What You Need to Know about Competing in Bicycle Races

If you love to ride your bike and have a competitive edge in you, then we highly recommend that you take part in some bike races every now and then. There are plenty of races out there that you can participate in. A lot of the time you can just head on over to the closest bike club and ask them if they organize bike races throughout the year. More often than not, you will find that they do. Below we will talk about how to compete in a road race as well as some of the common rules that you need to know.


Getting Ready

The road race starts when all the participants line up at the starting point and sign the starting sheet. Participants will often be required to be at the starting position at least 15 minutes before the race starts. Once everyone is ready, the flag is waved, and the race begins. Throughout the race there will often be regular markers so that you can keep an eye on your progress and know just how many kilometers you have left to cycle. There will be regular hydration points too, so you can cycle by and grab a drink to make sure that you stay well hydrated. The last thing that you want is to get dehydrated when you are competing in a long race.

The Rules of Cycling

There are various types of bicycle races, but the rules will often remain the same no matter what type of race you are participating in. Below we have outlined the common cycling rules for you.

Bike gear: Before the race starts all gear should be checked to see that it meets the necessary standards as stipulated by the UCI. If a participant is found to be using gear that does not meet these standards, then they have to replace the gear or remove themselves from the race.

Racecourse: Participants should know the racecourse route if the competition is an open road route and if they deviate from the designated route, then they will be disqualified. The race itself will often be held on challenging roads that have curves and hills right up until the final 200 meters. The last 200 meters of a race should not have any turns or curves to give the rider faster progress to the finish line.

Rider’s positioning: In road racing the most important rule is that the participant cannot lose contact with their handlebars. If a rider does remove their hands from the handlebar, they will often be given a time penalty if they are spotted doing so by a judge. However, this does not apply when a participant is reaching out to grab some water or some electrolytes to boost their energy levels.


Drafting rule: Drafting is when a participant reduces their effort by getting into the slipstream of the rider in front of them. When you are watching professionals compete in a long-distance race you will often see take it in turns to draft. This is a tactic that is used to save energy and is acceptable in all types of races apart from time trial.

Finish line: The finish line should always be marked with black and white and be at least 4-6cm in width so that it is clearly visible to the riders when the cross over it. The last thing that any race needs is confusion right at the end.