Get Into Cyclo-Cross

Winter Fun:

Cyclo-Cross (often abbreviated to ‘Cross) is generally an autumn and winter sport. Mass starts make for exciting races, usually no more than an hour in length – and shorter for juniors, youths, women and veterans. There are usually cheap-to-enter races for younger riders. Race length is dictated by times, not distance or number of laps. Cyclo-Cross is a great place to start if you want to try cycle racing.

Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross

Yorkshire Cyclo-Cross runs both summer and winter series, with other stand-alone events in-between. Winter events are usually at the weekends, whilst the summer ones take advantage of the long evenings and take place mid-week.

What is a Cyclo-Cross event like?

Lapping it Up! Cyclo-Cross races are usually multi lap events, held on short (typically 2.5 to 3.5km long), grassy courses, generally in public parks, sports complex grounds or on school playing fields. Although less technically demanding than mountain biking, cyclo-cross nonetheless often requires riders to dismount to clear artificial obstacles – often wooden boards – or run up steep, slippery bankings. The ability to swap smoothly and quickly from riding, to running, and back to riding again in one fluid motion is a key skill for advanced riders.

Private Battles: The short lap lengths mean that better riders often lap some of the slower competitors, but that’s not the end of the race – you can still submerge yourself in the action, enjoy your own private battles and forget whether you are first or a hundred and first – that’s the beauty of the sport: it’s what you make of it that counts.

Bike Facts:

Cyclo-Cross machines look very similar to road bikes, with dropped handlebars and thin tyres.  However, ‘cross bikes have a knobbly tread for grip, powerful brakes, low gears and better frame clearances to prevent clogging with mud, all of which adds up to make them easy to handle on the rough. Mountain bikes are welcome at all our summer and winter series events.

Age Categories

Our races are organised into age categories. Age categories for this year are here.


Under 9/12: Age groups run separately with short races of less than 15 minutes. Girls and boys race together, but for separate prizes.
Youth Under 14/16: Races approx. 30 mins. Girls and boys race together.
Junior men:  Race up to an hour, usually with the senior men and veteran 40-49 men
Senior Men: Race for up to an hour
Veteran Men 40-49:  Race for up to an hour usually with the seniors
Veteran Men 50+: Race alone – this is often the biggest category.
Women: All ages 16 and above and from 2022-23 have their own race.

Yorkshire Championship events have separate prizes for each age category, men and women – prizes are awarded at the end of the season.


Under-12: all riders in the Under 12 and younger category  race together. Race duration approx 12 mins. Small on the day prizes are given out.

Under-16: all riders in the Under 14 and Under-16 race together, usually with end of season/series prizes for male and female riders in both age categories: Race duration approx 25 mins.

Over-16: all riders in the Junior Category  and above race together, usually with end of season/series prizes for male and female riders in the various age categories: Junior, Senior, Veteran, Veteran 50. Race duration approx 45 mins.


All entries are taken online – look for the links on our homepage to upcoming events. No entries are taken on the day.

22 thoughts on “Get Into Cyclo-Cross

  1. How do I join cud you give me information please just starting to ride got new clycle I am a runner at meltham ac my email is gilliangray67@ cheers john gray

    1. Hi John,
      You just turn up for the first round of summer or winter cross, pay your entry fee and number fee and ride your bike. There are novice races in the winter cross to try first. All further details of events etc are all on the website or facebook site.

      1. Hi

        Please can you highlight which are the novice races, it’s not that clear from looking at the calendar. Also, can you get involved mid season or can you only register at the first race?


      2. You can join in at anytime by signing on the day. The novice races are with the youth races on the Yorkshire points events. There are no separate novice races at non Yorkshire points races as everyone is in together.

  2. Hello,

    I’m taking part in the novice Rapha race in Halifax on Sunday and if I enjoy it I’m looking at signing up for the Ilkley race on 8th November, do I need to have a race licence and become a member of British Cycling before signing up to the race?

    Thanks in advance.


    1. Hi Kat,
      You don’t need a race licence or British Cycling membership for the novice races. Just make sure when you are riding that you allow the youths to overtake you. They will shout ‘On your right@ or left as the overtake. Just let them past as it is their race and the novices are guests in their race and not to contest the Youth finish,

  3. Hi,
    Is it possible to turn up and ride in the Vet races? I’m not a member of a club or British cycling and don’t have a licence. I’m going to try the novice races first but just wondered how to progress from there.

  4. I am a senior rider (28) I have never raced cross before and don’t have a racing licence. What events can you recommend? Can I just enter on the day. Thank you

    1. I would suggest you try the novice race first. No licence required and cheaper. You will be racing with the youth category and they get points for their race so you need to ensure you don’t interfere with them. If anyone is coming to lap you, they will shout on your right if passing on the right etc. Just allow them to do so and have fun.

  5. In the fall of 2016 I might be studying in Sheffield and I would like to ride some crosses, but I am Dutch, would it be required to get a British license or can I ride on a dutch license? And if yes, which?

  6. Hello, for the summer series what Racing license do i need? Could i go to the races with the provisional race license?

  7. Hi Are novices welcome to ride in the North of England Championship event in York on 4th December? Is there a separate novice event, novices in with the Youth’s or no Novice race at this event? I’m 32 and haven’t ridden Cross before.

    Also can my 7 year old daughter ride in the U8 category if she hasn’t ridden Cross before too?


    1. Really sorry we didn’t reply James but only just shown on WordPress comments. Best way to contact us is via Yorkshire Cyclo Cross email or Facebook. There is nothing to stop novices riding in this event but not wise due to inexperience as it is a championship. Novices are in with the vet 45+ for our YCCA series events. Under 12s can always just ride irrespective of experience.

  8. Hi – I’m keen to come along for the Stocksbridge race as a novice – do I need a race licence from British cycling?



  9. Hi – ive don’t quite a bit of road riding but would love to try cross. Do you get “pulled” if you get lapped – or are you able to finish the event (for 1 hour-is)

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