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A number of our members both male and female take part in various forms of racing including track, road racing, time trials, cyclocross but this is entirely up to each individual and this is certainly by no means compulsory.


One of our club members (Captain Chris) competed in the National Hill climb. Brave man Chris well done! Read about his ride here.


For those interested in racing one of our members Heather Bamforth has prepared this introductory guide. Hope you find it useful.


For anyone interested and wanting to know more please do get in contact with Heather on twitter @heverb

A Guide to Road Racing


Where do I start?


The first thing any organiser will tell you is that in order to ride in a British Cycling road race, you will need to be a member of British Cycling, with at least the silver package.  You will also need a racing licence.  Some organisers will let you buy a day licence, however some organisers may prefer you to have a full racing licence.  There is a cost implication to this, however if you decide that you are going to enter 5 races, it would probably work out cheaper to buy the full racing licence rather than having to buy one at every race.  In addition, if you do well and finish in the top 10 (for example), you would be able to keep the licence points you will have earned, which then helps you move up the category system (see next paragraph).  For further information on British Cycling membership, go to



The Category System


All new members are automatically given fourth category status.  There are five categories: 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and elite.  Once you have earned 10 licence points as a fourth category rider, you become a third category rider.  A third category rider needs 40 points before achieving second category status.  If you start the year as a second category rider, you only need 25 licence points to retain your second category licence; if not, you will go back to third category status.  Once you are a third category rider, you will never be downgraded to fourth category again.


In order to progress to first category status, you need to obtain 200 licence points whilst riding as a second category rider.  If you achieve those points and enter the season as a first category rider, you will need to gain 100 licence points to retain your status as a first category rider.


Finally, in order to achieve and retain your elite category status, you will need to gain 300 points in a season.


For further information check out


 Points mean… 


The number of licence points you can win depends on what type of race you have entered.  Most circuit races are either Band 4 or Band 5, which means points are given to the top 10 finishers, with winners of Band 4 races earning 15 points and winners of Band 5 races earning 10 points, with 1 point being given to 10th in both instances.


For men, rankings are split into National and Regional, with different races being allocated different bands depending on the categories eligible to ride.  For example, when you are starting out, men have the opportunity to ride Regional B races (restricted to third and fourth category riders) or Regional A races (restricted to second, third and fourth category riders and also restricted on distance).  Regional B races are classed as Band 4 races on the road and Regional A races are Band 3 classification on the road (30 points for the win, with 15th earning 1 point).  If the event is on a closed circuit, the race will be downgraded by one band.


Once you are a third category rider, you can also enter National B races, if numbers permit, although most of these races are open to elite, first and second category riders only, and are longer in distance than Regional races.  Elite Road Series races and National Championships are National A races, and have Band 1 points.


The women’s points system is a work in progress.  At the moment, there are no regional level events for women due to the historic low number of women racing.  This may change but it won’t be yet.  Women’s National Series Road Race events are Band 2, with 60 points going to the winner and points down to 20th place, with 20th earning 1 point.

For the breakdown of how points are given, visit



Races – the different types


You may have heard other cyclists talk about crits, testing, road races, but what does it all mean?


Well, a “crit” is short for “criterium” and is the same thing as a circuit race.  The course is usually either a purpose built closed circuit or round a town centre, where the roads are closed to traffic.  An example of a crit are the Tour Series events, which are all held around various town centres and are shown on ITV4.   Many riders start out racing on closed circuits because they don’t have to worry about traffic and there are usually lots of different races available nationwide.


Road races are exactly that – races held on the open road.  The road is usually open to traffic, so you will encounter oncoming traffic.  Having said that, you encounter traffic when you go out on your bike, so it isn’t anything to be worried about.  Some road race organisers utilise British Cycling’s National Escort Group (“NEG”),  who are motorbike marshals which help to regulate the oncoming traffic.  


Road races are organised by British Cycling, The League International (“TLI”) and the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists (“LVRC”).


“Testing” is another name for time trials.  The majority of time trials are governed by Cycling Time Trials (“CTT”), and you don’t need a licence, however you do need to be a member of an affiliated cycling club.  The CTT time trials are generally over 10, 25, 50, or 100 miles or 12 or 24 hours.  

For more information visit


Stage races are usually organised by promoters of British Cycling events and can range from two stages in one day to a number of stages over 3 weeks (such as the Tour de France).  


Click here for Part 2 of the Guide

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