Tag Archives: time trials

Jen Taylor 2013 Scottish womens road

Jen Taylor: Scottish women’s road champion

When Jen Taylor won the Scottish women’s road race championships in Mid-may, up in Aberdeenshire, I recognised her name but that was about it. She has now just competed in the National Road Race Championships in Glasgow, so here is a belated hat-tip to Scotland’s women’s champion.

British National Road Race Championships 2013
Lining up for the British nationals alongside the pro women

By all accounts the Scottish championships was a well-run event, put on by Phil Allan and was ‘enjoyed’ (if that is the right word) by the riders. The organiser, freshly taking on a big event such as this has enough on their plate, but I’d hoped for a wee bit more coverage leading up to and after the race. Scottish Cycling’s publicity output has increased noticeably in the past weeks and months with reference to our champions and other races and results, but leading up to the event there was not a huge amount of information available.

Ed and Martin at Velo Veritas paid good attention to the day, the course and the men’s race and ran an interview with winner Gary Hand. My mind was turning over about the women’s race though – who was the winner who had beaten several full time athletes and a few pros – Jennifer Taylor.

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(Scottish) Cycling vernacular: testers

In a previous post I referred to Scottish rouleurs getting a chance to test themselves in an early season time trial, and someone queried my terminology, suggesting the correct phrase for this type of riding should be testers. As we head towards March, time triallists will be looking to the first classified 10 of the year, the Corrieri’s Classic.

A tester is the British slang for a pure time triallist, and wikipedia lists this as “slightly derogatory” – a time-trialist who tends to over-specialize in the discipline. What do you think of this? I’ve heard time trialling devotees refer to themselves as testers as well as roadmen use the word in a slightly disparaging way.


On the continent, a rouleur (or passista if you’re Italian) is a general term for a rider capable of fast riding on the flat. This phrase does seem to encompass a workhorse cyclist who can drill it on the front, chase down breaks and crank up the pace ahead of a lead-out, but as the Euros don’t have as much of a tradition of time trialling as we do, they don’t seem to have specialist terms for against-the-clock specialists. Before the RTL-l’Équipe podcast was cancelled, I remember the (French) panellists bemoaning the lack of French time trial specialists and referring to them as ‘rouleurs’.

The Bunch

Much of our cycling slang comes from continental terms and a few French slang phrases exist for types of rider that we don’t seem to have names for, such as the puncheur – a punchy rider? – and the barroudeur – a swashbuckling all-rounder who loves the solo break.

Voeckler, the people's champion!

Also worth a look is a glossary of European cycling terms on one of my favourite sites, The Inner Ring.

Scottish Climbs: Logie Kirk, Stirling

This climb, local to me, is a short steep narrow road that takes you from the church at the bottom to the Ochil Hills. The church sits in the Forth Valley, in the lea of the Abbey Craig hill, site of the Wallace Monument. Otherwise, the base of this climb is surrounded by the flat farmland of the Forth Valley, with the Ochils range rearing up along the ‘hillfoots’ villages of Menstrie, Alva and Tillicoutry.

The Logie church that sits at the bottom is in the shadow of the Witches Craig, a set of cliffs that were said to be the site of pagan rituals.

Logie Church  Stirling

Starting from the car park, the first section, past the cemetery, seems easy in comparison to the rest, but in fact the bumpy, gravelly road makes it hard to get a decent head of steam up.


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Scottish Cyclist: Archie Craig, 1930s

I competed in the Lothian Flyer Race in June and Archie Craig, the Lothian Road Club rider, after whom the race is named, was represented in the form of his daughter Sheila and her sister’s grandson Massimo, Archie’s great grandson. He died in 2000 aged 87.

Born 27 August, 1912, he was a member of the Lothian Road club, with day rides and drum-ups a part of the cycling culture in the 30s and 40s. There are several pictures of Archie and his clubmates below, that give a feel for club life.

A young, wet looking rider competing in a club, or an open TT?

His daughter Sheila told me: Dad went cycling on the continent, on a few trips in the 30’s, staying at hostels and sleeping out. Few did this back then, and on his return fellow club members and everybody wanted to know all about it. There were some great stories – unfortunately the war stopped a great deal of cycling, but in 1950 Dad went with a few Lothian CC friends cycling through France, Pyrenees to Andorra and down through parts of Spain(travel to Spain had just been authorised again and you needed a visa to go to Spain.

