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recreational 'cross?(27 posts)

recreational 'cross?damon
Nov 24, 2003 5:19 PM
I've recently moved up to Vancouver, BC, and in going around to bike shops and asking if there is any sort of 'cross scene, i pretty much get the same answer: "no".

Up here, 'cross seems to be off-season roadies only... just on their "dirt" bikes enough for the races. I never really sought out riders down in california, but can't remember seeing too many other 'crossers, either (but i know the existed, for sure!)... Is this really predominately a race activity (something i don't really do), or are there many other recreational riders getting out there just for the fun of it, and not for the competition or personal bests?

I guess my bianchi is feeling a little out of place in the land of 8" hucking bikes *or* pimpy gucci road bikes (not a whole lot of middle ground, really).
Poor bike. There, there... it'll be ok. I still like you. It's not easy being green, is it?
No Such Thing. 'Cross is about pain.ElvisMerckx
Nov 25, 2003 7:45 AM
A 'cross rig is not built for comfort, it's built for speed. I do plenty of rec rides on my road bikes and mountainbikes, but I've NEVER hopped on the 'cross bike for fun -- just racing a training.
Celeste!!! (nm)TFerguson
Nov 25, 2003 8:50 AM
sshhhh... it's in a room full of mtbs... it wants to be tough!damon
Nov 25, 2003 12:02 PM
Celeste is *not* tough, even if it is italian, and even if they have the mafia...
that's mostly what I dolaffeaux
Nov 25, 2003 9:26 AM
My 'cross bike saw about 1,500 miles this past year. This included 5 races (a total of maybe 4 hours of riding). The rest of the miles were cruising around miles - most on the road, but many off-road.

I don't think that there are a lot of people that use there bike that way, but there are some.
re: recreational 'cross?JS Haiku Shop
Nov 25, 2003 10:19 AM
everyone races for different reasons.

this year i am not competitive in "B", am too competive for "C", and 'cross season finds me burned-out and on the downside of "form". so, i'm out there for some soul searching, and some good, clean (dirty) fun.

not sure if your question goes for the utility of a 'cross bike, but i'd have to disagree with Elvis the Pelvis (TCB baby!) in the purpose of a 'cross bike. my cross-check isn't atypical, and i've ridden it on my longest one-day road rides (400k brevet in april 2003 = 250 miles), with much comfort and "pleasure".

where each bike in my shop has a specific reason for being, the cross-check is a catch-all that can literally do anything that the rest can, and then some. the bike sees a few 'cross races each year, then does double duty as brevet bike, rain ride, sherpa/mountain goat (gears!), trainer bike, and beater.
...but I'm guessing you didn't do that brevet on knobbies!ElvisMerckx
Nov 25, 2003 11:14 AM
I concur, JS, a cross bike with road tires makes a perfect touring bike. But that wasn't his question.

He asked about recreational 'cross -- I pictured a leisurely trot over some barriers and coasting along pleasantly over a rain-slicked off-camber grass berm, then a cozy little mud run-up followed by a stroll through some peaceful, beach-like sand.

Sorry, but 'cross is not recreational. And touring is not 'cross.
Yeah, see... that's the racer in you...damon
Nov 25, 2003 11:59 AM
I guess i should have more clearly spelled out what i meant by recreational cross (and this certainly doesn't apply to everyone).

Say some trail is maybe 15-20 miles away via bike paths or the unavoidable road, and you decide you want to get out there sans infernal combustion (and i hope we all do!). So you grab your trusty cross bike - the wonderful all-rounder it is. Hit the pavement first, then after the leisurly (?... you didn't really have to sprint for that light, did you?) ride to the trail, you drop out of the big ring and into the granny and start grinding up that slope, cresting that hill in that all-too-hard gear (and mine is a relatively wussy 34/28). Stop, take a look around at the beautiful scenery...
Really soak it in...
Then head back down the other side, jumping waterbars, floating over that rough washed out section, and generally bouncing all over the place.
That was fun.

Now just bring it on home. The type of tires doesn't *really* matter, just the freedom to do whatever, right? And on a bike that *likes* to do whatever...

