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The Benchmark Loop

The next Benchmark Loop ride is: Sunday 5th October

The TVCC Benchmark Loop is a 20-mile loop out and back through the nearby countryside on quiet lanes and roads.

It is *not* a race. It is a way to test yourself, to see how you are improving your fitness and technique over time.

We hold the Benchmark Loop on the first Sunday of every even-numbered month, followed by Cake somewhere nearby with a gentle hour or so's warm-down ride about the valley.

The format of the morning is that starting at 8am from the Town Hall, riders set off down Winchester St toward Tufton. The Benchmark Loop Strava segment actually starts at The Weir, just past Burnaby Stores where the 20MPH zone changes to 30. Ride the loop as fast as you can, obeying all traffic rules and giving way to other road users as appropriate. Take care through Longparish and St Mary Bourne, where the roads are narrow with parked cars, pedestrians and other cyclists. Save the hard efforts for the countryside bits.

The loop finishes just after the A34 underpass on Bell Street, where the Whitchurch gateway signs are and the 30MPH zone starts. So there's no need to risk going fast through the middle of town.

Your start time is estimated or based on your last result, with the slowest starting first and the fastest starting last. Ideally everyone will finish about together, encouraging others.

Do this first:

Create yourself a free account on Strava

Join up to TVCC as a club on Strava - visit http://www.strava.com/clubs/test-valley-cc and join in.

Download the Strava app to your smartphone (yes, you need a smartphone)

Or you can time yourself using a stopwatch or bike computer, but Strava is more fun and gives you a much better idea of where you are improving, where you need to work on - hills, flats etc. You may wish to use a stopwatch as well as Strava, in case your phone crashes etc. This is fine.

Once you are set up, go for a ride on the loop to familiarise yourself with it. 

Before the day: 

Please email testvalleycycling@gmail.com with your expected time over the 20 miles. This will allow us to write up the start list beforehand, making on the day easier to organise. If you aren't sure, why not get out there and try a fast lap yourself to find out?

On the day:

Turn up at 0755 at the Town Hall, bike all checked and ready, and phone charged up. The organiser will call up the starters according to the list, if for whatever reason you didn't register let them know. Riders will start their Strava recording, then head off from the Town Hall at their allocated time, again taking care to obey all traffic rules.

If the handicap times are correct, you will all finish back at the Town Hall at the same time. Remember to stop Strava.

Remembering: if you are using a stopwatch or bike computer, remember to start it at The Weir 20->30MPH signs and stop it at the Whitchurch Gateway signs on Bell st. If you used a stopwatch, tell the organiser what your time was before you go.

Once we have established times, there will be a 'prize' for most improved man and woman each time. The 'prize' is most likely to be the recognition of your peers and a place in the annals of TVCC history.

Noting that after the ride you will not know who has gained the most time on their previous efforts, as phones and Garmins need to be uploaded to Strava first. So 'results' as they are won't come out till later in the day. If we work out an easy way to compare on the day, we'll do it. But as always, Cake comes first.

Hope to see you out there.


This is important. Obey all road rules. Respect other people on the roads - be they in cars, on foot, or on horseback. You have a legal right to cycle quickly on the public highway, but you also have an obligation to follow the Highway Code as well as be a good ambassador for the TVCC and cycling in general. We want everyone back in one piece, and it's really hard to enjoy Cake with broken bones.

Particularly at intersections such as Tufton or Dirty Corner, extra care is needed. You should slow down to walking pace to check the way is clear.


1. Q: Can I wear an aero suit/helmet? 

    A: No. you wouldn't be allowed into the café, thus defeating the purpose of the morning.

2. Q: Do I have to eat Cake afterwards?

    A: Yes. See 1. A.