What is a 'Standard Ride'?

Alan Clough of Cottingam Road Club has ridden at least three of our events. A link to a ride report for his most recent ride will follow at the end of this post, but reading it has prompted me to write a few words about what potential participants might expect. For those not familiar with them, and the 'etiquette' – for want of a better word – of these events, it may be worth your while to read on…

When in 2014 I set about planning an event for September I initially termed it a 'Challenge Ride'. My little joke at the time was that the challenge was to pass by without stopping at the numerous fine eateries – including East Yorkshire's Michelin-starred gastropub – that punctuated the route. But then I changed it to Standard Ride. Then back to Challenge Ride for 2015. And 2016. I think it is fair to say that each of the three routes presents a genuine challenge – greater, even, than knowing what to call the thing. Anyhow, 'Challenge Ride' seemed a more appropriate term after we ditched the idea of making the event a sportive. You see we just didn't fancy all the organising of route marking, feed stations, mechanical support, photographers, timing and what have you. It quickly got all complicated – and not at all fun. So Standard Ride it became. For that year at least. So what is a 'Standard Ride'?

A Standard Ride – sometimes referred to as a Reliability Trial – requires the rider to meet a 'standard', ie to be able to get around a given course in a set time, typically by following a route sheet. Standard Rides are not races, in fact a rider is supposed to be disqualified for completing a course – or even part of a course – at too fast a speed. But they are also not club runs either. Club runs are our regular planned rides. Split in to two – sometimes three – groups, club runs are day rides that – during the longer days – typically have a morning café stop as well as a lunch stop at the destination. (And some have an afternoon stop, too, giving rise to the suggestion that CTC stands for 'Café to Cafe'. It stands for Cyclists' Touring Club, in case you didn't know.)


Some of us did our first standard ride before the days of GPS units and Strava (and when there were only three television channel to choose from. Somehow, we coped…)

Think of these events as a sort of orienteering exercise by bicycle. Although you may ride in the middle of a bunch of cyclists and never need to check a turn or change of direction, you should ideally be able to find your way around the route. All of our events will have printable route sheets and Garmin Connect/.gpx tracks to download for those with GPS devices. (Some of us old fogeys still carry paper maps – it is arguably never a good idea to rely entirely on technology to get around the course.)

Some within our East Yorkshire CTC family were wary of promoting our events with 'Gold', 'Silver' and so on finishing times. So that idea was ditched, too. But there are riders who do like to go around at a fair lick. And they are perfectly free not to hang around for others they perhaps have never met before – and might never meet again. I have to say that is how I like it. You know where you stand.

So, the Spring and Summer Standard Rides, the GHS Ride and the September Challenge Rides are not competitive events. We do publish the times – historically, I suppose, to show that riders did meet the 'standard' of completing within the lower and upper parameters – but that's about it as far the similarity to, say, a sportive extends.

Related posts

You might want to read about the events ridden by East Yorkshire CTC members. Here is a sprinkling, all of which involve accounts of getting 'dropped':

Spring Standard Ride 70 in 6 (2011)

Francis's first – so far only – 200km Audax ride

GHS Ride 102 mile route (2011)

Alan Clough and his preparations for Ride London

As mentioned at the top of this post, Alan Clough has ridden a few of our events. His entertaining tongue-in-cheek ride report from our Spring Standard Ride 2016 should be read with the knowledge that he set out with the 'fast lads – and lass' 🙂

Alan rode with us last year in preparation for the 2015 Ride London 100 Mile Sportive. Despite that experience (read his withering evaluation of Box Hill) he is going to do it all again in 2016. This year he will be carefully weaving past over-geared cyclists and those with little or no experience of group riding for the benefit of the British Red Cross. Please consider donating to Alan's worth cause.

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