The Road to Cyclocross

Yesterday we posted about a road cyclist moving into the world on cyclocross, but we wanted to provide further information and tips on this subject.  We feel it’s on the minds of so many of you out there, and the more information you receive the better.

Our friend Karen Lynn from Sip, Clip, and Go Coffee helped out with the other post, but this time around she’s going into more detail.  Have a look at what Karen has to say about taking the road to cyclocross.

SilkCityCX 2012

Road to Cross

By Karen E. Lynn

Once viewed as the fringe of cycling disciplines, Cyclocross is growing by leaps and bounds. The explosive growth in Cyclocross is attracting all types of cycling enthusiasts, including the more traditional road cyclist.  If you’re considering diving into the groundswell of cyclocross, here are some answers to common questions that can help you get started.

The Basics

Do I need a CX bike? 

Not necessarily.  You can start off with a mountain bike.  They are perfectly legal to race with, as long as they are sans bar ends.  Mountain bikes are heavier and less elegant than a cross bike, but they hold up well on the varied terrain and are usually easier to get your hands on (especially if there is already one in your garage).  But, if you can borrow a CX bike and it fits you, it’s a great opportunity to get accustomed to the slightly different bike geometry.

Can I change my road bike into a cross bike? 

No.  Cross bike require skinny, knobby tires, and cross bikes are built to accommodate the larger tire and the accompanying mud they can potentially bring.  Cross bikes are also designed for bike handling needed for the technical demands of any cross course.  Still, they have many attributes of a road bike like power and speed.

What about pedals and shoes?

You will need mountain bike shoes and appropriate clipless pedals.  While not an absolute requirement, if you are a road cyclist you are already accustomed to clipping in and the added benefits of clipless pedals; better power transfer and higher efficiency of pedal stroke.  Mountain bike shoes with cleats are necessary for running up muddy slopes with adequate traction.

What about all the dismounting and remounting?  That looks complicated!

If you can find a cyclocross clinic, sign up.  This is an excellent way to learn the basics of cyclocross, including dismounting, remounting, and shouldering the bike.  Off camber turning is another important technique that in essential to cx racing.  You can find several local cyclocross clinics listed on  Also, check with your local bicycle club or bike shop.  They can be a terrific resource in learning where local clinics are being held.  At clinics, they sometimes have extra CX bikes available to practice on.  Check with your event organizer.

Of course, just like every other piece of knowledge on the planet, you can simply Google it.  The inter-webs provide endless videos, articles, and information on cyclocross.  They are some excellent instructional videos that are free.  Here are some free ones from the pros:

Georgia Gould:

Todd Wells:

For a really complete tutorial (but not free), 2012 National Champion Jeremy Powers has a downloadable video packed with a soup to nuts presentation on cyclocross techniques.

Jeremy Powers Cross Camp:

The Differences are in the Details

Page 1 of 2 | Next page