Road Racing is massed start cycle racing on the road or a circuit. The first rider over the finish line wins. Racing in a bunch helps to develop your bike handling and knowledge of race tactics. You will be racing on the road or circuit in close proximity to anything from 20 to 200 riders. There are plenty of events to enter in the South East for all levels of experience and ability.
The courses are most commonly on the road but there are purpose built circuits such as Hillingdon, Hog Hill and Cyclopark. In addition, many races are at motor racing and airfield circuits such as Goodwood and Dunsfold Aerodrome.
What you’ll need
- A road bike in good condition (no tri-bars)
- A helmet
- A racing licence (see below)
- Membership of British Cycling
- Suitable (Lycra) racing clothing
British Cycling Annual Memberships and Racing Licences
Before competing in any event held under British Cycling regulations, you will need to join British Cycling. To find out what type of memberships and licences are needed to race British Cycling competitive events click here.
Race Bronze, Silver and Gold all come with a provisional race licence but you cannot add a full racing licence to a Race Bronze membership. You cannot race with a Ride membership which is ideal for social riders, commuters or sportive riders.
The different types of membership come with different levels of insurance and other benefits, to find out which membership is right for you there is a comparison chart on the British Cycling website here.
What kinds of racing can I do?
British Cycling operates a points-based category system for all licensed road races, starting at fourth category for novice riders and progressing through third, second and first categories before finally reaching elite level. Races are defined by the category of rider racing in them and riders progress through the categories by scoring points via placing in races.
Races can be divided into two types:
- Closed Circuit – these are either purpose-built cycle racing facilities or similar e.g. motor racing circuits and airfields, where racing takes place free of other vehicles and there is no limit on the number of riders. Circuits of this type in the south east are Goodwood Motor Circuit, Dunsfold Aerodrome, and Hillingdon Hog Hill and Cyclopark cycle racing circuits.
- Open Road – as the name suggests, racing takes place on the public highway, which means that vehicle traffic will be present. For safety reasons, field sizes are usually limited to 40-80 riders.
In the South East, most races for fourth category riders take place on closed circuits, with only a few open races being available e.g. Lewes Wanderers evening criteriums. To find out what races are coming up, visit British Cycling race calendar.
How to enter a race
There are two ways to enter races:
- Entry on the line (EOL) – many mid-week races and those held on closed circuits can be entered on the day. All you’ll need to bring along with you are your race licence and the entry fee, which can be either cash or a cheque.
- Entry in advance – most races held on the open road have limited field sizes and therefore require you to enter anything up to two weeks before the race day. Increasingly, online entry is available via the British Cycling or Surrey League websites but some organisers might still require you to send a completed paper entry form and entry fee in the form of a cheque.