After learning a couple of things I didn’t know whilst at BC HQ yesterday I thought it might be useful to post some info for those thinking of taking up racing.
Most cycle racing in the UK is run under British Cycling regulations, this includes: Road, track, criteriums (circuit racing on road bikes), grass track, Cycle Speedway, Mountain biking (all disciplines) and BMX. The general exception is Time Trials (includes Hill Climbs) which fall under CTT (Cycling Time Trials)
Membership benefits: http://new.britishcycling.org.uk/membership/article/mem--Membership---the-full-details-0
Membership prices: http://new.britishcycling.org.uk/membership/article/mem-Membership-Prices-0
License prices: http://new.britishcycling.org.uk/membership/article/mem-Racing-Licence-Prices-0
BC membership runs for 12 months from the date of application, however a BC race license runs for every calendar year.
Generally if you wish to race in a BC race you are required to have a BC race license. If you are not a member (or a bronze member) you can purchase a day license at the event for £5.00 this is not possible at major events (if you intend to race more than once or twice this gets expensive….refunds aren’t given if you purchase a full license!)…guess what? there are exceptions.
Go-Race events are intended for novices to cycling, you do not require a license or BC membership, you get no BC ranking points and there is no prize money, in reality you would only race a few of these before making your decision to take it more seriously or not.
BIG NEWS: If you have BC silver membership you do not have to pay for a day license (at events where they are allowed) and you can have as many day licenses as you want throughout the year! I learnt this yesterday, this means with Silver membership you could race all Herne Hill track leagues and open events and all the Crystal Palace circuit races and most of Hog Hill races without ever buying a license…..you do not get BC ranking points however.
Run under BC rules ‘cross is even easier to take part in, excepting major events you only need to be a BC member to race, you can even be a Bronze member with no license. If you are not a BC member you can ride on a day license, for ‘cross they are only £3.00
You do not need a cross bike to race cross, excepting major events you can race on an MTB and the rules state any bike is permitted, but I guess it has to be roadworthy and comply with usual brake requirement for road bikes.
Note: You can join BC without being a member of a cycling club (private member), however you may have difficulty entering time trials if you are not a member of a club affiliated to CTT.
Suggested London clubs:
Rollapaluza CC : http://www.rollapaluza.cc (lot's of forum members and based at Herne Hill)
VCL (Velo Club de Londres) : http://www.vcl.org.uk (great for youth and based at Herne Hill)
Phoenix : http://www.londonphoenix.co.uk/
Dynamo : http://www.londondynamo.co.uk/
Dulwich Paragon : http://www.dulwichparagon.com/
CS Grupetto (invitation only?): http://www.grupetto.co.uk/
CTT (time Trialling)**
If you want to ride in time trials (and hill climbs) you do not have to be a member of CTT, but your club does, most clubs affiliate to CTT.
Some events, like the Catford hill climb are starting to introduce categories for non-club affiliated riders.
Organise tons of road races, best way to join is make sure your club is affiliated then join yourself, it is possible to join indvidually but they request that you assist in the promotion of at least two events
Membership costs: £20 senior men, £10 senior ladies, £10 juniors or £5
Another league with loads of road racing and plenty of events at Hog Hill (Redbridge cycle circuit) easier to join than the Surrey League and cheaper too at a tenner.
** Crystal Palace Circuits**
Criterium racing on Tuesday evenings from the last week in April 'til the end of August, entry on the day only, youths at 6.45pm handicapped adult race at 7.30pm. Not sure of entry fee or whether a league fee is charged. more info: http://www.londoncyclesport.com/News/Event_News/Crystal_Palace_Circuits_2009.html
Herne Hill Track League
Every Wednesday from early May ‘til end of August. A fiver to register for the league, then £8 per event (£6 for juniors, £3 for youths)
Welwyn Track League
Fridays, full details to follow.
London Cross League**
Runs from beginning of September to mid February with over 20 cyclo-cross races: http://www.londonxleague.co.uk/
BC and CTT do not control all racing, just most of it, there are other associations such as “The League International” who organise racing based on age categories.
There are also other events that run independently from the National federations for example:
Beastway : Hugely popular MTB series at Hog Hill , recommended! http://www.cycleweb.co.uk/beastway/series2009/
SSUK : UK single speed MTB champs
Rollapaluza : Roller racing
Hard shell helmets conforming to the relevant British Standard are required for all races held under BC rules
Helmets are not required for senior riders in CTT events
There a re loads of rules but the basics are: a road bike with freewheel, two brakes and drop handlebars, aero bars are not allowed. Bike checks are rare but your bike should be in roadworthy condition and be able to pass a bike check if it occurs. There are gear restrictions for youth and junior riders.
Fixed wheel bike with drop handlebars with bar tape of full grips, foot retention (clipless pedals or clips and straps), no brakes, no outsticking parts (unused brake levers, bottle cages, quick release levers etc) must have bar plugs. Certain indoor tracks with steep banking have rules about BB height and crank length, also, do not ride Michelin tyres on wooden tracks!
Time Trialling (CTT)
As road bike, aero bars are allowed. Fixed wheel bikes are also allowed, must have a front brake.
Hope I've covered most things for London area riders, feel free to add.
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