Frequently Asked Questions

What memberships and licences do I need to race?

What do I need to start racing?

If you plan on road, track or time trial racing you will need to consider membership and a racing licence from British Cycling (BC), the UK’s governing body for cycle sport.  A Provisional Racing Licence is awarded automatically with all Bronze, Silver and Gold memberships. A Full Race Licence may be bought as an addition to Silver or Gold Membership.  Provisional licences are sufficient to gain you entry to all but national events, but an additional Day Licence fee will be payable on the day. If you plan to race regularly, a full race licence is most cost effective. Further details at:

NOTE: A racing licence is not required to ride the clubs confined TT series, but riders are asked to consider taking silver or gold BC membership for the insurance benefits provided.

What races can I enter?

A full calendar of all types of races with details required to enter them is available on the BC website:

Time trials and track events are open to everyone, but most road races are restricted to riders of certain categories.  An explanation of categories can also be found on the BC website.

How do I enter a race?

Where online entry is not available, races must be entered by filling in a race entry form (for Scottish events). This must be submitted before the closing date for each event.  Send in your entry with a cheque and a stamped addressed envelope to the event organiser.  You will receive a start sheet prior to the event either by post or more frequently via email.

NOTE: The BC/SC registered name for the club is Edinburgh RC and should be used on all race entries and membership applications.

What are the Saturday road rides like?

The 09:45 development ride is the only Edinburgh RC organised ride, with a designated run leader. Other Saturday rides are self organised by local cyclists and are open to anyone.

Edinburgh RC recommends that riders limit themselves to a maximum group size of 14. Larger groups should split – this allows for a more consistent training effort and safer riding.

Runs start from Royal Commonwealth Pool, Dalkeith Road, EH16 5BB. There are four groups as follows :

  • 09:30 – the fastest group – for those who are training to race
  • 09:40 – for experienced club riders
  • 09:45 – for experienced club riders, but at a more sociable pace
  • 09:45 – Development ride – for new members and newcomers to group riding
    Learn more about the Development Ride

If you get dropped don’t worry – there should be a slower run coming along behind. If the ride you choose is too slow please don’t disrupt the pace, move up a group next week

Always ride safely and obey the Highway Code

Please read the information below about how to prepare for a club ride.

09:30 – open to all comers and popular with riders from many clubs.  This is for riders who are training to race.  This ride often averages in excess of 22mph and the route can vary, though often heads down the coast or via Gifford.

09:40 – the most popular run, aimed at experienced club riders.  This group follows a standard route along the coast and takes the form of a chaingang. The group will split at Dalkeith into self organised smaller groups of 12-14.  Average speed during the chaingang is typically 20-22mph.

09:45 – similar to the 9:40 group but at a slightly slower pace.  There is often also a hilly group which forms at Dalkeith and takes an alternative route at a relaxed pace.

09:45 Development Ride – this is the run for riders new to ERC and those who are thinking about joining. An experienced club member will lead the ride and you will practice group riding techniques often including a “through and off” chaingang.  You will also learn local calls and signals.  The route will vary each week and is a great opportunity to explore new roads and lanes.  Note that if the weather forecast looks particularly bad (risk of snow, ice or high winds) then the ride may not take place. Check the ERC Facebook page for more information.

Afterwards, riders from all groups meet up in various cafes around Marchmont and Bruntsfield.  Please join us for a chat and some cake!

While the ride is not for complete novices, all are welcome and no-one will be left behind.  However, you should expect to ride for 2.5 to 3 hours at between 14 and 16mph, and be prepared to ride in close formation.  If you are unsure whether the ride is for you, there are several other groups which organise rides around Edinburgh, such as CTC Lothians and Borders

How should I prepare for a club road ride?

Riding in a group has many advantages but it also places certain responsibilities on each rider. Punctures, mechanicals etc, whilst often bad luck, can be less of a trial if certain precautions are taken before the run.

Make sure your bike is safe – check brakes, wheels, rims and steering.

Also ensure that nothing is loose (especially mudguards) or liable to fall off. A lubricated chain etc is also a good idea.

