Cyclo-Cross; the race format that’s somewhere between off-road road cycling and mountain biking, and renowned for having a fun, friendly and informal vibe.
You’ve had your interest in ‘Cross piqued by Alison, our resident ‘CX’ blogger. You’ve read our demystifying article on what Cyclo-Cross is. You’ve pondered the advice from European CX Champion Helen Wyman.
Now, you want to give Cyclo-Cross a go for yourself.
The next step is to find a race near you, and get stuck in! Luckily, there are races happening pretty much every weekend, and they take place all over the country.
1. Find your local league
The best way to get involved is have a look at what your local Cyclo-Cross league has scheduled. Leagues are organized on a regional basis – for example, the South West Cyclo-Cross League, the East Midlands Cyclo-Cross League, and so on. You can of course travel to take part in events with other leagues – you don’t need to stay local if you fancy being adventurous.
To help you out, here’s a selection of Cyclo-Cross leagues in the UK. It’s by no means comprehensive, but it’s a good start.
- Eastern Cyclo-Cross League; Norfolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire
- Cyclo-Cross Wales
- West Midlands Cyclo-Cross League
- Notts & Derby Cyclo-Cross League; Nottingham, Derby and surrounding areas
- South West Cyclo-Cross League; Cornwall, Devon, Somerset
- Lincolnshire Cyclo-Cross League
- Wessex Cyclo-Cross League; Hampshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire
- Central Cyclo-Cross League; including Welwyn Garden City, Luton and Harwell
- London Cyclo-Cross League
- Scottish Cyclo-Cross League
- North West Cyclo-Cross League: Lancashire, Cumbria, Cheshire, Manchester and Liverpool
- Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association
2. Find an event
Most leagues will have an event on roughly every other weekend, and they’ll usually take place at several locations across the region so there won’t be too far to travel. For example, the South West Cyclo-Cross League has events two or three times a month, in locations including Bodmin, Plymouth, Wellington and Truro.
As well as looking at the calendar pages on your local league website you can also search for events online via British Cycling.
Thinking of bringing the family? A lot of Cyclo-Cross events have categories for under-12s and youths, so there’s something for everyone. Just check on the event page for the race you’re thinking about entering.
3. Enter an event
For the vast majority of events you can enter online through British Cycling. Entrance costs are usually in the region of £10, and there’s also usually a surcharge if you aren’t a member of British Cycling. If you’re planning on doing a few events, it’s worth thinking about membership.
A lot of events will also have on-the-day entry. Again, check with the league responsible for organizing the event – they’ll usually have this information listed on their website.
4. Ride an event
Pack yourself and your gear and head off! Most events take place in parks or recreation grounds, which also means they are convenient to get to, and have good parking facilities.
The races themselves are short – in the region of an hour – so you’ll be able to get there, do a warm up, race, get changed, have a post-ride cuppa AND still have plenty of day left to enjoy.
If you want more first hand experience of what it’s like to race ‘Cross, then follow the exploits of Alison, our resident CX blogger. She’ll be sharing the highs, the lows, the mud and the laughs in her regular posts.
Not sure what to bring? Check out our article on the what and how of Cyclo-Cross.
Headline image copyright ibikempls on Flickr.