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Time Trial regulations

This is a quick summary of the time trial regulations - the full version is available in the Scottish Cycling Little Blue Book Of Rules.

Time Trial Events

The minimum distance for a time trial is generally 10 miles but shorter races are permitted. Most races are at fixed distances (10. 25, 50 and 100 miles) or fixed time (12 and 24 hours). Riders start at one-minute intervals, or sometimes more, and cover the course alone and without taking pace from other competitors or vehicles. If one competitor is caught by another, the Scottish Cycling technical regulations require the overtaken rider to fall back behind the other to a distance where they are getting no shelter or help from the faster rider. At least 20 yards/metres is suggested.


When time trial courses are designed, safety is a major consideration. However, a competitor's safety remains entirely his or her own responsibility. Events are held on open roads, and competitors must obey the relevant laws and the Highway Code before, during and after a race. Competitors must avoid creating situations that are unsafe for other road users.
There are a number of other points that will help everyone to enjoy safer racing:

  • Cyclists are less visible than most other road users. You should remember this when approaching junctions.
  • You should avoid doing U-turns in the road, both while warming up for an event, and after you've passed the finish. Drivers do not normally expect other road users to make this manoeuvre, which means it can be dangerous.
  • Any road junction or roundabout can constitute a hazard in a race. You will often be approaching much faster than drivers expect of a cyclist, which can lead to errors of judgement on their part. Be ready for this. Care is particularly necessary at slip roads joining and leaving dual carriageways and other major roads, due to the long period when a cyclist can be between two lanes of merging traffic or exposed to vehicles leaving the main carriageway at high speed.


If you have an accident during a race, no matter how minor it may seem, you are required to report it to the Event Organiser as soon as possible.

Entering Events in Scotland

Whatever type of time trial you are entering, club or open, you will be required to pay an entrance fee and may need a race licence, depending on the type of event. The Event Organiser will be able to advise you of fees and licence requirements.
Race numbers must be used. You will receive this before the start of the event.
To find a Scottish Cycling registered Time Trial event, visit our events calendar by clicking here >>>

The Bicycle

There are some restrictions regarding the equipment that you can use. Brake levers must be positioned so that you can get to them quickly from your normal riding position. Triathlon bars with forearm supports may be used. You can use a solid disc wheel at the rear of your bike, but not on the front. Deep-rimed wheels and composite spoked wheels (e.g. tri-spokes) may be used in either or both positions. Under no circumstances may streamlining devices be used.

Clothing and Advertising

Time triallists usually wear either a sleeved racing jersey and cycling shorts, or an equivalent one-piece suit. Sleeveless vests are not permitted. The wearing of a hard-shell helmet (conforming to recognised safety standards) is compulsory for all competitive events.

No trade advertising on clothing or the bike is permitted, unless under Club Sponsorship rules.

Courses And Watches

Courses are measured to a high degree of accuracy using special equipment. Marshals are appointed to help riders follow the course, but it is still your responsibility to make sure you know the route.

Courses are normally only identified by a code system - this is throwback to the days when races were conducted in secret, and some system was required that would disguise the whereabouts of a race. You can download a list of registered Time Trial courses here>>>

The watches that timekeepers use also meet high standards of accuracy, and are certified by an approved watch tester. Wristwatches (even digital ones) cannot normally be used. The timekeepers' word regarding your time is final, but if you have a query, leave this until the event is over when the timekeepers will be able to check their figures.

More Information

For more information about time trials, you can contact Scottish Cycling at events@scottishcycling.org.uk or telephone 0141 554 6021 or you can find a local club on our website by clicking here>>>

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