Check your tyres – worn tyres are the single biggest preventable cause of punctures. Multiple punctures, apart from being a pain, won’t endear you to other riders waiting for you on a cold day !

Make sure you know how to fix a puncture – practice beforehand if you need to.

Equipment Required

You are likely to need the following equipment:

  • An appropriately serviced bike
  • At least one, but preferably two, spare inner tubes.
  • A working pump
  • Puncture repair kit – for those awful days when two tubes aren’t enough.
  • Tyre levers – 2/3
  • A multi tool – to adjust gears etc
  • Other optional tools eg chain breaker
  • Even in winter hydration is important so each rider should carry a water bottle.
  • Personal first aid – plasters, antiseptic wipes etc
  • Money – for the cafe stop
  • Waterproof
  • Carbohydrate drink
  • Solid carbohydrate source eg banana, raisins, jelly babies. Although groups sometimes have a cafe stop it’s a good idea to carry some spare food eg energy bars, bananas etc

Please ride safely and predictably, with consideration for your fellow riders, and above all within the rules of the road.

Individuals take part in any group rides at their own risk. Edinburgh RC and its club members accept no responsibility for the safety of anyone participating in group rides, and no liability in the event of an accident.

Riding in a Chain Gang

A Chain Gang is an efficient way to share time at the front. As its name suggests it is a dynamic chain of riders made up of a faster and a slower line. Depending on the wind direction the chain goes in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction to give shelter to the faster line.
Since a chaingang is made up of a faster and a slower line, you will change speed as you move from one to the other – you slow down as you change lines at the front and speed up as you change at the back. With this in mind, some Do’s and Don’ts about riding in a chain gang :

  • Do ease off at the front when you change from the faster to the slower line – take the pressure off the pedals slightly, but don’t brake.
  • Do avoid leaving a gap as you move across – a gap forces the rider behind to accelerate to regain your wheel – not appreciated !
  • Do let riders nearby know if you are unable to go through and intend to sit at the back of the group to recover.
  • Do warn riders if you intend to rejoin the chain after sitting in.
  • Do stay alert, not just for the usual safety reasons, but to ensure that gaps don’t occur.
  • Don’t switch lines unnecessarily.
  • Don’t speed up when you reach the front.
  • Don’t ride erratically, keep it steady -remember the only time you should be accelerating is when you change lines at the back. Failure to observe this simple fact is the main reason why many chaingangs fall apart.

Continental Change – is a more sociable form of the chaingang where, instead of moving straight through from the faster line to the slower line, a rider will spend a few minutes at the front. The continental change is standard on the ERC Sunday club runs as it is the safest method of changing at the front.

Individuals take part in any group rides at their own risk. Edinburgh RC and its club members accept no responsibility for the safety of anyone participating in group rides, and no liability in the event of an accident.

What is the Sunday road ride like?

The ERC Sunday run leaves from the Charwood Restaurant, 47 Buckstone Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 6QJ

You can find the location here:

The start time is the time the run leaves – so please aim to arrive at least 5 minutes ahead of that time.

The Sunday run normally averages around 17 mph and is aimed at riders training to race or reasonably fit recreational cyclists.  Riders are assumed to be self supporting and, while the group might have a café stop, this is not guaranteed, and riders should carry adequate food and drink.  The group will always stop for punctures etc, and will aim to accommodate a reasonable range of abilities, but those significantly slower than the general pace of the group should be prepared to navigate their own way home.

Routes vary from week to week, going East, South, or West, and usually sticking mostly to more minor roads.  Distance varies according to season and weather, but is typically 50 – 70 miles, although shorter options are usually available.

Preparation and Equipment

To ensure that you are ready for the Sunday ride and have the best possible experience, please read the information about preparation and equipment on our Saturday Rides page.

How should I prepare for a mountain bike ride?

