Forum home Road cycling forum Cyclocross

What do people who 'do' CX do?

ianwilliamsianwilliams Posts: 257
edited February 2014 in Cyclocross
Alright chaps

This is probably a daft question, so excuse me for that. But what do you do when you get a CX bike? 'm asking because I like my road bike but think CX races look great fun. But outside of the races I'm not sure what else you do.

Where do you ride? How do you mix it up? Do you ride MTB trails or just razz around public parks? How do you know what routes to ride?

And when it comes to public areas, how do you know if its OK to cycle there? I'm guessing the potential to churn up the ground is pretty big.

I ask because I saw Peel Park in Bradford has a good CX race. But I'm guessing I can't just turn up tomorrow and ride the course myself.

The majority of Strava and all of the clubs I've met/been involved with are geared almost exclusively to the road, so its easy to find routes. Plus, apart from dangerous roads, you can ride on any road.

With CX I just don't know how it works.

Thanks!
«1

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,387
    My CX bike just hangs in the garage when it's not being raced. I don't do anything else on it.
  • MoonbikerMoonbiker Posts: 1,706
    My CX bike just hangs in the garage when it's not being raced. I don't do anything else on it.


    Why don't you go out and practice/have fun on mtb trails etc?

    I thought it was odd that no one at all was on a cx bike in Coed Y Brenin last time i was there when there must of being about 300 plus mtb's

    Do cx people just not ride trails much or maybe theres just hardly anyone with cx bikes?
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I commute to work on mine, I have about 25 square miles of Army ranges between home and work - I have the choice of fireroads or technical singletrack. If I'm feeling good, I'll do a lap of the Brass Monkeys MTB Enduro course.
    CX and also a great way for riding long-distance trails like the Southdowns Way in summer - way quicker than an MTB.
    Put some road tyres on and it becomes a decent road training bike.
    Finally, I usually take a CX bike and two sets of tyres on holiday - I get to choose between road and trail and do a bit of adventure riding.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Best all round bike you can get IMHO,

    use mine on crappy days
    Ride along the cycle paths and old railway lines.
    ride around the lake at keiler


    the list goes on,
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,387
    Moonbiker wrote:
    My CX bike just hangs in the garage when it's not being raced. I don't do anything else on it.


    Why don't you go out and practice/have fun on mtb trails etc?

    I thought it was odd that no one at all was on a cx bike in Coed Y Brenin last time i was there when there must have being about 300 plus mtb's

    Do cx people just not ride trails much or maybe theres just hardly anyone with cx bikes?

    I only tend to race CX because there's no circuit racing on - most other times, I'm out on the road. If I was at CyB, or any other trail centre, I would probably use an MTB.
  • Monty Dog wrote:
    I have about 25 square miles of Army ranges between home and work - I have the choice of fireroads or technical singletrack. If I'm feeling good, I'll do a lap of the Brass Monkeys MTB Enduro course.
    CX and also a great way for riding long-distance trails like the Southdowns Way in summer - way quicker than an MTB..

    Same as above plus we have a decent amount of Forestry Commission land aswell (Bramshill, Warren Heath, Swinley Forest) also Pilgrims way, South Downs, The Devils Highway, North Downs.. etc,etc...

    What about these Monty : http://www.cxsportive.com/

    Did a loop around Ash Ranges not so long ago, next on the hit lists Pirbright and deepcut....
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    I have two, but they only really go out for races, or the occasional shakedown ride after a rebuild. My spare bike has done less than 30 miles this rather dry season!
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Same here: Races, CX-specific training, and riding to work if I'm training after work. I'll occasionally take one out for a ride with the kids, but since those normally turn into kids' CX training rides, it's really more of the same thing.

    If you use your common sense, it's amazing how many places you can ride. For instance, we train on the side of an embankment carrying a main road past a playing field. Perfect for practicing run-ups, off camber turns etc, we have the edge of the playing field area for flat drills, and the whole area's perfectly adequately lit by the streetlights. You really don't need a lot of space...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • When I'm not racing, my CX bike gets used for off-road training on local bridleways etc.

    Sounds a bit low-tech in these days of GPS, Strava, Bikely and all that, but a decent OS map ought to help plan some local routes without the risk of ending up on rights of way that aren't, or those tracks that bafflingly stop at a dead end in the middle of nowhere.

