Time Trials

A time trial is all about you as an individual cycling against the clock. The French call it the ‘race of truth’ and in many ways it is. It’s not like road racing where you race in a group. You cycle at your own pace and what you feel comfortable with. You are essentially competing with both yourself and others.

In time trialling nobody gets the feeling they’re left behind, and every rider sets his own standard. Because you don’t need any specialist equipment, it’s one of the easiest cycling disciplines to get into.

There is nothing better than improving your time week on week and watching whilst you get progressively faster. There is a tremendous buzz to be had from going fast and moving ahead in terms of ability through stamina and strength. Time trialling is a great form of cardio vascular exercise.

Different Time Trial Flavours

Club Events

Run by individual clubs for their own members, although members of other clubs are usually allowed to ride indefinitely.

Individuals who are not currently members of any club are also permitted to participate on up to three occasions before needing to join the club.

In 2022 Essex Roads introduced a Road Bike competition to encourage more people to enter the Club TT events. To be eligible for this competition, the following rules are in place:

  1. Any bicycle as per TT Rule 2 below except dedicated time trialling bicycles
  2. No e-bike
  3. No clip on TT Bars
  4. No wheels over 50mm deep (including disc wheel)
  5. No aero helmet

The judges decision as to eligibility for this competition is final.

Inter-club Events

Organised between, and involving members of, two different cycling clubs competing against one another

See the Essex Roads Evening Time Trial Series Page for detail of how to enter these events

Open Events

For members of any cycling club competing against one another. These require an official entry through the Cycling Time Trials website.

Essex Roads are organising a number Open Time Trials in 2022

What to expect on the day

You should check the specifics for the event you are entering, but generally you can expect:

On Arrival

On arrival to the TT HQ the time keeper will ask you to sign-on; will provide you with your race number; and, if necessary, take payment.

At the Start

The Time Keeper will direct you to the start point, which will be a short ride from HQ. You need to get there within plenty of time but please be aware of other riders who may already have set off.

Your number, which should be pinned on your back, is also your start position and you will join the start queue in that order. Penalties for arriving late for your start may apply depending on the event you have entered.

During The Race

Riders start off at intervals of one minute and are timed over a set route. All competitors must ride alone and without assistance. The winner is the rider who achieves the fastest time over the set distance.

Even if you finish quite a way behind the winner, you might still have the satisfaction of setting a personal best for the distance of the course. but be aware that the weather and road conditions can greatly influence your speed.

At the Finish Line

At the end of the time trial you may collect your time from the time-keeper. All times will be published, either on the CTT website for an Open Event, or on the organising club’s website.


All time trial courses in Essex have been risk assessed and approved for safety by the CTT. Courses are marshalled at specific points and there are warning signs for the benefit of drivers.

It should be noted that roads are not closed during these events and riders may encounter slow farm traffic and horses on occasion. It is important therefore that riders take into account not only their own safety, but that of all other road users.

TT Rules

  1. You must be 12 or over, and all riders under 18 need parental consent. You’ll be competing on public roads so you must be competent at handling your bike particularly at speed.
  2. You can ride any type of bike including a mountain bike so long as it’s in roadworthy condition. Recumbent cycles are not permitted.
  3. Membership of a cycling club is necessary if you wish to compete regularly. For those riders who are not a member of any club, we allow you to race up to two times before needing to become a member of Essex Roads.
  4. You don’t need any special type of clothing, but baggy trousers and similar clothes are likely to slow you down and present a hazard. The Road Time Trials Council (CTT) recommends bright colours so that other road users can see you clearly.
  5. You must wear a helmet whilst competing.
  6. Marshals are positioned at specific points along the route and will indicate the direction to turn. You must obey any instructions given to you by any marshal on the course.
  7. You must always obey the rules of the Highway Code whilst out on course and be aware of other road users.
  8. All riders must cycle ‘head-up’ at all times to read the road ahead.
  9. No U-turns are permitted within sight of the time keeper. Cycle well past the finish point and then turn around. Alternatively dismount and walk across the road. The time keeper reserves the right to disqualify riders from the event should this rule be broken.
  10. Riders are not allowed to slip-stream other riders. This can lead to disqualification.