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 is also one of the most accessible forms of cycle sport with racing for everyone from young kids to grandmothers.
Races are multi-lap events usually lasting for an hour for senior riders, with shorter distances for other categories. At the end of the set time, a bell is rung signifying the last lap, known as the ‘bell lap’. Racing seldom sees large bunches forming due to the nature of the terrain, with groups of two or three riders forming at the most. Cyclo-cross is often a personal battle between the rider and the course, making it engaging for riders of all abilities. There’s no ‘getting dropped from the bunch’ in cyclo-cross.