BHPC aims to foster the development of Human-Powered Vehicles, free from the constraints of arbitrary technical specifications. Therefore we have very few rules governing the construction of race machines. There are a few rules, however, regarding safety. The Competition Secretary has the last word on all of these; if in doubt, please ask.

  1. Helmets
    All riders must wear (on your head) a helmet approved by a recognised national standards authority (e.g. Snell, ANSI, TUV, etc.) The sole exception to this rule in in the case of a faired machine where the rider's head is enclosed, in which case any helmet designed to protect the head (such as a leather "hairnet" type helmet) may be used.

  2. Brakes
    You must have an effective means of slowing down, appropriate to the event. For a velodrome no brakes are required IF and only if a fixed-wheel is used. For closed, road circuits at least one effective brake is required. For any events on public roads, legal requirements apply, i.e. two independent braking systems must be fitted. The race committee has the last word on this sort of thing, so if in doubt, ask.

  3. Guards
    In accordance with the need to remove all forward pointing "sharp" bits, the chainring must be covered by either a fixed shield or by a strong rotating chainguard (including those with a single chainring). A lightweight chainguard for protecting the rider's trousers from the chain will probably not be sufficient. Any homemade guarding must be free from sharp edges. Competitors who fail to do this will be warned; a second warning will mean you will not be permitted to compete. If you are unsure - ASK! Looking for ideas? Check out the chainguard photo gallery. If your machine has any other projections that may be dangerous to other riders or yourself (open-ended tubes - think apple-corer - are one of the more commonly seen dangerous design "features") you may be asked to remedy it before being allowed to race. Again, if unsure, ask.

    It is strongly recommended that those riding bikes without the benefit of a hard-shell fairing use elbow guards, and that everyone has a rear-view mirror.

  4. Number boards
    You must display legible race numbers on the front and both sides of your machine, at least A5 sized. Failure to show numbers may result in failure for your result to be registered.

  5. Starting, Stopping And Signalling
    For events run on the public highway, such as time-trials, riders must be able to enter, start, stop, and exit their machines without assistance. They must also be able to give clear signals. This isn't our rule, it's Her Majesty's Government's. [Currently no BHPC races are on public roads.]

All riders are included in an overall class which is known as

  • Open

Some riders also participate in separate, non-exclusive, classes:

  • Women (formerly 'Ladies')
  • Juniors (riders aged over 10, and who were 16 or under on 1st January of that year)
  • Arm-powered (hand-cyclists)

Each of these four rider classes can, potentially, be divided into subclasses according to machine construction. Whether a particular machine-based subclass is recognised depends on whether there are sufficient participants to sustain it. Currently the Open class is divided into five machine-based classes:

  • Open
  • Part-faired
  • Unfaired
  • Faired Multitrack
  • Multitrack

(The only other rider class to have machine-based subclasses are Women, with Women's Open and Women's Part-faired classes.)

The five machine-based classes are listed below with examples. The classes are defined to be exclusive, i.e. a machine has only one principal class, but some classes automatically include other classes for the purposes of race points. These are listed in the right-hand column (e.g. all 'Unfaired' machines also gain points in 'Part-faired' class). The purpose of this is to encourage mid-season development and enhancement: a machine may be upgraded by, for example, adding a fairing without losing points already gained on the unimproved machine.


ExamplesAlso in...

Full fairings are allowed. If it's human powered and conforms to the safety rules, it's in. All entries in the subclasses below also qualify for Open.


A front fairing OR rear fairing is allowed. From the side the view of the rider's torso, head and upper leg must be uninterrupted by aerodynamic additions, though the tail fairing may protrude forward to the mid point of the rider's torso


No fairings are allowed (wheel discs are permitted).

Faired Multitrack
A machine with three or more wheels in two or more tracks and a full fairing. The wheels must be structural, a bicycle with lifting or flexible 'stabilisers' is not considered Multitrack.
As 'Faired Multitrack' but with no or partial fairings.
Faired Multitrack,


Further classes serve to provide an entry-level competition for riders who do not (yet) possess an out-and-out racing machine, to promote the development of road-going machines with fairings, and to encourage riders who don't drive to races. These classes do not have strict technical specifications. Eligibility will be determined principally by the competitors or, if arbitration is required by the Competition Secretary

This class is for all bicycles suitable for use on the open road. Front and tail fairings are allowed (side fairings and "bags" are not considered suitable for road use and are disallowed). Examples: Kingcycle with nosecone, Challenge Mistral with Zzipper fairing, Geoff Bird T7. Sports-class bikes are also eligible for Street.

