How to get permission for a road race (UK)

I’ve been asked to organise a road race for the next BUC. Presumably I need to seek permission from “the authorities” in some form - anybody have any experience with this, or know who I should contact (police, British Cycling?)

I’ve posted on the CTC forum, but at the moment seem to be attracting mostly the predictable piss-taking :confused:


You could try asking these people:

or email a few bicycle race organisers and find out what they did. There are contact details in the events listsings on that site.

Warwick Racing is organised by a British Cycling affiliated club, and the unicycle race is tacked on to that.

I would call up British Cycling and ask them what you need to do to run it. It might also be worth talking to the local cycle club to where BUC is being held - as BC might be unhappy to let an unknown to them person with no club affiliation organise a race.

If you organise through BC, you have to pay them fees and rider levies - which means you’re likely to have to charge people extra for doing the race. But you get insurance cover for it, which might well be worth all the money.


One thing worth thinking about is does BUC have enough people willing to be marshals for a road race - I know when I’ve ridden local bike races, they had 1 every turn, plus several at start and finish - I think that was something like 10 people marshalling for an out and back course with basically 3 turns (in New Zealand - you can do 50km with only 2 junctions more easily out there).

The other thing worth considering is doing a time trial. They are much easier to organise. Personally I think time trials are pretty much as good as racing, if you start slow people first, you get the joy of overtaking lots of people. In practice, except for some bunches of people, in a mass start race everyone spreads out a lot, so after a while you don’t get much overtaking.

The short course criterium style racing like at Warwick is very fun too though, although I can’t see it working without paying for road closures, which might not be that cheap.


Yes, the local club idea is a good one… the CTC aren’t being very helpful, but I think there’s a Tavistock Wheelers or something… I’m not really involved in club cycling anymore, and haven’t really raced since the very early 1990s. Thinking about it though, the bloke in my LBS still does quite a bit of that sort of thing - he may well know the procedure.

I was a bit reluctant to contact BC until I knew it was the right thing to do, because I’ve always found them very anti-unicycles in the past, but I’ll give them a try.

One thing that came up on the CTC board is that cycle racing is now completely banned on bridleways, which rules out our first choice of route :frowning:


There is also an alternative organisation that does bike racing, but I can’t remember their name. Strathpuffer was insured by them. I can’t remember the name.


You mean, not every Joe can Marshall? :slight_smile:

Sorry, very silly but couldn’t resist.

Hi Rob,

I think BC is the answer. Things have moved on a lot in the last few years, and we now have a lot of evidence that unicycle racing is a “serious” proposition, and that unicycling is a sport, not just something that entertainers and clowns do. If you need any help talking to BC let me know, I think it’s time that they recognised unicycling as part of cycling, and this might be a good place to start.


Yep, BC are a bit useless as far as unicyclists go (although from comments from mountain bikers, and non-racing road bikers, I hear they’re pretty useless for anyone except competitive road or track cyclists).

But you have BC affiliated events as examples that unicyclists have successfully taken part in, Mountain Mayhem, Warwick Races, ?Sleepless?. Also several open road events - Manchester to Blackpool & London to Brighton rides.

With road racing, you need to apply for police permission. With a time trial, you only need to notify the police that you’re doing it, as long as you keep within the regulations so it doesn’t become a race (see here - the big one is riders off at 1 minute or longer intervals)

Aha, here are that alternative race organising group - supposed to be easier to organise than BC racing - be worth calling them and asking if they’d cover it as well as trying BC.


Thanks for that Joe - I’ll try them if I don’t get any luck with BC.

I have thought about running it as a time-trial because of the lesser permission needed, but I think people want it to be mass start, or at least start in groups if we end up with loads of entries.

I’ll try BC first anyway - hopefully their attitude has changed since a couple of years ago.

The marshalls are a good point, but it’s only a 10k race, so won’t have to have too many corners (in fact it may well be straight up a road, trun round and come back if I can find a safe turning point). When I was bike time-trialling we never used to have marshalls at all on the little local club races where we all knew the route, so I don’t think it’s a legal requirement.