Cyclo-Cross is one of the easiest branches of cycle sport to get involved in. It's also one of the most enjoyable. Read on, as you will find out more about this fantastic sport. And don't forget to visit our Get into Cyclo-Crosspage, including a Video introduction to the sport.
Cyclo-Cross (often abbreviated to 'Cross) is generally an autumn and winter sport. Massed starts make for exciting races, usually no more than an hour in length - and shorter for juniors, women and veterans. There are usually free-to-enter races for younger riders. Some organisers are now starting to run summer series, which are proving very popular.
Lapping it Up!
Cyclo-Cross races are usually multi lap events, held on short (typically less than a mile and often less than half a mile), grassy courses, generally in public parks or on school playing fields. Less technically demanding than Mountain Biking, Cyclo-Cross often requires riders to dismount to clear artificial obstacles - often wooden boards. The ability to swap smoothly and quickly from riding to running and back to riding in one fluid motion is a key skill for advanced riders.
The short lap lengths mean that better riders often lap some of the slower competitors, but that's not the end of the race - you can still submerge yourself in the action, enjoy your own private battles and forget whether you are first or a hundred and first - that's the beauty of the sport: it's what you make of it that counts.
Cyclo-Cross machines look very similar to road bikes, with dropped handlebars and thin tyres - however the latter have a knobbled-tread for grip, powerful brakes, low gears and better frame clearances to prevent clogging with mud, all of which adds up to make them easy to handle on the rough.