What is a Reliability Ride?
In the U.K., a reliability ride is known as a test of a cyclist’s reliability and that of their bike coming out of the winter period.
The emphasis is on fitness, self-reliance and navigational skills, although they are also used by competitive cyclists for training ahead of the racing season.
They are great way to get in some early season miles and work on your base endurance.
The route is not signposted but a basic route map or description may be provided (along with a GPS file these days). There are no feedstations, timing chips or souvenir t-shirts etc, although refreshments are available following the ride.
The ride is not a race. Like a normal cycling club ride, it takes place on open roads and without marshals etc. It is imperative that participants ride responsibly and in accordance with the Highway Code.
Reliability Trials are, like Audax events, not races, but rather long distance rides which emphasise fitness, self reliance and navigational skills - the difference being that Reliability Trials normally stipulate the completion of a given route (e.g. 100 miles) within a given time limit (e.g. 8 hours), whereas Audax is all about completing a route as close as possible to a set average speed.
Reliability Trials are most often run by Cycling Clubs and usually take place in the winter period, often used by regular racers and club riders to maintain winter fitness. Riders taking part in a Reliability Trial will be issued with a route card, detailing the course of the event, which usually needs to be signed or stamped at various control points throughout the route (some of which coincide with the refreshment stop).
The growth of Audax and Sportive events has overshadowed the Reliability Trial. However, trials tend to be smaller, friendly and less expensive to enter. Reliability Trials (like audaxs) also tend to be organised by not-for-profit cycling clubs rather than professional event organisers, and are therefore a great way to engage with your local club and find out more about club cycling.
Yorkshire Reliability Ride Series
The Yorkshire Reliability Rides are a long-established highlight to the counties cycling calendar. Originally set up as Ron’s Reliable Five, the series has expanded to eight events.
U.K. Reliability Ride Calendar
You can find a whole host of reliability rides on our 2017 U.K. Gran Fondo and Sportive Calendar.