Athletes FAQ

You have some questions about aquabike? Maybe you can find the right answer here…


What is aquabike?

When you google “aquabike” you find loads of pictures like this…

…or maybe something like that…
Is this aquabike?

Apparently all that is called aquabike as well. But this website is about swim & bike competitions. Or a triathlon minus the run, if you like. I found the perfect definition of what aquabike is on the event website of St Mary’s Standard Triathlon & Aquabike:

Don’t panic, this is not the biking underwater activity you see advertised at some swimming pools, we do not expect your bike to be submerged in water at any point, unless we get biblical rainfall!
This is strictly a swim first, bike second, let the others get on with that running nonsense while you celebrate type of event.


Are aquabike athletes too lazy to run?

Well, many aquabike athletes are former triathletes who suffer from injuries (mostly knee injuries) and therefore have quite limited running abilities. But in my personal case, the answer to the question above is probably yes 😉


Where is the finishline of an aquabike race?

Aquabike competitions are usually organized within a triathlon. There are several options where the finish of the aquabike race is. The choice is up to the organizer, depending mainly on the local circumstances of the event location.
a) Finish at T2 entry
A quite common case is, to have the entrance to T2 (=transition zone where triathletes change from bike to run) as finish line.
b) Finish at T2 exit
Some events have the aquabike-finish at the exit of T2, or shortly after. So to finish you have to enter T2, hang your bike and then run to T2 exit.
c) Finish at the triathlon finishline
In this setup you have to enter T2, hang your bike, exit T2 and run directly to the finish line without doing the whole run course. This certainly offers the best finishline experience for athletes and also for spectators. But it always depends on geographical location of T2 and finish line if this is possible.
d) Finishline on the road
Another possibility is to have the finishline on the road, preferably a few hundred meters before T2. So you finish the aquabike competition on the bike. This is rather rare though, because it requires an additional setup and therefore comes with additional costs and effort for the organizer. As of my knowledge this has only been used at international competitions (World and European Championships) so far and is probably not a really convenient setup for smaller events.

Every option has its pros and cons, for athletes as well as for organizers. » Check out our summary of all pros and cons of the different finishline locations


What are the rules for aquabike competitions?

Usually for aquabike the same rules apply as for a triathlon – you just finish earlier. Since 2016 the ITU (International Triathlon Union) also have some rules about aquabike in their competition rules (see ITU competition rules, page 97), but those seem a bit random. For example there are contradictions regarding the location of the finish line (“Aquabike consists of Swimming, Transition area 1, Cycling and Transition area 2” vs. “Athletes will finish the competition at the finish line located at the end of the bike course”). It also declares that an aquabike event has to be included in a triathlon event. That makes sense for organizers, but it´s hard to see, why this has to be regulated. There are also two distances in the regulation, although there are aquabike events for all sorts of distances out there. So when it comes to the details it´s really up to the organizer, but in general the most rules apply according to triathlon, most importantly the non drafting rules.


Do aquabike athletes start together with or seperated from triathletes?

That´s also up to the organizer´s choice. Since the aquabike race is usually identical with the triathlon, just without the running part at the end, at many events the aquabike athletes will start together with the triathletes. But especially in bigger events chances are good that aquabikers have their own starting wave, usually a few minutes seperated from the triathletes.


Do I have to wear running shoes on the run from T2 to the finishline?

If the finish of an aquabike race is located at the triathlon finishline, so that you have to run from the transition zone to the finish, you might wonder if it pays off to put on running shoes for this – depending on the event – usually pretty short run. There are indeed race organizers who make it mandatory to wear shoes on that run sections. If it´s a very short run, you can also leave on your bike shoes though. Some countries have regulations in their competition rules, that wearing shoes in the run leg of a triathlon is manadory (in the competition rules of the International Triathlon Federation Age Group athletes are excepted from this rule though). If this also applies to the run from T2 to the finishline in an aqaubike race is often not exactly clear. So if you plan to run that short section barefoot, better ask your race organizer beforehand, if this is allowed.


Can I run to the finishline with my bike helmet?

This is a similar issue like the question about running barefoot. Although running the run leg with the bike helmet is never allowed according to the competition rules of the International Triathlon Federation. But same thing here: if this also applies to this short run part from transition zone to finish line in an aquabike race is not quite clear. So better ask the race organizer if you plan to do so. However – the two seconds that it might take to put down the helmet usually shouldn´t be decisive about winning or losing a race. But at events that use bags in the transition zone, meaning you have to find your bag and than stow your helmet in there, it might be worth considering to save that bit of time.


What is the “Difficulty Level”?

We rate every event on our website by difficulty from 1 to 10. To learn more about how we calculate it, which factors we consider and what it really says about the difficulty of a race click here.


Where can I find an aquabike race in my region?

Well, you´re already on the right website for that ;-). At least when you´re located in Europe. If you live in the US, you might can find one here.
Outside the US and Europe there are currently some aquabike races in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Outside those regions you will probably barely find anything. If the number of events increases in other regions as well, I might consider to also list events of other regions here.


Where can I submit an aquabike race that is not yet listed?

Simply follow this link. I really appreciate every help I can get to find new events.