Be prepared! It’s often true that people carry more emergency gear for their bikes than for themselves. As a minimum:

  • Helmet (essential). There’s probably more regular riders in the offroad section who have landed on their heid at some point than haven’t (which explains a lot to be fair). It just makes so much sense.
  • Water. Rucksack hydration packs (e.g. Camelbaks) are increasingly popular and give space to carry other bits and bobs, otherwise use frame-mounted water bottles.
  • Food. Depending on the ride, anything from a few cereal bars and jelly babies to sandwiches and enough food for a whole day. It’s unusual to have a café stop on offroad rides so carry sufficient food for the ride and a bit extra “just in case”.
  • Personal first aid – plasters, antiseptic wipes etc.
  • Spare clothing. As a minimum a warm layer and waterproof, and more for rides into remote areas and winter rides, e.g. leggings, fleece, spare gloves, armwarmers and legwarmers. Again tailor your extra kit to the ride you’re undertaking. If in doubt, ask the ride organiser what they think you’ll need.

The club rides are best tackled on a reasonable quality mountain bike with knobbly tyres and a wide range of gears. It’s far from essential to spend a fortune but front suspension and decent brakes will be a definite advantage on most rides.
While punctures and mechanicals can happen to everyone, a bit of preparation and TLC to the bike will go a long way to minimising them, so:

  • make sure your bike is safe – check wheels, rims, steering and suspension are working properly and ensure that nothing is loose or liable to fall off.
  • Keep your drivetrain clean and well lubed. This will help the gears work properly and make everything last that little bit longer.
  • Check your tyres and their pressures. Tyres that are too hard or badly worn won’t grip well while and those that are too soft or cut/ damaged will puncture easily. Make sure you know how to fix a puncture and have the kit to do so – pump, patches, tyre levers and at least one (but preferably two) inner tubes.
  • Check brake pads regularly and consider carrying spares, especially for V-brakes. In extreme conditions even disc pads can wear out in a very short period of time.
  • Crudcatcher-style mudguards that mount to the seatpost and downtube to keep the worst of the mud off without clogging.
  • Carry a multitool with a chain splitter and any spares you may need, such as brake pads, rear mech hanger, powerlinks and so on.

Individuals take part in any group rides at their own risk. Edinburgh RC and its club members accept no responsibility for the safety of anyone participating in group rides, and no liability in the event of an accident.

BCF Road and Circuit Licence Points and Category Progression

Understanding the licence system

How are road points awarded?

BCF Road and Circuit Races Points Structure
List ‘A’ – For events up to 50 kms and womens up to 25 kms – first 6 places
List ‘B’ – For events from 51 – 100 kms, and womens 26-50 kms – first 10 places
List ‘C’ – For events from 101-130 kms, and womens 51-65 kms – first 15 places
List ‘D’ – For events of 131 kms and above, and Womens Over 65km – first 20 places
List ‘E’ – For the final of any open senior/junior scratch race, including the overall result of any Omnium Competition
National Road and Track events the points will be trebled (except those that are restricted to masters)
Premier Calendar and other national RR races the points will be doubled (except those that are rest to masters only)
Youth events-Points are awarded to the first 3 riders, with points starting with 3 down to 1

How do I qualify for an upgrade on my racing licence?

Fourth cat riders are any new senior members, and those who have failed to scored 6 points in one season.
To qualify for a third cat you need to have obtained more than 6 points in any one season as a fourth cat. (Members are no longer downgraded to a 4th cat if no points are attained in a season)
To qualify for second cat you need to have obtained 40 points during any season as a third cat. To retain a second cat you need to obtain at least 20 points in events open to that category.
To qualify for a first cat you need to have obtained at least 100 points in any one season as a second cat or to juniors who have received dispensation from the executive board to compete with senior riders. To retain a first cat you need to obtain at least 40 points in events open to that category.
To qualify for elite category you need to satisfy one of the following criteria

  • be a registered member of a U.C.I registered trade team class II or I
  • be listed in the top 75 riders in the Premier Calendar ranking at 31st of December of the previous year.
  • have gained 200 points during the previous season whilst holding an elite or 1st category licence.
  • at the 31st of the previous year was listed in the top 10 riders in the senior men’s National Mountain Biking Ranking System.

Exceptionally and at the discretion of the executive board, to any rider who, although not meeting the above criteria, by virtue of his performance in national or international competition is considered to meet the required standard for an elite licence holder.