Kids Guide to Time Trial Cycle Racing

If you’ve been enjoying watching all the cycling so far from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, it’s time to learn all about the Time Trial.  This exciting bike race is all about the rider against the clock.

cycling Time Trial – a kids guide

What is it?

A Time Trial is a bicycle race where the riders each set off on their own, usually a minute apart, and they must race against the clock.

How do you win a time trial race?

The rider with the fastest time is declared the winner.  It gets very exciting as you wait to see who has ridden the fastest, especially if the slower riders set off first. 

Individual time trial guide

What are the rules of the Time Trial?

In the Individual Time Trial you can’t get help from another rider.

Overtaking is allowed if a competitor catches up with the rider in front, but riders must ride alone and not get a draft from another rider (drafting is tucking in behind the rider in front to make pedalling easier – this is allowed in the road race, but not in the Time Trial)

Did you know?

The Time Trial it is known as the ‘race of truth’ because there is nowhere to hide – it is just you, your bike, the road and the conditions!

Where do Time Trials take place?

Time Trials are often held on the open road, but they can also be track based events held in velodromes.

Most Time Trials are held over a fixed distance with courses being either ‘out and back’ or completion of a set number of circuits.

Kids guide to individual time trail

What bike is ridden during a Time Trial?

A Time Trial bike – more aerodynamic than a road bike and designed so the rider gets really low over the front of the bike. Their back is very flat – not very comfortable!

Time Trial Bikes come with a large range of gears, some very big, to allow high speeds to be reached


What to look out for in a Time Trial:

  • Aerodynamic helmets
  • The count down to a rider starting the race
  • Aero bars to help the rider get into the tuck position low down on the bike
  • Riders being overtaken

Individual time trial

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