Thanks to Sheila for sharing these photos. Although Lothian Cycling Club and Edinburgh Road club were rivals in the past, LCC no longer exists, and ERC now promotes the race in Archie Craig’s memory.

The Lothian Cycling Club members

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Rothesay weekend day 1

Today saw the Serpentine hill climb and the two-up TT at the Rothesay Weekend.

I don’t have the full results but photos courtesy of Dave Swan / Bute Sport Photography group are already online.

The competitors will be enjoying some apres-race refreshments right now, an important feature of this social occasion that marks the end of the season for many.

But on Sunday there is a 10 mile TT in the morning and an APR in the afternoon, so anyone overdoing things tonight may suffer tomorrow.

Jamie Kennedy, Glasgow Couriers

Bute Wheelers
Bute Wheelers

International cyclocross legend John McComisky
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Scottish time trialling rules and events

Matt Hennon Inverclyde Velo 22.44

Scottish Cycling is the internationally recognised governing body for cycle sport in Scotland, and as such it is subject to the UCI technical regulations for time trial bikes.

The UK has more time trial races throughout the year than any other country in the world, due to our history, and the popularity of the discipline here. Scottish Cycling is probably the only internationally recognised federation in the world that runs a season-long calendar of time trials across all disciplines, genders and age groups – in England, this is run by Cycling Time Trials – not an internationally recognised governing body.

You’ve got male, female, junior, vets and team categories over distances from 10 to 25 100 miles and sometimes 12 hours if the courses and organisers are there.

Up until around 2011 Scottish Cycling was solely responsible for time trialling in Scotland, while Cycling Time Trials (CTT) – not affiliated to British Cycling or the UCI – was the national governing body for time trials in England and Wales. This was by agreement between the two governing bodies.

Then there was a transition period whereby Scottish Cycling moved to adopt the UCI technical regulations for time trials, which meant some new rules for equipment and riding positions coming into force over a few years. The agreement between SC and CTT was terminated and a new Scotland region was established within CTT. That means there are two governing bodies for time trialling in Scotland.

Scottish Cycling rules for time trials

From 2016, there is background information on Scottish Cycling’s view of time trialling.

There is an overview of Scottish Cycling time trial rules and links to specific rules, courses, organising an event, and getting started in the sport.

Full Scottish Cycling technical regulations are available here.

CTT time trial rules in Scotland

The CTT doesn’t follow the same UCI regulations as Scottish Cycling, and when it comes to equipment, stipulates the following regulations (under 14. Competitor’s Machine). These are intended for the predominantly amateur club rider competing on open roads:

(a)  Brake levers must be secured to the handlebars in such a position as to enable the competitor to readily apply both brakes whilst holding the handlebars at their widest point. The width of handlebars shall be no less than 35 cms.

(b)  On tricycles and tandem tricycles, two brakes may operate on the front wheel but otherwise the braking systems must operate independently on both front and rear wheels.

(c)  Bicycles with a fixed wheel shall have a left hand threaded locking device securing the fixed sprocket. Similarly, tricycles with a fixed wheel shall have a suitable locking device or alternatively shall include an integral system as part of the design. Machines with fixed wheel require only a brake operating on the front wheel(s).

(d)  Machines fitted with triathlon handlebars and derivations thereof which have forearm supports, or Spinacci type handlebars without forearm supports, may be used provided that when the rider adopts a competitive position on these bars:

    (i)  The wrists are no lower than the elbows.
    (ii)  The height from the ground to the forearm resting position is no less than 80% of the height of the saddle from the ground.

(e)   Tyres shall be in good condition and tubular tyres shall be securely attached to the rims.

(f)    Disc wheels or spoked wheels fitted with covers may be used only on the rear of a machine.

(g)   Deep section rims, tri-spoke and wheels of a similar design may be used. The front wheel must have at least 45% of the surface area open.

(h)  The use of recumbent machines, protective shields, windbreaks or other means of reducing air resistance is prohibited.

N.B. The Board considers that use of the so called “tuck” and “superman” positions would be a breach of the opening paragraph of this Regulation and that such use is not in the best interests of the safety of riders or the welfare of the sport.

