A Guide to Road Racing

Road Racing, this is the side of the sport most people will be familier with from seeing the Toud de France on television. A group of riders set off together and the first to cross the finish line is the winner! These races can just be one day or over a number of weeks. Shorter town center races held around a closeds roads are known as Criteriums.

Join a Club:
The ability to ride comfortably and safely in a bunch of riders is perhaps the essential skill of Road Racing. Road Racing has a strong club-based culture, so a great place to start is by joining a club which regularly runs training rides on the Public Roads. This will help you to learn how to ride in the company of other riders and what the basic etiquette of group riding entails.

Group Skills:
Most Road orientated clubs run a number of rides per week, with a longer option on Sundays and perhaps a couple of shorter evening rides. Riding with other riders is also a great way to improve your fitness and gauge your ability against those who already compete.

Perhaps the most useful trick of all is learning how to conserve energy by slipstreaming behind other riders. The ability to move freely in a bunch of riders is a real skill and many first-timers find themselves continually hanging on at the rear of the group. Seasoned riders have a magical feel for where to ride to minimise effort. These are all skills which will prove invaluable once you start to race. Look in our Clubs section to find a Road club near you.

Circuit Racing:
Road Racing beginners usually find their feet in easier events and there's no better place to start than Circuit Race meetings. These events often have several races catering for a range of abilities and age groups and are an ideal environment in which to learn the bike handling and tactical skills necessary to succeed, without the additional stress of being on the public highway. Lap distance is usually between one and four kilometres, so if you get "dropped" (i.e. left behind), catch your breath and wait for the main group to come round, and join again! A British Cycling membership and Licence are usually needed for most events - see or Membership section for full details.

Rules of the Game
Categories, Points, Rankings and Event Classifications. Check out the detail of how the sport works and don't forget to read the Rules.