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David Fiedler

What Is Cyclocross?

By November 3, 2007

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Ever hear of Cyclocross? A good description is a bike race mixed with steeplechase. In cyclocross, riders race laps around a short course that usually features some pavement, some dirt, some woods, some steep hills and for good measure, some obstacles thrown in that require riders to dismount, work their way through and then get back on and ride some more.

The course is usually 2.5 to 3.5 km (which works out to somewhere between a mile or two for those of us metrically impaired), with a race lasting anywhere from 30 to 75 minutes. Maybe 80% of the course will be ridable, with the rest made of natural obstacles like creeks and fallen trees combined with man-made barriers like bales of straw and low fences.

Cyclocross bikes are more like road bikes than mountain bikes, though they do usually have knobbier tires and cantilever brakes that help keep mud and leaves, etc., from getting clogged up in them.

Cyclocross heats up in the fall and winter as road racing fades and has been big in Europe going back at least fifty years, though interest in the U.S. has picked up in recent decades. If you're looking for a new twist and a great way to keep in shape during the off season, you might want to check it out. Numerous cyclocross races are held, and most offer novice heats so you can give it a try without fear of embarassment if it's your first time.

Here's a helmet-cam video of a cyclocross race to give you a good feel for what it's like.

Image: Wacko Robinson/Flickr


April 1, 2008 at 12:41 pm
(1) Hans says:

The video link above is incorrect. Please go to helmet-cam video of a cyclocross race. Or to http://www.hanskellner.com for many more cycling videos.

August 7, 2008 at 11:09 am
(2) Cyclocross says:

If you want to know more about cyclocross just check out my website!

August 30, 2008 at 5:18 am
(3) Crosstube says:

A video says more than a 1000 words :-) Check out my website http://www.crosstube.net for all the latest cyclocross videos.

June 21, 2012 at 6:04 am
(4) Jamie says:

I have just brought my first Titanium cross bike from fatbirds (Van Nicholas Amazon) and am looking forward to trying it out this weekend.
I love your ‘A good description is a bike race mixed with steeplechase. ‘, that pretty much sums up all the CX races I have ever been in.

If you get a chance you should check out the Ti cross bikes, I am convinced it is the material for the sport, fatbirds is the only place with any stock that I could find; http://www.fatbirds.co.uk/1022/titanium—cyclocross.aspx

October 6, 2012 at 11:29 am
(5) zac ford says:

Someone is really trying to sell some ti frames!

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