That's not pain, bro, that's fun! It sounds like it isn't too common, though, eh? Is it even 'cross?

Hope that doesn't sound like i am preaching, or anything. Just a different perspective, i guess. Anyway, many people do *that* on a regular basis? :-)

A lot of it is location too . . .ElvisMerckx
Nov 25, 2003 12:42 PM
Most of the mountainbike trails around NoVa have too many exposed roots and softball-sized rocks to be enjoyed on a 'cross bike, and the roads are so nice you wouldn't want to roll across them on knobbies.
That is the bestest kind of riding in the worldpauly
Nov 25, 2003 1:35 PM
Uncle Pauly's recipe for happiness: Ride yer bike any damn place you want to. Little bit of dis, little bit of dat. Long, aimless rides defying categorization. If you're so inclined, you can take off all those silly gears and move one step closer to Nirvana. Race once or twice a year to stay humble.
you've obviously seen my work!cyclochip
Nov 25, 2003 12:20 PM
a leisurely trot over some barriers and coasting along pleasantly over a rain-slicked off-camber grass berm, then a cozy little mud run-up followed by a stroll through some peaceful, beach-like sand

You just described my racing style!
Comedy gold! (nm)ElvisMerckx
Nov 25, 2003 12:44 PM
...but I'm guessing you didn't do that brevet on knobbies!JS Haiku Shop
Dec 1, 2003 8:34 AM
your description sounds like what i'd guess 'cross is like on the sunny left coast in "winter". :)
I second this!PmbH
Nov 25, 2003 11:15 AM
My interest was in cross bikes long before I tried cross racing. A cross bike can be a great all-purpose bike for road, dirt trails, commuting, etc. and that was my attraction at first. I bought a cross bike for its function, then afterwards made the decision to race cross.

Take your beloved Bianchi out for mountain bike rides! Create your own recreational cross scene. Perhaps if you smoke your MTB'ing buddies up a few hills, they'll buy cross bikes as well :-)
vancouver here as wellCrank-a-Roo
Nov 25, 2003 12:00 PM
Most people don't see 'cross as a recreational thing, but it can be done minus the barriers. I take mine off the beaten path aswell. It is not a full on mountain bike, but it can get the job done when you are riding fast gravel/fire road.

Then again, there are not many places that are good for 'crossing either. But I do manage to get my 'cross bike to taste dirt most of the time. If you have time and don't mind the cold and give me a shout.

vancouver here as welldamon
Nov 25, 2003 12:11 PM
Sweet! I'm down here in kitsilano, pretty close to UBC, which i have yet to hit because all my new mtb friends like "more challenging" trails indicative of the area.

I'm totally down with the rain and the wet.

check your mail...
road commute to dirt trail...atpjunkie
Nov 25, 2003 9:16 PM
actualy how my cx commute is (by choice) 22-24 miles (route depending) each way combo of road, fire road, single track and if I'm feeling sparky, bootleg sprints across rolling grass hills around Mission Bay. I also do 'adventure rides' which combine road and lite mtb trails. no wheelie drops or rock gardens, just fun dirt trails to carve on the skinnies. I find 'rec cx' especially fun when you and a few pals in bibs and jersey's blow by some armored fully riders in the dirt. I ride my cx bikes probably more than my others as I find them great commuters, and sometimes just more 'fun' off road than my MTB. reminds me of the pre suspension days when you had to 'pick a line'.
road commute to dirt trail...wily in pacifica
Nov 26, 2003 10:59 AM
I use my Cross bike as my commuter. There are a few trails along my route so can jump on one if I have a few extra minutes either way.

I have taken my digital camera with me twoce to take pictures on my route only to find the battery low each time. I am still determined to do a ride report but the first half is in the dark.

Here is a picture of my bike all set up with fenders and lights and another of the GG Bridge before the battery went dead.

