Your First Time Trial

Cycling Time Trials (CTT) the body that oversees Time Trialing in the UK has a couple of very useful articles for first timers here – Basic Information for Beginners & Your First Time Trial – and we’d recommend that you take a look before doing your first TT.

Our Top Tips for First Timers

  1. Doing anything for the first time can be daunting so why not bring along a friend? At Club TTs if you sign on together then you will start just one minute apart. That way you can increase the camarderie or the competitiveness between you.
  2. Your first TT should be at a Club event (see below).
  3. Don’t be intimidated by people on space age bikes warming up on rollers. They were also newcomers to time trialing once upon a time.
  4. Don’t worry about equipment and clothing. Club events are very informal and as long as you have front and back working lights and a helmet, you’ll be set to ride.
  5. Enjoy it and have a chat at the finish mentioning that it’s your first time. You will get nothing but repect and encouragement.
  • Should I try a “Club” or “Open”Event?

Many clubs treat their Club events as Come and Try events and you will be more than welcome at any of them. New riders do not have to be members of an affiliated club and can ride in any type of clothing and on any road-worthy bike except a recumbent etc. The only stipulation is that after a couple of TTs you will be expected to join the host club or another affiated one.

The entry requirements for Open events are more stringent and are restricted to first claim members of affiated clubs. However, all that competitiveness can come later, for now, you should probably give a more informal event your full attention.

“Come and Try” and “Club” Events Locally

“Come and Try” are the easiest and probably most enticing events for any newcomer to Time Trialing. They are usually tagged onto Club events by the host club for purely logistical reasons.

Club” Events Locally

Three local clubs run “Club” Time Trial events during the summer months in the Northumberland and Durham region.

There is a full calendar of local events on the CTT website here: and more info about the local club events further down this page.

What sort of course should I choose?

It’s completely up to you but most “first timers” prefer a quieter course and this usually means a rural location. However, while it may seem counter-intuitive, it is widely believed that dual carriageways with their long straights and sweeping curves provide better visibility for motorists. Nevertheless, if your idea of fun doesn’t include roaring traffic then perhaps it’s best to go rural.

You’ll also want to consider whether you would prefer a flat, sporting or hilly course with most newcomers choosing one of the first two.

What to expect when you arrive to sign on

As a newcomer to the sport of Time Trialling you will have every justification for feeling nervous when you turn up to your first ever event. That tredpidation will only increase when you see some riders looking extremely professional as they warm up using a turbo or rollers.

Please do not worry.

Time trialling attracts all manner of riders and you will soon realise that yes, there are some very swift cyclists here but, there are also plenty of people of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. The vast majority of riders have absolutely no expectation of finishing anywhere near the event’s podium. They have come along to test themselves and be part of a warm, welcoming and very supportive community.

Your first task is to sign on at the event HQ.

HQ sounds all very grand but for Club events it will probably just be the back of the organiser’s vehicle. “Come and Try” events are often tagged on to Club or Open TTs and in the event of the latter, there is more likely to be a village or community hall, a school, or similar acting as race HQ . This is usually extremely good news because it means there will be a presentation and refreshments (yes! cake!) after all the riders have finished.

Sign on is usually open about an hour before the first ride is due off and we recommend that you give yourself time to register and warm up. For Club and “Come and Try” events you will have to pay a small registration fee which usually amounts to about £5.

You will be given a start time and a number to pin onto the back of your top and then it’s time to warm up and head to the start line.


Ideally, you should arrive at the startline about five minutes before you are due off. The Timekeeper will let you know when you have 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 10 seconds to go and, when the countdown gets to 5 seconds they will count you down to zero.

And then you are off……..

From here on, you are on your own. It is a rare rider who manages their pace and body particularly well during their first time trial. For most, the adrenalin gets the better of them and they go off far too quickly. Try to manage your effort and save some energy for the latter part of the ride. You will need it!

It’s all very much a learning process and the more you get involved in the TT discipline, the more you will learn about managing your rides and, your own capabilities

Now, on that first ride, unless, you are a supreme athlete, you will be overtaken. Some of the riders will give you a shout of encouragement as you pass, others will be focussed purely on their own performance and numbers. The crucial thing to remember is that you will have earned their respect for being there.

Don’t worry about what anybody else thinks, just get on with your own ride and as you cross the blessed relief that is the finish line, try and remember to shout out your race number for the benefit of the race timekeeper.

Back at HQ, there will be riders milling around discussing their rides. Don’t be afriad to go up and say hello. Tell them that this was your first TT and they will immediately be encouraging and enquiring, it is a very friendly community.

That’s it really. Your time and those of everyone else will be posted on the host club’s website or the NDCA Facebook page within a few hours of the finish.

That’s it! You’ve set your benchmark. Maybe you loved it. Maybe you hated it. Regardless, can you really resist coming back next week to beat your time?

Nope, didn’t think so:-)


TuesdaysDerwentside CC Club TT Dates 2024

The Derwentside CC Club TT Series will commence on Tuesday 30th April – the events will be held weekly on Tuesday evenings until 16th July 2024.

Sign on normally open from around 6.15pm near the Manor House pub off the A68 – first rider away at 7.01pm.

A course description and map can be found via the link below:

You will find Jon Bennett;’s video of the course here.

NB: at the time of writing (16 Apr 2024) the route may be subject to change prior to Derwentside’s first event of the season.


Wednesdays – Barnesbury CC Club TT Dates 2024

Barnesbury CC will commence their Club TTs from Wednesday 8th May 2024 until around the start of the school summer holidays. These will run weekly with the first rider setting off at either 6:31pm or 6:46pm (look out for advertised times).

Sign-on will be in the usual location on the Industrial Estate in Cramlington: Nelson Way at the junction with Colbourne Avenue.  The nearest postcode is NE23 1WD. Sign-on is normally open from around 5.30pm depending upon how long it takes to set the course out. 

A course description and map can be found via the link below:

Also, a chap called Jon Bennett has made videos of all the N&DCA courses. You will find the Barnesbury Club 10 here:


ThursdaysTyneside Vagabonds Club TT

The Tyneside Vagabonds Club TT Series will commence on Thursday 9th May – the events will be every fortnight and the distance will be as follows:

Thursday 9th May (10 Miles)

Thursday 23rd May (10 Miles)

Thursday 6th June (25 Miles)

Thursday 20th June (10 Miles)

Thursday 4th July (25 Miles)

Thursday 18th July (10 Miles)

Thursday 1st August (10 Miles)

The 10 Mile event is on the M105 course and the 25 Mile event on the M254. Course descriptions and maps can be found at the links below.

Jon Bennett’s course video for M105 can be found here:


Jon Bennetts course video for M254 can be found below: