Mr Reliability: why no frills club trials are drawing the sportive set - Road Cycling UK

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Mr Reliability: why no frills club trials are drawing the sportive set

Looking for a mass participation ride before the cyclo-sportive season kicks off in earnest in March?

Look no further than your local club’s reliability trial, a staple of the club calendar for generations, and newly popular with the sportive crowd, eager for the camaraderie that comes from riding in a big group.

In essence, the same format as a sportive but minus the road signage, the emphasis on reliability trials is no-frills form building. There’s no element of competition, but that’s not to say there isn’t a competitive element. Most reliability trials offer a range of start times, allowing the slower groups to leave early, and finish at a similar time to the quick riders who leave later.

Justin Wallace has organized reliability trials since the 1970s and has seen the numbers turning out for his Suffolk Punch event grow steadily in recent years. The two-day events he organised in Lincolnshire more than 30 years ago have been replaced by one-day rides to accommodate a new and busier audience from the sportive world, he said.

“We have people coming in who are solicitors, surgeons, consultant at the hospital. They don’t wince at spending £5,000 or £6,000 on a carbon road bike, but they are cash rich and time poor. They don’t have time to train as perhaps other riders do,” he said.

This year’s Suffolk Punch will be held to raise funds in memory of the late Brian Phillips, who died while taking part in a team time trial last year. Phillips was a friend and regular training partner of British road race legend, Sean Yates, he added.

Mr Wallace said reliability trials had retained a purity and simplicity that was often absent from highly organised sportives.

“With a good sportive – and I’ve ridden several of them – people expect arrows on every turn, a back-up wagon, feeding stations, showers, and good parking. With a reliability trial, you’ll be given a sheet of paper, one or two arrows drawn on it marking junctions and dangerous points. For the rest of the time, you are on your own. I tell people the clue is in the title: reliability. There’s no mechanical back up, no ‘sag waggon’. I give out Mars Bars at the start, and at the end I keep a little bottle of whiskey for the tea, if required,” he said.

Here’s a selection of reliability rides coming up in the weeks ahead. Enjoy!

Discuss in the forum

Sunday January 22

VC Norwich Reliability Trial

Where
Horsford Church Room, Holt Road, Horsford, Norfolk. NR10 3DE

What
100km ride in three groups

When
8.30am, 9am, 9.30am

How
ian@iandoe.wanadoo.co.uk

Sunday January 29

Cycle Club Sudbury Reliability Ride

Where
Stevenson Centre, Great Cornard, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 0WD

What
Short ride – 43km
Long ride – 78km

When
9.10am (long route)
9.30am (short route)

How
01787 379605; £4 entry including refreshments
spindlenut@btinternet.com

Team Quest Reliability Trial

Where
Ickenham Guide Hut, Community Close, Ickenham, Middlesex, UB10 8RE

What
107km
74km

When
9am (long route)
9.30am (short route)

How
0208 427 5454
p.doel@hotmail.co.uk

February 5

Suffolk Punch Reliability Trial

Where
West Suffolk Wheelers HQ, Priory School, Mount Rd, Bury St Edmonds, IP23 7BH

What
Three circular routes
57km
95km
120km

When
9.30am (95km)
9.40am (57km)
9.40am (120km)

How

justinannwallace@btinternet.com

Rideout Wild Edric

Where
Sparc Centre, Brampton Road, Bishop’s Castle, Shropshire, SY9 5AY

What
85km

When
10am

How
kilotogo
contact@kilotogo.com

Harrogate Nova CC Reliability Trial

Where
Start: Rigton Railway Crossing, Harrogate, North Yorks
Finish: Norwood Village Hall

What
80km

When
9.30am

How
margaret.caswell@sky.com

On The Rivet Super Reliability Ride

Where
Cyprus Hall, Cyprus Road, Burgess Hill, West Sussex, RH15 8DX

What
72km
112km

When
8.30am (long route)
8.30am (short route)

How
srs events

Old Portlians CC 2012 Reliability trial

Where
Halstead Village Hall, Kent

What
60km
100km

When
9am

How
Pay on the day or visit Old Portlians Cycling Club

Bedfordshire RoadCC

Where
The Parish Room, Southill Road, Cardington, Bedford, MK44 3SX

What
59 miles – route map
44 miles – route map

When

9.45am (long route)
10am (short route)

How
paul_holmes78@hotmail.co.uk

February 12

Sydenham Wheelers CC Reliability Trial

Where
Knockholt Village Hall, Kent

When
9am

What
80km
110km

How
Pay on the day or visit Sydenham Wheelers

February 19

Bedfordshire Road CC

Where
The Parish Room, Southill Road, Cardington, Bedford, MK44 3SX

What
70 miles – route map
51 miles – route map

When
9.15am (long route)
9.30am (short route)

How
Email: paul_holmes78@hotmail.co.uk

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