Time trials

The South East has plenty of TT opportunities for riders with teardrop helmets, disc wheels and skinsuits. Cycling Time Trials (CTT) run hundreds of open events all across the country that you can enter if you want to race TTs at a high level. There are not many of us in the club in the very serious business of shaving seconds off our 25-mile PB,  so we set up a more laid-back event for club members only to test themselves against the clock. The Penge CC Time Trial series was born.

Club Time Trial series

Each year we organise a series of 3 Time Trials over the same rolling 9.3 mile circuit starting and finishing at Cudham recreation ground, starting at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning.

The ride is a 9.3 mile circuit starting and finishing in Cudham, and takes place three times a year; May, July and September. Riders of all abilities turn up to set a time, and if they can beat it later in the year they are eligible for the coveted ‘most-improved’ award.

This is closed event for members only, though we do welcome ‘2nd claim’ members to take part, even if they can’t take home the silverware.

Records and results from previous years

  • Men: James Howlin 23:56:00 (2018)
  • Men (2nd claim member): Matt Hammond 23:07:00 (2018)
  • Women: Victoria Randall 00:25:52:18 (2019)

A brutal test of rider v the clock?

Time trials are meant to be the supreme test of a rider’s ability to push him or herself against the clock. They are gruelling, unforgiving and brutal. Time trialists are people who like to get up at 3:30 a.m. and drive to a deserted, flat and soulless section of dual-carriageway. They are solitary creatures on weird-shaped bikes with skin-tight body suits and pointy helmets. That’s the stereotype anyway.

TT the Penge way

This is Penge CC and we tend to do things slightly differently. Of course, you push yourself, that’s the point – but we also make it into a social occasion. There’s lots of cheering and encouragement and, of course, cake. We’re proud that we have some of the slowest time triallists in the land. (We have some pretty quick ones too) For us, it’s more about challenging yourself and dipping your toe gently into the world of competitive cycling in a safe and forgiving environment.  

When do Penge CC TTs take place?

Usually, these are in May, July and September, with dates announced well in advance. Once the dates are announced, the events are set up on RiderHQ.

Fees & Insurance

The cost of entry is £5 in advance or on the day. You can still enter on the day if you are a member. This covers insurance and the levy to Cycling Time Trials to make this a sanctioned event. 

Your own British Cycling membership covers you for 3rd party insurance to the start and back but not during the TT (unless you have a BC gold or silver racing membership). Cycling Time Trials’ insurance covers all club members who are 1st claim members while they are riding the time trial. If you are 2nd claim members then you will need a BC gold or silver racing membership or your own cover.

On the day

The first rider will be launched at 9:00 a.m. Please plan to be at the recreation ground in Cudham half an hour before to sign on, pin your number on and get in the zone. Most people will meet at the shop (SE20 Cycles, Penge) and leave at 7:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. or you can make your own way there.

For under 16s, we would love to have you riding, but we do have to insist on you being accompanied all of the way round by an adult. The course does take us on a short stretch of the main A21 which can be busy even on Sunday morning.

There will be marshals in high-vis jacket on the left turns; please pay attention to them and ride safely.

The course

All time trials sanctioned by Cycling Time Trials use set courses referred to by the rules that can be found on the CTT website. The one we are using is known as the QS/30 (Q = South East region, S = non-standard distance, 30 = course number, if you must know) from the days when competitive cycling was a clandestine pastime not wanting to draw the attention of the authorities.

The start/finish is adjacent to the Cudham recreation ground car park, just south of the Bricklayers Arms. It’s a rolling course starting with an uphill section. Look out for potholes here. The course takes the first left turning towards Knockholt. Take care loose gravel on the corner. Follow the road through Knockholt and descend Rushmore Hill. Watch out for cars turning right into the garden centre. Take the first exit at the roundabout onto the A21. Left again at the next roundabout to start the climb back to the start/finish in Cudham. Take a look at the route map and profile below.

We’ve even made a video of the course with music to take you back a few decades.

New to Time Trialling? Here’s what to expect

You must wear a helmet to take part in our time trial. A flashing rear light is also recommended. We will provide safety pins to attach your number.

Please don’t drive if you can help it as parking will be limited. Groups will ride out to the start from SE20 Cycles and you’ll get the chance to have a warm up

Arrive at least 30 minutes before the event start time to sign on, collect your number and listen to the briefing. Fix your number to your shorts (not your jersey) as shown. It’s bright yellow to improve your visibility to motorists.

  • Riders will set off at one-minute intervals. 
  • Each rider will be allocated a start time at sign on. If you miss your start time you will have to start after the last rider, yet your time will still commence at your allocated start time.
  • The starter will call you to the start line 30 seconds before your start time. The starter will hold your bike, if you wish, to allow you to clip in. 
  • The time keeper will give you a 5 second count down to the start. The starter will warn you if any traffic is approaching and off you go.
  • When riding the event keep your head up to watch for oncoming traffic. Remember you are on open roads and must obey the Highway Code. Don’t take risks. 
  • Pass horses as you would on any other ride; call out to warn of your presence and overtake with plenty of room when it is safe to do so. 
  • Pay particular attention to approaching traffic at junctions. It’s a club time trial, not the World Championships. 
  • Ride responsibly and remember you are representing the club and our sponsors.
  • When overtaking other cyclists or the competitor in front call out to let them know you are passing. 
  • If you are caught allow the faster rider to pass you. Time trialling is an individual effort and pacing/drafting is not permitted.
  • At the end keep on riding through the finish area so as not to obstruct riders behind. 
  • Ride back to the start/finish area and hand in your number. 
  • Your time will be posted after the last rider has finished. 
  • Groups will ride back to Penge for a well-deserved coffee and cake stop at Winnie’s in SE20 Cycles.

Further information

We would love it if the experience encourages you to go on and wear the Penge colours in other time trials. Penge CC is affiliated to Cycling Time Trials, the governing body for time trials in the UK, entitling you to enter any open time trial organised by another club.

Take a look at these websites for more advice on time trialling:

Email pengecc@gmail.com with any queries.