Urban Cyclocross manifesto

Off the back of the Rollapaluza Hallowe’en Cross race, the seed of an idea which came up a while back has started germinating: Urban Cyclocross.

So I would like to help get the idea into a reality. I know there’s a few London cross riders out there interested and, in theory, it’s an ideal city to host an inaugural race.

The problem is finding a suitable venue, or a course in a suitable venue.

Below are some attempts to answer some questions that I think could help define how it works.

What’s the relationship between urban and regular cyclocross?

The way I see it urban cross needn’t be muddy. The obstacles, not the elements are the challenge.

That’s not to say there shouldn’t be a complete absence of the elements. There’s numerous sandy horse gallops in central London that could make an excellent course feature. Hyde Park’s Rotten Row is the most visible example.

But at the other end of the scale some of the big shopping centres have escalators, stairs and swooping walkways that could make for the run-ups and descents on an indoor course.

What sort of obstacles should feature?

Well apart from staircases and steps as obstacles, I think there’s plenty of scope to play.

Those big concrete banked gulleys I’ve seen a few places around London and the old storm drains both appeal for off-camber sections.

The ultimate course would feature a section which involves riding into a pub, through the bar and out again through the beer garden.

There’s a fascination with steps. The Duke of York Column and the steps leading to it from The Mall hold a particular appeal.

Much like parkour, it’s the environment that should dictate the course. Perhaps Urban CX isn’t even about the race but about the course.

Then there’s the areas of decay. The old shipyards have almost all been remodelled but there must be disused industrial spaces or infrequently used ones that could host an event. Battersea Power Station seems to host an increasing number of quirky sporting activities.

How would the course be marked?

Like a scent trail, someone would ride ahead and mark with arrows the route to be followed.

Or they would mark “gates” like on a ski course through which riders are expected to pass.

What would it be raced on?

Standard cyclocross bikes, slicks or file tread tyres according to the surface/inclination of the rider

So that’s the debate opened and some ideas out there, how do we make it a reality? Your help and ideas to perfect this are more than welcome.

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