Clothing and kit for cyclo-cross
In all but a very few races, cyclo-cross is a very individual discipline. It demands specific equipment - both bikes and clothing - if you are to compete on a regular basis or at a high level. However, you can compete at a beginner level or as occasional rider using standard mountain bike or road kit.
You can compete in cyclo cross using your standard cycling clothing. A road jersey and lycra shorts are fine. Bear in mind that cyclo-cross is a winter sport so the temperature is likely to be low and you may need an extra layer - but don't wrap up too much, you will be working hard and producing a lot of heat.
It is a good idea to have a set of arm warmers and knee warmers
It is a good idea to have a set of arm warmers
and knee warmers
. These are stretchy tubes of material that cover these areas and are great for a bit of extra warmth. If you do get very hot you can always roll down or remove your arm warmers.
It is also worth having a waterproof jacket to wear when warming up and down if it is raining or extremely cold. Make sure you also take a pair of long finger gloves! As with most forms of racing, you must wear an approved style of helmet
Specialist kit for racers and regulars
Ideally you will have a helper with you and equipment for them to clean your bike in the race pits so that there is always a clean bike ready for use. The best option is to use a portable jet wash
, but these are expensive. A cheaper alternative is to take a couple of buckets and some brushes or sponges, find a water supply and use some good old elbow grease.
A skin suit with a thermal vest underneath is the ideal 'cross clothing, as it is warm, close fitting and less mud will stick to it
The wheels and especially the tyres will make a big difference to your performance. You will need at least a set of mud and dry tires for your bikes.
A skin suit
with a thermal vest
underneath is the ideal 'cross clothing, as it is warm, close fitting and less mud will stick to it. In a fast, hour-long race with mechanical support never far away, you don't need jersey pockets for food or tools.
The best shoes are mountain bike style, as these grip well off the bike, have a small amount of flexibility for running and using 'clipless' pedals still provides full power, security and instant release when needed.