Sep '15 22
category: feuilleton

Winter is coming - cross country time

If you know who Sven Nys is, Klaas Vantornout, Lars van der Haar or at least you think that these are not the names of Belgian chocolates, then this entry is probably not for you. You probably already know that you like mud and laundry. It means mud, sandpits, jumping on puddles, and all the big boys like playing with friends, but not everyone can explain it sensibly to family and friends. However, there is a bike that solves these problems. And in an hour. An hour in hell.


"There's something for everyone in 'cross. Where road racing may seem intimidating with its tactics and road rash, 'cross is simple and anything goes.'

~ Tim Johnson

The summer is not over yet, and here it is already about the winter - the entry was planned for October, but the sooner I can convince anyone to travel, the better. Buying a bike is a difficult thing, and on the fingers of one hand you can count stores in Warsaw, where they are available from the hand, and in the sought size and color, it is almost impossible. Well, unless we like black and gray. The Allegro is also empty, even the German eBay is not much better, and with each week will be even harder. Therefore, the sooner we start the search the better. I am announcing the campaign: TURN EVERYTHING AND COME TO CHANGE! The coming year will be a breakthrough in my opinion. Looking at how many friends are currently looking for a cross-country, how many profiles on Facebook started to post information about this sport, how comfort begins to play an important role in cycling, I unequivocally state: here is the ERA TRANSCH.


One to rule them all

One bike for commuting and commuting (however it may be called in Polish), for the winter, when snow falls, mud for neck, for a ride with a girl to the forest, for racing with boys, for a journey of infinites with panniers, for a wall in a large room. You can become a Kenyan runner and like Forrest G. everywhere, run from the day when you made such a sad decision, thinking endlessly how to solve this problem. You can also buy one bike for everything. A bike slower on asphalt from the road, slower than MTB in the field and less convenient in the city than the city - sounds like a sensible compromise. In reality, however, it is a bit different, because it's the best bike for me to cut through when we have to limit ourselves to one.


Pass and road: 1cm of rubber always makes a difference

Cross this road, just a little different. Although at first glance, not much differs, it is enough to drive several kilometers to notice the difference. It's not just about tires, but the wheels are the same.

Another geometry of the bike, forcing a slightly more "loose position", and thus - the ride is a bit more resistant and less agile. In everyday driving it does not bother (and maybe even in many situations helps), but with faster street criteria it can be bothersome. The lower saddle, the more horizontal and shorter upper tube, the greater the distance between the wheels, makes the bike more stable and comfortable when jumping off and wearing it on the shoulder. It is worth going through such an invention before buying, to know what to be prepared and do not experience the surprise profession.


Cyclocross is Fight Club with Bikes

~ sipclipandgo


Tires and wheels - endurance, weight, number of spokes. It will pass through mud, obstacles, stairs and lack of grip. Rubber, although of course bigger than on the road, are still more like trekking ones with additional tread. Low pressure, which allows you to stay in the vertical a little longer, forces the professionals to use tubeless or tubeless sets.

Other brakes - Cantilevery, which slowly fall into oblivion, slower clogged up with mud. Now virtually all better passes are equipped with shields.

Buttonhole holes and various other holes - from my point of view, a key problem. Due to the specifics of the ride I pass, many frames have a handle only for one bottle, but the local bicycle service will certainly gladly solve this problem using a drill. It is also worth looking at the possibility of mounting any panniers or trunks, if you plan to delve into the subject of tourism.

Gear ratios - in the winter I am the king of mountains. Gliczarów, Pitoniówka - I drive everything in the yard, sitting in the saddle. Only that it is slow - so slow that the road would turn over, but here the wide tires keep me vertical. Small shields at the front and a large cassette, it is a duty in cross-country. It's not often that you see cross-country vehicles traveling over 40km / h.

Cross instead of MTB

NO. In principle, I could finish the topic on this. You can, of course, ride more than one Mazovia marathon on the cross, losing small fragments of wrist bones, you can even get to the top of the table, but let's be honest, riding MTB marathons is really a goal. Tourism, which requires a bit of a heavier terrain, or even riding on the roots, is definitely less pleasant without shock absorbers.




Cross instead of the highway

Here we come to the clue of the entry. Replacing tires (in fact wheels, more sensible) we get a virtually full-fledged road bike. If we only accept the slightly impaired appearance of the bike and its inferior aero properties (bigger clearances between the pipes) then we have two in one. Many times I saw people entering the boxes of amateur road racing, also the larger ones, who rode cross-country bikes, equipped with road wheels and with a changed top at the front. How this system works in practice, we hope to test in the next few months, if we can finally find the ones we are looking for. I will say it straight - if I had to have one bike - it would be cross-country. 100%, preferably with the second set of wheels ... and pedals - SPDs work better in the dirt. Between MTB pedals and road pedals in difficult conditions, the difference is that the first ones work. This is quite important property.




