The mad-pedaling, barrier-hopping sport of cyclocross is here to stay in the United States, where this year more than 600 races are being organized from California to Maine. Common weekend races in cyclocross hotbeds like Portland, Ore., Seattle, or the Bay Area can attract 500 or more riders, said Andrew Yee, a racer and the founder of Cyclocross Magazine. “It’s big, and this year a whole mess of top Europeans even came over to race the first part of season,” Yee said.
For an article this week on Outside magazine, I consulted with Yee and other CX addicts to shape a “top 10” gear list for the sport. My story, “The Gear Junkie’s Top 10 Cyclocross Essentials,” includes bikes, components, shoes, portable barriers, cow bells and beer — all these items mandatory equipment at many races across the land.
Cyclocross, a sport invented nearly 100 years ago in Europe as an offseason training regimen, has a storied tradition and a worldwide following. It has caught on in the United States over the last few years because of its fun nature and easy accessibility for many bike-riding types. “Cyclocross is really welcoming to many kinds of riders, on almost any type of bike,” Yee said.
CX races are generally short, 30 to 60 minutes, and they are often held at schools or in parks close to populated areas. They don’t require hours and hours of training to be competitive at the amateur level. Also, friends and family can “hang out on the sidelines yelling and cheering,” Yee notes, “and they will see you throughout the entire race.”
If a party atmosphere and quick, high-heart-rate courses have appeal, see my Outside article for a primer on how you can gear up to give the sport a try. —Stephen Regenold
Top 10 Cyclocross Essentials
1. Bike: Moots Psychlo-X Cyclocross
2. Tires: Hutchinson Bulldog CX
3. Tire Pressure Gauge: SKS Airchecker
4. Chainguard: N-Gear Jumpstop
5. Cables: GORE RideOn Sealed Low Friction
6. Shoes: Specialized S-Works MTB
7. Practice Barriers: Cross Propz portable barriers
8. Embrocation: Mad Alchemy and Rapha
9. Cowbell: Genuine Swiss Unit!
10. Belgium Beer/Food: Trappist Ale; Belgian frites
—Stephen Regenold is the founder of GearJunkie.com and a contributor to Outside magazine. See his bio page on Outside at this link.