Cyclocross – bike adventures for cross-country riders

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Have you ever heard of cyclocross? Not yet? Then it’s about time! Cross-country riding is perfect for all those who love action and adventure. Find out more! 

Cyclocross – races for adventurers

Cross-country over rough and smooth 

 

Cyclocross, CX, cyclo-X, or ‘cross – there are lots of names for fun! While cyclists usually grant their bikes an extensive winter break during the colder months, the adventure has only just begun for cyclocross riders. Puddles, mud, sludge, sand … the motto is: Anything goes – as long as it’s unpaved!

But what exactly is cyclocross? What does a race look like and which bikes are best suited for it? Simplon has taken a closer look at this niche sport and tells you more … 

What does cyclocross mean?

Cyclocross or CX races are a special type of cycle-sport. The competitions usually take place on unpaved ground. Grass, mud, gravel, sand and a number of obstacles have to be mastered during the races. 

This extraordinary sport enjoys great popularity in the Netherlands, in Belgium, the UK and in France. But in the German-speaking realm, it’s becoming increasingly popular as well. More and more athletes enjoy the challenge of grabbing their bike and conquering every kind of terrain and obstacle in the fastest and most efficient way possible. 

What does a cyclocross race look like?

The standard pictures of a cyclocross race show riders covered in dirt with their bikes on their shoulders while running up a muddy and steep incline. Because cyclocross races usually feature short, very steep sections that force riders to get off their bikes and carry them this image is very accurate. 

The races often take place in autumn and winter, on off-road tracks and fields with narrow curves. The tracks are relatively short – between one and five kilometres – and it takes competitors only about an hour to finish. The trails lead you up and down. You fall and get back up. You run, carry your bike on your shoulder, only to then continue the race as fast as possible. Until the next obstacle appears … 

Traditionally, cyclocross races are held in parks so that the audience can see the racers at all times. The tracks are usually lined with spectators that watch the wild and exciting happenings and cheer the riders along. Some races attract up to 60,000 spectators. 

Which bike is best suited for a cyclocross race?

Cyclocross bikes, like the Simplon Inissio Crosser , are perfect for cross-x adventures. This special bike resembles a road bike at first glance. But if you take a closer look, you’ll see the strong mountain bike influence on the brakes and tyres. 

When moisture and dirt become a real challenge for standard brake concepts, disc brakes offer reliable braking action. Lugged tyres with a width of maximum 33 millimetres are necessary to brave the adverse weather conditions. The fork and the chainstays are wider and more robust compared to a regular road bike. The reason for that is simple: The bike needs to withstand the unevenness of the ground – much more so than is the case on asphalt. 

By the way: When it comes to footwear, you can witness the MTB scene’s  influence as well: Since riders carry the bike a lot during races, mountain bike shoes are their best bet. Due to the shoes’ flexible sole and their profile, they provide optimum grip. 

Who can participate in the race?

The races are perfect for mountain bikers who want to catch some fresh air in winter and for road cyclists who don’t want to spend the colder months on the rollers. Rookie or pro, young or old, man or woman – everyone can participate in a cyclocross race. Especially, if you enjoy going hog wild in the dirt, grass, mud or snow!

But keep in mind: You’ve got to have a certain level of craziness to go on one of these mud tours because no one makes it out at the other end fresh and clean. The races aren’t called “An Hour in Hell” for no reason … 

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