I see cross-country, I think ...

I am thinking of Zygmut Chajzer and the washing powder he is advertising. Because cross it up mud, snow, falls and sand. Torn clothes, battered legs, tens of thousands of fans on the route (* applies to Belgium) and an hour of driving in a circle after a short, about 3 km, loop. The first question that comes from new people is: how many rounds are going. The first question and an error - in crossings nothing is easy, you start the race and do not know how much you have to go through ... because all in all you need to know how far you get, what matters is how long it takes. Therefore, the referees determine after the first two laps how many times the cyclists will go round, so that the race lasts an hour. Makes sense. It's easy to get to the finish.


Tactics, rules, three kilos of recipes

This is a thick topic. When can you drink, how to use the pit stops (which usually come down to quick replacement of the entire bike), how much can you afford to fight with your elbows, how to overcome dozens of different, artificially built obstacles, can you start on MTB? These are topics for the upcoming fall / winter season.




How to start playing? Welcome to Hell.

Buy cross country. Join one of the cross-country groups on the internet, for example: RAM ARM FOR THE CYCLOCROSS WARSAW or go to some kind of competition, eg from the cycle An hour in hell. If you have not put down your bike yet, go and look at it, or take MTB. There is probably no more spectacular cycling competition. There are probably no slower cycling events. There is also no other sport in which you can see the player with his head in the mud so often. Watch a few movies on the net, for example from GCN, guys explain how to get on a bike, dismount, drive on the sand, overcome obstacles. Until I got on CX, I did not think I could do all these elements so much.


Drop everything, stay a tourist!

Overcome this is not just suffering. Just like a road it's not just racing. The problem is that when driving on a road, even across Poland, in several seasons you already have the majority of the most interesting routes. I do not know about you, but while crossing the majority of known loops (Beskidy, Tatry, etc.) I pass hundreds of paths - even, but still gravel or sandy, and I wonder where they are leading. And yes, you can probably cross them on the highway - but why? It is certainly better to drive them over the road than at all, but that's why it was created for the cross-country. For this, and for riding in the winter! If I had to count how many times the previous winter had turned into an icy descent in the Tatra Mountains, I would run out of hands. How many times did I move my bike through snow drifts, how many times I rode sitting on the frame and holding my legs on the ground, how many times I said goodbye when the brakes stopped braking or the wheels lost their grip for the whole kilometer, how many times I rode on the back faster than the bike that was left follow me. The cross, even chunky, on the equipment which is not very bad during operation in the mud gives new possibilities. Because remember, buying a bike, especially off-road, for which regular servicing can not afford us or stress us too much, does not make sense. I could write for hours about how good it is to ride on dirt. How cool it is to melt in the snow, thawing your fingers, destroying blood vessels on your face, getting dressed in 15 layers, triple washing clothes, cleaning your apartment and cleaning your bike, but that does not make sense. Every time I look at old photos, it reminds me why I am waiting so much for severe weather conditions. For a time when every cyclist encountered on the road is definitely passionate about and a hero in his home.


Below are a few reasons why you should take a cross.


Roads that were previously not very interesting are becoming completely different:


But so different. Sometimes, as if taken out of a fairy tale about the Snow Queen:


Winter is the only chance to get an unprofessional Gypsy from the back and steal a hanging carpet ... or pants. For all these attempts to put a stick into the spokes.


The cross is an indestructible bike, but let us remember not to buy one that we can not afford, because too much worrying about the equipment will take all the fun. How to play it all over, just like this lady from the blue car:


You will turn away. Not once and not two. Fortunately, your colleagues will also turn over, and this is much more fun. There is nothing better than seeing a cyclist with his face in the sand. Accidents rarely end badly because it usually goes soft.


It's terrible late autumn. Especially when the route goes down longer than you planned, and you do not have lighting with you.


Driving on the snow you'll get a great driving technique.


And over the ice ... the perfect technique of falling.


Cross-country bikes are often red, because with the right amount of snow it's really easy to lose them:


And we've got a lot of great routes under the nose.







And when you get bored of everything, you can always drop everything and make a snowman:



Due to the fact that it is currently autumn, all photos come from winter in the 2014/2015 season.


About the Author:
Every day I work in IT: I restart servers, I click on things and I ask if it has already been repaired. I spend my free time with friends on cycling. We visit the best parties, overcome the most spectacular routes, we ride in the toughest races. Blog allows me to develop my passion and describe the best of adventures, so that you do not have to repeat our mistakes. I am trying to stick to the unpopular rule that quality counts not quantity.