This class is for unfaired bicycles that are suitable for use on the open road. Tail boxes are permitted, if they are practical luggage-carriers. Typical examples include: Kingcycle (without nose cone), Challenge Hurricane, Challenge Mistral, Burrows Ratcatcher, conventional upright bicycles.


For riders of any machine who have travelled to the race without using a private motor vehicle.  Multi-modal journeys incorporating public transport (eg. bus or rail) are allowed.  This is intended to recognise that cycles suitable for riding (or otherwise transporting by human power) to events are often at a competitive disadvantage in order to be road safe and legal, have some luggage-carrying capability, or fit in the cycle space on a train.  Additionally, riders who drive to events are likely to have less fatigue at the start of the race than those who have cycled.

Therefore the full list of classes is currently:

  • Open
  • Part-faired
  • Unfaired
  • Multitrack
  • Sports
  • Street
  • Carfree
  • Women
  • Women Part-faired
  • Arm-powered
  • Junior


As everyone knows, Points mean Prizes. In the case of BHPC this translates to the presentation of various trophies at the AGM at the end of the season. Each racing Class has it's own trophy (with a few exceptions), awarded to the rider with the greatest number of points in that Class at the end of the season. To avoid giving those more able to travel an unfair advantage, only points from a certain number of races are counted (usually the best 8 out of 12). As noted above most machines, except for fully-faired two-wheelers, fall into several Classes so...

How does this work?
After a race event each rider is given a position in each Class they are eligible for. So, for example, a woman riding a part-faired lowracer would be eligible for three classes: Part-Faired (P), Women Part-Faired (WP) and Open (O), which includes everyone. Say she finishes 9th overall (O), 3rd among Part-Faired bikes and 1st among Women Part-Faired, she would gain points in all three classes according to these positions:

  • 430 points for 9th place in O Class
  • 810 points for 3rd in P
  • 1000 points for 1st in WP

Ah but....

How are these points calculated?
The points awarded to each position are calculated according to an obscure formula which is revised from time to time. Currently 1st place gets 1000 points, then the points decrease by 10% for each position below 1st, rounded to the nearest whole point. This gives the following allocation for the first 20 places:

Position Points
1 1000
2 900
3 810
4 729
5 656
6 590
7 531
8 478
9 430
10 387
11 349
12 314
13 282
14 254
15 229
16 206
17 185
18 167
19 150
20 135

What if there is more than one race at an event?
Most events have more than one 'round', as we call them, for example Round 1 may be a 1-lap time trial and Round 2 a 45-minute race. Each round is treated separately for points purposes, as above, then the rounds are combined to give an overall result for the event. The overall maximum points for an event is always 1000, regardless of the number of rounds. Typically the rounds are 'weighted' to account for differences in difficulty. For example the time-trial may contribute 20% of the total and the longer race 80%. As a worked example, take the case of someone who comes 3rd in Unfaired class (U) in the time-trial and 5th in the race:

Round 1
20% 3rd 810 20% of 810 = 162
Round 2
(45-min race)
80% 5th 656 80% of 656 = 525
Overall       162+525 = 687

Hence this rider would gain 687 points in Unfaired class out of a possible 1000.

What if I change my bike between races?
You can only ride in one class or set of classes per event - this is a limitation of the software we use to score races. If you change bikes mid-event then you only score points in those classes which are common to both machines. For example, say you ride in Round 1 on an unfaired trike (O/P/U/Mf/M classes) then switch in Round 2 to a part-faired two-wheeler (O/P) you will only score points in O and P classes and not in U, Mf and M. This rule occasionally appears unfair when a rider's 'main' bike is accidentally damaged after one race and they borrow another machine, not in the same classes, for the second. However it is intended to prevent an advantage being gained by registering and racing with one machine then 'upgrading' for the second race but still scoring points in the original bike's classes.

Juniors do not pay race fees.

Juniors are riders over the age of 10 and under the age of 16 when membership starts (either their own or their Adult's - see below).

There are two Junior categories:

  • Paid: Must be accompanied to races by a responsible adult (who doesn't have to be a member). Receives own magazine sent to the Junior's address. The Junior's name appears in race results
  • Free: Must be accompanied to races by an Adult member from the same household. Receives no magazine as they share the magazine sent to the BHPC Adult member. Not identified in race results, instead using the Adult surname and Jnr e.g. 'Smith Jnr'