It’s the time of year to dust off your overshoes and put on your winter jacket as you head outside for the first reliability rides of the year. But what are reliability rides, why should you do them and what events are there in Yorkshire?
What is a reliability ride?
A reliability ride, or reliability trial as they used to be called, were originally founded in the early 1900s as a way to test the reliability of your safety bicycle. The roads were often just hard tracks and cyclists back then didn’t have the luxury of half the tech we take for granted now, like rubber tyres.
Nowadays, these rides are still there to prove or test your reliability, but of a different sort - your fitness. Whether you’ve spent all winter inside on the turbo or have neglected your bike, these rides offer a chance to get yourself back outside in the safety of a friendly club environment.
The routes are pre-set but unlike a sportive there are no signposts or arrows, you need to rely either on your map-reading skills or your GPS device. There is also a time limit you should aim to complete the route in, with the promise of snacks at the end although these aren’t races, they are a test of your form going into the spring.
What are the benefits of riding a reliability trial?
Often arranged by local clubs, these rides are informal and friendly making them a great place to get back into group riding if you’ve been out of it for a while. They are cheap to enter and offer you a chance to get to know the local clubs before buying a membership with them.
Riders often approach them in different ways. The ones who think it’s a race (it isn’t), the ones who are there to see their club mates, and the ones who are trying to gauge where their form is at.
Whether you ride 20mph or 15mph everyone is welcome, and they’re great incentives to get you out of bed early doors and out onto the road.
So what events are there in Yorkshire?
We’re pretty spoiled for choice in God’s Own Country, with two main series for you to choose from. First, there is the Ride to the Sun series. Largely based in West Yorkshire, there are five rides for you to complete, with each ride hosted by a club from Drighlington CC to 3RT. The events take place between 23rd January and 8th February so there’s still time to ride them all!
Secondly, there is the ‘Terrible Ten’ Yorkshire Reliability Ride Series. These take place between 16th January and 20th March across North and West Yorkshire, with clubs often giving two route choices for you to pick from depending on where your fitness is at. Take a look at their website for more information.