What is Cyclocross?

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Cyclocross refers to a type of bike racing, which is popular across Europe. The most competitive racers come from France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Italy, and the Netherlands. Aside from European countries, this sport has also gained its popularity in Australia and US.

Just like in triathlon, cyclocross involves riding and running, but emphasizes more on bike handling. The races are commonly conducted on 1km to 3km courses, which involves terrain made up of mud, sand, tarmac, or dirt. In some cases, participants of this sport will even have to run on stairs. The race may last for 30 minutes to 1 hour and a final lap.

There are a lot of man-made barriers that are normally 18in in height all over the course, so some racers carry their bikes, while others bunny hop these obstacles. For multiple barriers in a row, racers usually shoulder the bike. However, if the participant has a good height and a great strength in his upper body, he may also opt to carry the bike with one hand on the handlebar and the other lifting the top tube. For run-ups, it is always recommended to shoulder the bike and pumping the other arm to achieve momentum.

The ideal type of bike for cyclocross is a road bike which has been cross-pollinated with a mountain bike. This kind of bike has a frame which is made up of lightweight aluminum, steel, or titanium; drop bars that can offer leverage for both sprinting and climbing; knobby tires that are 1.2 to 1.5 inches; carbon fork; clipless pedals for mountain bikes; integrated brake levers; as well as a single or double chainring. Because the course commonly involves terrain with mud, the rear seat stays and the fork must have enough space for mud to accumulate without clogging the tires. Compared to the usual road bikes, the top tubes of the bikes used in cyclocross are shorter in length, the forks and frames are stronger, and the bottom brackets are higher.

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