About reliability TRIALS

If you’ve never heard of reliability trials before, don’t worry, you’re in good company, the majority of UK cyclists will probably stare at you blankly when you ask them if they’ve ridden a reliability this season! In the modern era of cycling sportives rule the roost when it comes to mass participation events, but their origins lay firmly in the UK’s underground reliability trial scene.

With entry fees kept low, proceeds given away to charity, there’s very little pomp or advertising to spread the word of these excellent mainstays of the UK early season cycling scene.

What is a Reliability Trial?

A reliability trial is, at its essence ,an organised mass participation ride over a set distance that you aim to complete within a given time limit. A typical distance for a reliability could be in the region of 100km, although there are normally always shorter options for newer, or slower riders. In the winter months many local club cyclists are training for the forthcoming road racing season with club runs and their own endurance training. The reliability trials fill a gap for them in between of a club run and a road race – a chance to test themselves and their training (hence their ‘reliability’) in a super clubrun consisting of a lot of the faces they will be racing against in the forthcoming year.

For those who aren’t racing, the slower groups provide a good way to push yourself a bit on an unfamiliar route with friendly cyclists from other local clubs for company.

Who Organises Reliability Trials?

Reliability trials have their heart in the UK’s traditional cycle club scene, so the vast majority are organised by local cycleclub volunteers. This allows them to keep the costs down, apart from hiring a hall somewhere for the start and finish, the money raised almost always goes entirely to a local charity. Typically you will pay in the region of £5 – £10.

When are Reliability Trials Run?

While sportives are often a Saturday or Sunday affair, reliability trials seem to run exclusively on a Sunday in the first three months of the year. Typically the riders gather around 8.30am to register and then set off around 9am, although check with each organiser for the exact start details. Longer distance rides tend to set off earlier, to allow time for getting around the route, and shorter rides can set off later.

Are Reliability Trials Ridden Individually or in Groups?

You are free to ride a reliability however you like – typically groups of similar ability riders set off together, and aim to stick together in a peloton throughout the route, as its a lot easier to hide away from a headwind in a group than on your own. If you get dropped from the group you’ll be riding the rest of the route on your own, so pick your groups carefully or you run the risk of being dropped in the middle of nowhere and having to navigate the rest of the route on your own!

Are Reliability Trials Races or Rides?

Technically reliability trials are group rides and not races, and legally they are definitely not races – they are neither sanctioned as races by the cycling governing bodies, or the local police. You MUST adhere to the laws of the road as these are definitely not closed road events. You may find, that where the road is safe to do so, that the pace goes up and riders get shelled out the back of the faster groups, with the riders at the head of the bunch pushing the pace wanting to be the first ones back.

Are Reliability Trials Suitable for Beginners?

In a word, yes. If you know you can do the distance within the time laid out at the start, there should be no reason why you can’t enter. Make sure you read the safety briefing, take a helmet and have enough tools to be self sufficient if you have a problem half way round.

Can You Enter a Reliability Trial if you Aren’t Confident with Riding in a Group?

You can enter, but this isn’t the type of place to learn group riding skills. Either go round the route on your own or latch on to the back of a small slow group and explain to them that you aren’t confident in a group and will just hang on the back safely out of the way of the other riders.

Rides list

January 2019

06 January
Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers
Merley Community Centre, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1XE
75miles – £4.00

06 January
West Kent RC
Horton Kirby Cricket Club, Franks Lane, Horton Kirby, Dartford, DA4 9JJ
50km, 100km – £5.00

13 January
Westerley Winter Warme
Gravel Hill, Chalfont St Peter, Bucks, SL9 9QX
44km, 60km, 108km – £8.00

20 January
Harp Hilly Hundred
Hemel Hempstead CC Club Room, Nash Mills Recreation Centre, Red Lion Lane, Kings Langley, HP3 9TE
55km, 100km – £12.00

20 January
Yorkshire Struggle
Prologue, Cold Bath Road, Harrogate, HG2 0NA
90km – £4.00

27 January
CC Sudbury
The Stevenson Centre, Stevenson Approach, Great Cornard, Sudbury CO10 0WD
28.5miles, 46miles – £6.00

Worcester St Johns
Worcester MCX Club, Perdiswell Park, Tower Buildings, Worcester, WR3 7NW
34miles, 46miles – £5.00

