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’:



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