncoming traffic! Immediately after the brief the race usually gets ready to start with everyone milling about near the start. If the race is on a road circuit there will probably be a Lead car which serves to warn other road users of the races impending arrival and the Commissaire and Assistant Commissaire. There may also be motorbike marshals. You will see the motorbike guys passing you at various time during the race and they may position
themselves at dangerous junctions to stop cars and horses, cats, dogs and anything else that might be a problem. They generally do a good job but have no power to stop car driving morons intent on
causing death and destruction so keep your eyes open. The Commissaire or Assistant who can be on a motorbike will also caution riders behaving irresponsibly in relation to crossing the centre of the
road or other infringements and can disqualify you. On closed circuits like Hillingdon there are no cars or motor-bikes.

Q: What if I'm dropped?
A: If you're dropped you can choose to ride round the circuit on your own or in a small group of other unfortunate riders or you can call it a day and head back to the HQ car and go home, let someone know you have packed. Everyone is dropped occasionally but when the race is going through a short fast period try and hang on because it will soon slow again for everybody to get there breath back and
you will not the only one finding it tough! Races at Hillingdon will allow you to have a lap out and then rejoin because the aim is to have some fun but you won't then qualify for final placing prizes or promotion points.

Q: What about energy drink or water?
A: Whatever you get on with, many of the fourth cat races will last less than 2 hours and most of us can get by on a normal bottle of energy drink. Longer races will need 2 bottles or more.

Q: What if I puncture?
A: Tough, the race is over for you, unless there is a support vehicle and they have a set of your wheels so if you have a spare set take em with you, but basically make sure you're tires aren't threadbare
and are pumped up. If you do puncture, raise one arm if possible, shout puncture and slowly role to a halt

Q: The thought of Road Racing makes me nervous.
A: Everybody feels nervous and apprehensive in the first few races its normal, after all its a totally new experience just feel your way through your first few races and don't feel too disappointed
if you don't win every race just yet! Riding at high speed in a closely packed bunch can be unnerving at first and at times unpleasant, just keep your eyes open and keep your line going round corners
and don't break suddenly and you'll find yourself flying. Modern tires are surprisingly difficult to push off line on a good road surface, just have faith. But still take care in wet and slippery conditions.

Back to top