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We are blessed with a thriving and superbly organised summer and winter cyclo-cross calendar in Yorkshire with most of the season’s races held on our doorstep in Kirklees and Calderdale.

Cyclo-Cross (often abbreviated to ‘Cross’ or CX) is the most accessible route to competitive racing for young and old alike. You don’t need a full racing licence and with most events you can just turn up on the day and race. You can ride them mainly for fun and general fitness or fiercely competitively – the choice is yours. You don't have to take it too seriously and even riding mainly for fun, cross will help you improve your bike handling skills, increase your power and build your cardiovascular system. You'll be amazed how great you feel and how much more confidence you have on your bike once you get involved.

Most events last less than an hour and are held on school playing fields, sports clubs or in council owned parks. The racing is split into age categories and for the youngest of riders is often free! Whether you’re starting out at 6 yrs old, want to give it a try at 12 yrs old or simply keep fit at 50 there is an event you can enter.

The racing usually consists of multiple laps of a course marked out by tape - usually around ½ mile to 1 mile in length which makes it great for spectators too as they can watch the action unfold and cheer you on. Massed starts create the initial excitement but the field soon thins out as the race gets underway. The laps often include a combination of grassy climbs and descents, fast open fields, sections of woodland single track, obstacles that force you to dismount and jump over carrying your bike (or ‘bunny-hop’ if you’re feeling brave!) and even the occasional sand pit to ride or run through. There are plenty of thrills and lots of spills but as the ground is usually soft – very few injuries.

The fastest riders almost always lap some of the slower ones but that doesn’t mean your race is over – with cyclo-cross there are scores of ‘races within the race’ as you battle to beat the other competitors of your own standard . Who wins the overall race is largely irrelevant to the enjoyment of all who participate in this great sport.

To get started you can ride on a mountain bike, a modified road bike (knobbly tyres are a must to ride on grass or get through the mud!) or invest in a proper cyclo-cross bike. At KCA, thanks to the generosity of our local sponsors we can even help you out with CX race bike hire – just ask us for details.

Cyclo-cross is amazing fun and dangerously addictive….once you’ve tried it I defy you not to get hooked. For details of events/results in our area see Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross Association website

Steve Sears
Coaching Assistant - Volunteer