Cyclo-Cross is one of the most accessible forms of cycle-sport with racing for everyone from Under 12 to Over 50 and everything from Regional Leagues to World-Class events attracting riders from across the world. Throughout the Autumn and Winter, it's probably taking place in a park near you. Skinny tyres, mud, short, sharp off-road races, with hurdles, obstacles and intense action. That's Cyclo-Cross, a form of off-road racing that predates Mountain Biking by decades.
Cyclo-Cross bikes from a distance, are very similar to road bikes, with 700c wheels, rigid frames and forks and dropped handlebars. However, there are some significant differences; knobbly tyres, lower gearing, frame geometry, clearance and either cantilever or disc brakes.
Cyclo-Cross takes place in off-road venues such as Public Parks and other Open Spaces. Surfaces can include grass, mud, gravel and sand. Courses are short and winding, enabling multiple laps to be completed within a set distance or time. Courses often feature obstacles such as hurdles and sand pits, forcing many riders to dismount and carry or run with their bikes. Some courses are more 'technical' than others, featuring tight single track trails, tree roots and other obstacles.
Most Local Cycling Clubs are heavily involved in the Cyclo-Cross season, which generally runs through the Autumn and Winter, although Summer leagues do take place. Riding a Club Event is a great place to start, it allows you to build skills and confidence and pick up tips from more experienced riders. Many Clubs run Cyclo-Cross skills session for young people and adults, Spalding Cycling Club has the Go-Ride running for the Youth riders during the Road season and a Cyclo-Cross dedicated skills session for all ages running through some of the Winter months.
These types of events are great for spectators, as racing takes place in a relatively small, self-contained area. The atmosphere is friendly and you'll get to see plenty of the action, as courses often loop through the same area a few times per lap.
The Cyclo-Cross calendar is usually online before the end of July and in many areas of the country there are local races virtually every weekend through October, November and December, going into January in some cases also. Please refer to the External Links page where you will find links to both British Cycling and the Lincolnshire Cyclo-Cross League websites.