    David
    "It is not enough merely to win; others must lose." - Gore Vidal
  • For racing and sometimes for bad weather commuting. For trails I generally use my MTB. I could probably do them on the CX bike near here, but at least it feels like I'm getting value for money for mountain bike!
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    I find a CX far better for exploring than an MTB - mainly because riding tarmac is such a chore with an MTB. Riding singletrack on a CX bike improves your skills as you need to be accurate and not rely on suspension and low gears to get you out of trouble.
    I can't be bothered with CX Sportives - I know enough routes and places to go that I don't need to pay someone £25 for the priviledge of riding somewhere that's free 364 days of the year...get a large scale OS map and hunt out bridleways, green roads etc. I can ride 50 miles to the southcoast barely touching any tarmac.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Monty Dog wrote:
    I find a CX far better for exploring than an MTB - mainly because riding tarmac is such a chore with an MTB. Riding singletrack on a CX bike improves your skills as you need to be accurate and not rely on suspension and low gears to get you out of trouble.
    I can't be bothered with CX Sportives - I know enough routes and places to go that I don't need to pay someone £25 for the priviledge of riding somewhere that's free 364 days of the year...get a large scale OS map and hunt out bridleways, green roads etc. I can ride 50 miles to the southcoast barely touching any tarmac.

    Yep, that's what I find too

    OS maps are a great source of bridles and tracks, they also have an online tool that allow you to customise your own map centred around the area of interest, rather than buying a pre-made one that might not include all you need. I don't think GPS systems have caught up yet with the off-road stuff

    In the south of the country is not rocky enough for MTBiking and deep bog, of which we have plenty, is not necessarily better with a MTB than a CX bike. The CX bike allow you to enjoy the tarmac and fast gravel sections in between more technical sections. MTBikes limit your range of action by several miles
  • Up North we have a lot of disused railway lines which are now cycle paths, mainly fine gravel. Perfect for a CX bike
  • frazeredfrazered Posts: 333
    local lanes, bridleways and loops, occasionally llandegla
  • Great question Ian and one we all grappled with. A racing CX bike is one of the most specialized bikes there is, like a track bike. Expensive tubs that would shred at the first sign of a rock garden, 12cm handlebar drop, narrow-ish gearing, no bottles nor pump mounts on some etc.

    Luckily most CX bikes are not sold that way as manufacturers appreciate they are the most versatile bike there is. Before you ride you have 2 choices - do you optimize tyres or use all rounders? Of course, once you've explored and found your preferences you can tweak the bike to suit.

    Terrain wise they can handle anything. I used to bring mine (avec mud guards) to the Saturday Nirvana cycles ride in Dorking and mix it up with 5" travel Zesties (they murdered me on downhills).

    If you're training for CX racing then you can make yourself an impromptu 1-2 min course and ride it until your times get faster.

    If I was you, I would definitely go to a race, that's the best way to meet people who do cross. Speak to folks and tell them you want to get involved. It's much more inviting than road. Of course you can show up and race too, cross is smart and has organized day-race licences with the BCF for folks like you can take part.

    Have a look at the BCF events calendar in your area: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/event ... &postcode= use the menu at left to tweak the location and discipline.
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • CallerCaller Posts: 124
    I've found that since buying a cross bike I've hardly used my MTB.
    The cross bike is ideal, like others have said, for local riding along lanes and bridleways especially if there's road sections involved. It's a nice balance between road and MTB riding for me.

    Having only been to one cross race I've got to say that it was a very friendly atmosphere and there was some good racing to be watched as well.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    If I was you, I would definitely go to a race, that's the best way to meet people who do cross. Speak to folks and tell them you want to get involved. It's much more inviting than road. Of course you can show up and race too, cross is smart and has organized day-race licences with the BCF for folks like you can take part.

    Have a look at the BCF events calendar in your area: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/event ... &postcode= use the menu at left to tweak the location and discipline.
    Just to emphasise: The overwhelming majority of CX races (pretty much everything except the 6 National Trophy series races and the Nationals) are set up to be extremely beginner-friendly; there's almost always a novice race, and riders of any standard will be welcome in the main races too. The field spreads out right from the start, especially at the back, so you're not going to be getting in the way of anyone who isn't a similar standard to you (in which case it's fine to get in their way).
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 7,316
    Worth visiting most race sites the day after - you can normally follow the path of the race or a bit of training. I use mine to go out with the kids, trails and stuff but to be honest since thy've packed cross in I've no real interet in the port myself and i wish I'd just bought a decent MTB instead.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • As a former MTB'er who got into Road biking when I moved from Yorkshire I've recently started racing Cross with the intention of training for Time Trials in the summer - problem is I'm hooked on CX racing and am thinking of ditching my road bikes completely.

