CX in the City?
by Jack Windle, posted 1 May 2018
Contact JRtB on twitter @justridethebike
Jack Windle, fan of all things bike and content editor for Love to Ride explains a new concept: urban CX and its origins in Sheffield.
The last few years have seen an explosion in cycling events, with new sportives springing up all over the place and mass participation rides enjoying great success in towns and cities across the UK. Through Love to Ride we have come across a new series that stands out even in this newly-crowded niche, Sheffield Urban CX.
The idea behind the series - about to kick off its second run with Round #1 of 2018 taking place at Kelham Island Museum on Saturday 5 May - is to link Sheffield’s status as ‘The Outdoor City’ with its unique industrial heritage, staging races at some of the city’s most iconic locations.
Cylco-cross typically takes place on short, muddy courses where riders have to dismount and carry their bikes over, through or round obstacles. Bringing the high-octane, fast-paced excitement of the format into urban venues and an inclusive, family-friendly environment has proved a winning formula. With entries available for all abilities, plus food stalls and fringe events for spectators, Sheffield Urban CX aims to encourage everyone to give cycling a go, whether racing, riding to the venues or taking part in a fringe event. Love to Ride - who are sponsoring the series - will be at each of the races along with dockless bike share scheme ofo, so spectators can have a go at cycling in the Steel City. Polaris Bikewear are also supporting the event and will also be launching a Sporteering route taking in all 3 of the Sheffield Urban CX race venues.
Great value for everyone
With series entries for all three main races starting at £42 and individual entries ranging from £3 for a balance bike up to £23 for an adult, these are very affordable events for riders of all abilities and a great opportunity for novices to try racing in a fun, friendly atmosphere.
Adam Simmonite, an experienced mountain biker and mountain bike coach who came up with the idea of an Urban CX series, takes up the story:
‘We wanted to do something different that really showcased what Sheffield has to offer. We’re on the edge of the Peak District so it’s the place to be for all sorts of cycling - that’s why the Tour came here! - but we’ve also got great places to ride within Sheffield too: there are three mountain bike trails within the city limits and the river, canal and parks all offer fantastic urban cycling routes. Using unique locations like Kelham Island Museum and Park Hill is a great way to get cycle sport in front of a bigger audience in a welcoming and inclusive way. We want people to come along and think, ‘That looks pretty spectacular, I want to try it’ - we want our spectators to go away inspired and fired up to register for the next race.’
Brutalist CX routes
Park Hill flats is a classic example of Brutalist architecture and the largest listed building in Europe. Kelham Island is a museum dedicated to telling the story of Sheffield’s industrial past and the Olympic Legacy Park is a new Innovation District for health and wellbeing research and learning.
Such eye-catching and unique venues, along with the kind of Just Ride the Bike ethos we love to see, make Sheffield Urban CX a fascinating series that we’ll be watching closely. If you miss the first event this first May bank holiday, then you have two more chances. Find out more and register here:
Images courtesy of Jack Windle, 2018