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Cyclo-Cross is one of the most accessible forms of cycle-sport, where virtual beginners can find themselves racing against national champions. As long as you are riding in your correct age category you will be pitched in with a wide range of abilities. Local races have a relaxed, informal atmosphere and entries are normally taken on the day. Mountain bikes are welcome at most races and the non-technical nature of the courses means that almost anyone can take part and enjoy a race.

Cyclo-Cross races are usually multi lap events, held on short courses of between 2.5km to 3.5km, generally in public parks or on school playing fields. 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.

There are separate races for younger riders, Under-12 and Youth (Under 16 & 14), with a reduced entry fee and race duration up to 15 and 30 minutes respectively. Senior races last an hour, so taking part doesn't require a mammoth commitment to hours of training. Having said that, the best riders are wonderful athletes, combining endurance and a high level of skill.

Cyclo-Cross bikes often make excellent winter training or utility bikes, with their wide range of gears, so forking out for one often increases your cycling options. Many Road and Mountain Bike competitors use Cyclo-Cross to maintain their fitness during the winter and there is considerable overlap in riders in these disciplines.

There is no requirement to hold a British Cycling Licence or Membership. All you require is an off-road bicycle, appropriate clothing and a cycle helmet. Sign-on, line up and enjoy. We hope to see you at an event this season.