Seacroft Wheelers
Squires Cafe Bar, Newthorpe Lane, Newthorpe, Leeds LS25 5LX
50km, 80 km – £4.00

Sydenham Wheelers
Knockholt Village Hall, Main Rd, TN14 7LG Sevenoaks, TN14 7LG
64km, 107 km – £10.00

Preston Wheelers
Withy Trees, Fulwood, PR2 8JE
75m – £? (email organiser – not sure if public event)

Febuary 2019

03 February
Hemel Hempstead CC
Nash Mills Recreation Centre, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9TE
50km, 100km – £5.00

03 February
Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers
Merley Community Centre, Wimborne, Dorset, BH21 1XE
100km, 100miles – £4.00

03 February
Old Portlians
Knockholt Village Centre, Main Road, Knockholt, Kent, TN14 7LG
68km, 100km – £5.00

03 February
Ratae RC
Age UK 51 Paddock St, Wigston, LE18 2AN
25miles, 45miles, 75miles – £?

03 February
Harrogate Nova
Norwood Village Hall, Norwood, HG3 1TB
50miles – £4.00

10 February
Airedale Olympic,Pool in Wharfedale, LS21 2JP
45miles – £4.00

10 February
Stourbridge CC
Swindon Community Centre, High St, Swindon, DY3 4NR
45miles – £5.00

10 February
Cardiff Ajax CC
Maindy Cycle Track, Crown Way, Cardiff, Glamorgan, CF14 3AJ
50miles – £5

10 February
Weland Valley
Lubenham Village Hall, Laughton Road, LE16 9TE

10 February
Fife Century RC
Falkland Hall, Fife KY15 7DL
34miles, 64miles – £10.00

17 February
Willesden CC
Chalfont St Peter Community Centre, Gravel Hill, Chalfont St. Peter, Bucks, SL9 9QX
50km, 100km- £10.00

17 February
The Otley One
Chevin Cycles, Gay Ln, Otley LS21 1BR
50km, 100km – £4.00

17 February
Wheels In Wheels St Ives Out and Back
Richardsons Cycles, The Broadway, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom, PE27 5BX
80km, 120km – £10.00

17 February
HDA Sports Club, Cherry Tree Walk, Redditch, B97 6PB

17 February
University of York Cycling Club
University of York Student’s Union, The Student Centre, James College, Newton Way, York, Yorkshire, YO10 5DD
70miles – £6.00

24 February
Solihull Back to Basics
Bluebell Pub, Swearings Green Rd, Earlswood, Solihull B94 6BP
62miles, 82miles – £5.00

24 February
Perth United CC
Uisge Bar, Station Rd, Murthly, Perth PH1 4EL
42miles, 57miles – £10.00

24 February
Velo Club Long Eaton,Plank and Leggit pub, Sawley Marina, Warren Lane, Sawley, Notts, NG10 3AD
46miles, 71miles, 103miles – £5.00

24 February
Alex Warburton Memorial
The Lawnswood Arms, Otley Rd. Adel, Leeds, LS16 7PH
91km – £4.00

24 February
St Neots CC & Titan Motorsports
Titan Motorsport, Paxton Hill. PE19 6TA
60km, 100km – £5

24 February
Coal Road Challenge
Bulls Beck Picnic Site, Caton Road, Crook O Lune, Lancaster, Lancashire, LA2 9NB
100km – £6.00

03 March
Verulam CC
Redbourn Recreation Centre, 75 Dunstable Rd, Redbourn AL3 7PP
43miles, 65miles – £10.00

03 March
Ross CC
Goodrich village hall, Ross-on-Wye HR9 6HX
37miles, 48miles – £?

03 March
Mansfield Big Red Ride
John Fretwell Centre, Sookholme Rd, Mansfield, NG19 8LL
100km – £5.00

03 March
Leeds Mercury,Chevin Cycles, Gay Ln, Otley LS21 1BR
90km – £4.00

10 March
Prologue Cafe Bash,Cold Bath Rd, Harrogate HG2 0NA
90km – £4.00

10 March

17 March
Bolsover Jester
Oxcroft Centre, 55 Clowne Road, Stanfree. S44 6AG
65miles – £6.00

Reliability Series

Various regional cycling associations bring their clubs together to organise reliability trials between their affiliated clubs. Contact the organisers to find out if you are eligible to ride. You probably will be, but it’s worth checking first.

Shropshire CCA

West midlands cycling

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