Willy in Pacifica
road commute to dirt trail...wily in pacifica
Nov 26, 2003 11:00 AM
GG Bridge just as the sun comes up
Try the trans-canada trail, or any rails-to-trails...Spunout
Nov 26, 2003 4:55 AM
true, cross is about pain. But, you have a great comfortable bike that can go anywhere, so go everywhere! Load it up with fenders and a Bob trailer, or strip it for a four hour ride of singletrack and fireroads.

Best yet, put skinny road tires on, leave on the fenders, and show up for a club ride with the 'A' group and take them to school!
I ride mine like a mountain bikePirateGirl
Nov 26, 2003 11:39 AM
There's a trail here in Tucson known as Fantasy Island that's all singletrack. This is my favorite trail to ride on the CX bike. I'm amazed at how rutted and steep downhills this bike can handle. It's great to pass by the mountain bikes stopped at the top of some of the hills as they contemplate going down. "Excuse me...on your left" I say in my girlie voice, and proceed down the hill with the CX bike (I can feel their stares on my back when I do that). This bike can take some pretty heavy hits.

Of course, I still ride my MTB once in a while too. ;-)

Fantasy Islandatpjunkie
Nov 26, 2003 2:11 PM
was out there visiting and brought my cx bike. Rode there as well. great trail for a cx bike. especially that fast flat section that winds through all the cactus. Had a ball out there.
Nov 26, 2003 5:23 PM
I hardly ever ride my MTB there anymore. The CX bike is just too fun on that trail. Glad you had a chance to check it out, especially with a CX bike.

only if i have discovered 'cross bike soonerCrank-a-Roo
Nov 26, 2003 11:51 AM
I would have used a 'cross bike to race the mountain bike races @ Castiac Lake in the mid 90's. The course wasn't overly technical and it feature a hik a bike section. It would been perfect for a light weight cross bike.

I guess, if you are a moutnain biker, you tend to ride your cross bike on the dirt more often that you would, if you are more a roadie type. Am I right?
only if i have discovered 'cross bike soonerdamon
Nov 26, 2003 12:25 PM
Well, it is my only "road" bike, so it actually get a fair bit (majority) of pavement time. I just have no qualms jumping off curbs, hopping center divides, or taking it on the dirt. I guess i don't really know what the roadie types do with their cross bikes. I think it has something to do with b!tching about how much pain they cause, but i can't really be sure... ;-)

re: recreational 'cross?Chris T
Nov 28, 2003 8:57 AM

I'm also up in Vancouver (North Van), and can sympathize with your plight. Not sure if you went to the provincial or national races over near your area, but there from what I saw, there are quite a few cross racers and recreational guys out there.

I know exactly what you mean when you say a lot of people ride either there $5000 road bike or $5000 downhill rig, and nothing in between. However, as a regular commuter, I can tell you there are a fair number of cross bikes that get regular use on the roads.

If it helps, I'm looking into getting rid of my mountain bike and getting a cross bike. That's after years of living here. For what I like to do (lots of road miles, commuting in all the crap weather we get here, off-road riding on the lighter trails), it just makes sense. The mountain bike trails are getting to the point where full-suspension and full armour are necessities. If you start a recreational cross group, I'll join up!

On the topic of long cross rides on the pavement. Road tires are obviously a big help, but what are people's thoughts on the fork? I would think a carbon fork would be much better than the typical chromoly cross fork, or am I wrong?

re: recreational 'cross?damon
Dec 1, 2003 12:40 AM
I didn't make it to the races (only moved here recently... can i claim ignorance? Woulda been cool to see).

Regarding the recreational group, Crank-a-Roo and i actually hooked up for a ride out at SFU/Burnaby on saturday and had a great time. We'll be trying to get together more often (next saturday is planned, maybe?). Send me an e-mail, and we'll see if we can hook up, too. The more the merrier!

I don't really know about your carbon fork question, as i'll i've ever ridden is sweet, sweet, steel, and the funky alloy/steel/foam rubber/oil all-in-one squishy suspension. C-A-Roo uses a carbon fork, but i've always been happy with what i've had (can i claim ignorance, again?). Anyway, give me a shout at:

damoncampbell . at . yahoo . dot . com