    When I'm not racing it, I use my Cross bike for training on the roads on blasting around the local forests, I'm lucky enough to own a house backing onto a bridleway and have a bunch of CX appropriate trails available. In the summer I'm sure my MTB will come out a lot less than it used to and I'll switch off with the cross bike.
  • frazered wrote:
    local lanes, bridleways and loops, occasionally llandegla

    You do llandegla on a CX bike? I've only done one of the trails there (red I think) on a mtb but not sure the CX bike would've handled it.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The ability of a CX bike to negotiate MTB trails is as much down to the cajones of the rider, rather than bike itself. I've ridden quite a few sections of the Cornish Coast Path on a CX bike, some of which requires riding along a 6" wide footpath along the top of a 200ft drop to the sea as well as scrambling up sheer rock faces with the bike over my shoulders - glad as I was carrying a 20lb bike rather than a 30lb MTB
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • I ride to work on mine, ride around the fields near my house, hit up bits of single track and much more.

    I love my CX bike.
  • What do I 'do'....

    I have cross king conti's fitted to the CX bike so take it out in all weathers... So I ride outdoors in weather I would never dream of riding the road bike in. Its the sense of freedom to be able to ride anywhere that I most value. Yesterday I rode a few km on the road, dropped off onto a cycle route, then onto a muddly bridal way, then hopped onto open fields, footpaths before finding a steep incline banking to a observation mound. Then I set up a little race route on the banking to practice steep climbs and turns and twists. More bridal ways, more mud, road ride back home before more climbing and descending on wet grass / mud at the back of my house. Quick rinse off with the hose pipe, then the football!!! And if I'm not tearing about doing that sort of stuff then I race in the central CX league.
  • My CX bikes have produced more smiles/mile than any of my road bikes, FACT!

    Not that I've not had plenty of laughs on my road bikes.
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • I use my CX (Spesh TriCross - so perhaps not real CX) for local on/off road rides. Where I live any decent Mountain Biking is 40mins-1hrs drive away, but I am surrouned by fields, some woodland, parks, paths, bridle ways etc. The CX is perfect for this, I can even do a semi off-road commute to work which I love. The bike easily handles mud, drops, bumps etc, but can also handle road better than any MTB could, I have never taken it to a place where I would MTB, but it would handle most stuff I reckon, think "ridgid 29er" with funny handle bars and brake posistion :lol:

    Best ride I have done with it was a 70mile on/off road ride (say 50/50 split), great fun but tough, as riding off road is energy sapping, but it allows you to link the off road routes up with some road riding - something I would't fancy on the MTB.

    In its current state it is sporting some studded winter/ice tyres, so its also the back up bike when my road bike with skinny slicks is not up to the job, in theory it keeps me going when I ought to stop :D

    Strangely I also prefer my CX for commutes, and even some local road rides, just easier going in terms of pleasure/comfort.

    If I had my time again buying road/cx, I would just get a very nice CX (with disc), 2 sets of wheels, and use it for Road and CX. Very versatile machines, ignored by many including me, but now very popular and replacing those Hybrids that nobody really liked!
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Only managing 2-3 races a season at the moment, so get most of my use out of the CX on the trail in the local park. But I've used for commuting, especially in the snow :-)
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • StefanPStefanP Posts: 429
    Same as a lot of people here, I use it on bridleways and such like. I have a mountain bike for the rockier steeper stuff when I'm in the peaks, but there is nothing in S. London that isn't just as quick and fun on a CX bike (obviously excluding the Surrey Hills!).
  • dulldavedulldave Posts: 949
    Going out on your CX bike is probably the closest I get to feeling like I did when I was a kid on a bike. You can do decent distances but equally just follow little trails to see where they go. MTBs tend to demand decent terrain before they become fun and road riding requires some nice roads, descents or climbs but kicking about on a cross bike I often don't really have much of an idea where I intend to go, I just make it up as I go along.

    I wouldn't want to do this all the time but I race cross as much as I can so a weekend without a race is more of a rarity at this time of year so I like to take advantage of it. Likewise in the summer I'll use the cross bike for some off road commuting but put most of my training in on the road bike.
    Scottish and British...and a bit French
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Between home and work I have the entire Aldershot Army ranges to negotiate complete with an 8 mile MTB enduro loop - sometimes I arrive a bit later and muddier than expected....something to do with delay due to a puncture ;-) Sometimes I've gone back a re-ridden a section it was so much fun the first time. My fastest times on the Enduro loop are on my CX bike rather than MTB.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Thanks everyone. A CX bike sounds good fun, just for the idea that you can go pretty much anywhere.

    At the moment I'm a city dweller so a road bike is best for me, but when I move out of the city I can see myself investing in a decent CX bike.
Sign In or Register to comment.