N.B. Para-cyclists who are unable to ride a machine that complies with this regulation shall apply to Board for dispensation.

You could ride a Specialised Shiv or otherwise non-UCI compliant TT bike in CTT events, provided it still adheres to the rules above.

Bradley Wiggins fell foul of item (g) in 2009 after running a Zipp 1080 on the front – deemed to be less than 45% open. At the time, he was aiming to break Michael Hutchinson’s national 10 mile TT record in a local time trial, on a setup similar to the pic below.

Bradley Wiggins - 2009 Eneco Tour, prologue
photo © Garmin Barracuda

In most countries Time Trials only form part of higher category events – the UCI time trial rules exist for pro riders: National championships, the World championships or international stage races. Inversely, the CTT rules exist for amateurs; they cater for those of age 12 and up, racing on open roads. Hence why a front wheel that is less than 45% open is considered dangerous, as a lighter rider could be blown into the path of oncoming traffic in a side wind.

Time trial races in Scotland

February sees the first time trials of the season, the Ice Breaker 2-up, followed by the 3-up in Musselburgh in March- both races can be windy and cold affairs and the shelter of a team-mate or two to draft behind is essential. These team time trials open the year.

10 mile races dominating the calendar in March and April before the longer 25s and 50s come in. Early on there are a couple of mountain TTs with the Knockhill Mountain Time Trial and the Tour of the Meldons, amd then much later in the season a couple more classic hilly TTs: the Tours of the Campsies and Trossachs, and finally the hill climbs starting around September. We have a lot of time trials.

Scottish cycling time trial races

Check out the events calendar of British Cycling / Scottish Cycling for time trials. (the link should take you to a list of events in Scotland filtered for ‘time trials’, but if that list doesn’t work, go to the BC events calendar and filter on location, date, and event type.

CTT time trial races in Scotland

Find CTT time trial events here, using the filter ‘Scotland’: https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/find-events



New UCI time trial rule 2010- road.cc
UCI Rules page
Technical regulations for bicycles, a practical guide to implementation (pdf)
Scottish Time Trial rules

Scottish racing moments of 2011

‘Tis the season for ‘Top 10’ style lists, so here’s a brief rundown of some of my highlights of 2011 where Scottish racing is concerned. I certainly haven’t watched everything closely- these are just the things that stand out, off the top of my head. Please contribute your own ideas in the comments.

in no particular order

Arthur Doyle’s 19:45
Arthur is pretty much the best time triallist around, particularly in 10s and 25s and this blistering time at Westferry at the end of August was brilliant. Check out this discussion on Braveheart which looks at other 19 minute rides.

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Packing tape aero helmet

I did a post on David Millar’s aero helmet that he sported on the Champs Elysees in this year’s tour. Here is my own, somewhat lower tech prototype.

Part inspired by the delightfully eccentric Fun Run Robbie’s packing tape disc wheel, and part by another friend who mentioned naively turning up to the Tour of the Meldons without a scrap of aero kit on him. There, guys had taped up the holes in their helmets – “Not such a daft idea after all?” I thought.

Packing tape aero helmet @funrunrobbie
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Carlos Riise, SVTTA 50

Carlos Riise, who if you don’t know comes from Shetland and is a TT specialist, finished the SVTTA 50 mile TT in 2:04:10 on Sunday.

The course takes in some of the ‘Kippen flats’ or Cambusbarron 10 course, before turning left up to Blairdrummond and left again along rolling roads towards Thornhill.

20110320_6006 Carlos in ’10’ action earlier this year

2:04:10 is a pretty good time but quite a bit slower than you might expect for Mr Riise, who is very handy indeed in a TT. However it is put firmly in perspective with the knowledge that he rode the whole 50 without a saddle or seatpost, having forgotten to pack it for the flight down to Stirling.
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Scottish 10m TT championships

I had meant to preview this event but didn’t get time. Please give me the benefit of the doubt for the next paragraph…

What I was going to say was ‘who can top reigning champion Arthur Doyle?’. After seeing him clean up in the early season TTs with some blistering times, he then turned his attention to some road races, being active in the Sam Robinson and the Scottish Road Race champs. He would have been my tip for the win, but then that was a bit like saying Barcelona were favourites for the European Cup last night.

Arthur Doyle in action earlier this year
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