Have you seen people riding trails on bikes that look like road bikes? That’s a cyclocross bike.
They look like road bikes but have tires that look like thin mountain bike tires, with large grips. The brakes are different to help keep mud, leaves, and other trail debris from clogging them. The bikes are also lightweight, since riders may have to dismount and carry their bike over certain obstacles like fallen logs. It’s also common for riders to run with their bikes during races.
Apparently cyclocross was originally a way for road racers to maintain their fitness in fall and early winter. It has grown in popularity so much that people train for and specialize strictly in cyclocross.
There are races all around the world, including quite a few where I live!
I came home this weekend to a surprise from my husband…a shiny, new, Specialized Crux fluorescent cyclocross bike!
I instantly fell in love…until I saw the pedals and new shoes that I would have to clip in to. I’m comfortable with being clipped in on the road, but on the trails is a whole different story! Since I’m so cautious, I like to put a foot down around some corners, through slippery sections, and anytime I’m nervous.
We took the bikes to the river valley early Monday morning ready to roll. It was cold and there were even a few flurries falling, but that didn’t stop us from having a blast!
Kelly went nice and slow with me. On the first uphill and the first couple downhills I may have used loud profanity. I soon realized I could easily clip out and there was no need to freak out! (I’m still a bit apprehensive about the pedals, but I’ll give them a fair shot.)
We had so much fun; I literally smiled for the two hours we were out there.
We road gravel, dirt, and leaf covered trails. We rode up hills, down hills, and on asphalt. We rode wide trails and we rode single track.
It was so different from mountain biking for me since I could really cruise (except for the downhills where I ride like a grandma). I just need to learn to go faster and gain confidence.
My cyclocross shoes are pretty cool, too. They have the cleat to attach to the pedal and then are really grippy like trail shoes. I had to get off my bike a couple times and I got awesome traction when running up hills pushing my bike.
Give cyclocross a try, regardless of whether you want to race, continue riding through fall, practice your bike handling skills, or just enjoy the trails. I’m sure you’ll love it!
I know I can’t wait to take my bike out again and ride with my husband!
Have you ever rode a cyclocross bike? What’s your favourite time of year to ride?