Massed start (bunch races) are organised throughout the year although principally events are held between March and September. There are events for anyone who is interested in taking part no matter what age or ability organised in England under British Cycling regulations.
Under 16 year olds are restricted to racing on closed roads which are not open to other members of the public to use during the event. In the South West this often means racing on Airfields or Go Cart racing circuits although public roads can be used when road closures are in place.
If you are not sure what event you can enter/would be appropriate the British Cycling on-line calender is useful.
Categories of Rider
Youth E under 8 until 31st December of year 8th birthday falls
Youth D under 10 until 31st December of year 10th birthday falls
Youth C under 12 until 31st December of year 12th birthday falls
Youth B under 14 until 31st December of year 14th birthday falls
Youth A under 16 until 31st December of year 16th birthday falls
Junior from the 1st of January in the year which 17th birthday falls to 31st of December in the year which 18th birthday falls
Gear Restrictons for the Categories Above
Before signing on to race bikes used will also have to comply with gear restrictions which vary according to the age of the participant which protect younngsters from injury and aim to ensure good pedalling technique. Details of Gear Restrictions can be found here on this file from the BC website
Under 23 from the 1st of January in the year which 19th birthday falls to 31st of December in the year which 22nd birthday falls
Seniors there are also a number of different categories for Masters over 30's and Vets over 40 but you can find this out for yourself!
For Junior and Senior riders there are also ability rankings which depend on previous performances. All riders begin as 4th Category riders (unless they have performed especially well as a Youth) and depending on racing results can move up to 3rd, 2nd, 1st Elite level depending on results.
Category of Event for Juniors and Seniors
Regional C 4th Cat only or event for All Cats Handicap (no licence points awarded)
Regional C+ 4th Cat only or event for All Cats Handicap
Regional B 3rd & 4th Males and all Females
Regional A 2nd, 3rd & 4th Males and all Females
National B Elite, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Senior Males, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Final Year Junior Males, Elite, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Senior Females
National A Elite, 1st, 2nd Senior Males and 1st & 2nd Junior Males
Organisers may also specify extra restrictions to who can ride and for younger riders it may also be possible to ride up with older more experienced riders with Head Quarters dispensation and Commisaire approval.