Sportive, Audax, Cyclo Cross... which Cycling Event is right for you?

23rd October 2020

With so many different types of Cycling Event how do you know what is right for you?

Well this guide will help you find out.

If you are itching to get an answer quickly, check out this simple summary showing what each event is about and the typical type of bike you would use, and then dive into the detail below for more info.

Be sure to let us know in the comments which Cycling Events you prefer and why!

 

Sportive

A Sportive is an organised event usually with a well marked route, feed stations and electronic timing aimed at all cyclists who want a good level of support with a strong social aspect

Road bike inc. Gravel, Hybrid

Audax

An Audax is a non-competitive long distance cycle ride where participants attempt to complete a route within set time limits by passing through certain check points.

Road bikes

Cyclo Cross

A Cyclo Cross event is a mass-start race mostly offroad over 30 to 60 minutes in duration across multiple laps of a course. Usually held in the Autumn/Winter season, the courses are technical and often have obstacles including barriers and sand pits to slow you down!

Cycle Cross bikes

MTB Orienteering / Trailquest

In MTB Orienteering, riders are given a map showing control points each with a different points value. In a set time limit, riders have to collect as many points as possible navigating their own way around and return to the finish.

Mountain Bikes

MTB Challenge

There is a vast range of Mountain Bike challenges making the most of the ability to travel over varied terrain including snow and sand!

Mountain Bikes

Criterium

A Criterium, or Crit for short, is a race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit with the length of each lap typically ranging from 400m to 10000m.

Road Bikes

 

Sportive

What is it: A Sportive is a mass-participation organised event usually with a well marked route, feed stations and electronic timing. 

Who is it good for: all cyclists who want a good level of support with a strong social aspect. Events often have multiple distance options and vary from family friendly to very challenging and some even have closed roads making them much safer for those attending.

Which bike: More often than not these events are aimed at road bike users, but that doesn’t mean other types of bike are necessarily unwelcome.

What to expect:

  • Marked routes often with marshalls at key points and GPS files available in advance for download onto your own device
  • Feed stations providing free drinks and food along the way
  • Electronic timing where a chip is embedded into your rider number meaning your overall time is recorded
  • Often some kind of results grading depending on your time achieved e.g. gold/silver/bronze
  • Professional photographs which you can then purchase afterwards
  • There will be an entry fee, typically £20+ 
  • Probably some kind of reward at the end, be it a medal or t-shirt
  • Support be that medical or recovery of you and your bike if there is a problem

 

You can search for your next Sportive on Wheeliegoodtours by clicking here.

 

Audax

What is it: An Audax is a non-competitive long distance cycle ride where participants attempt to complete a route within set time limits by passing through certain check points.

Who is it good for: more experienced and fitter cyclists as distances for the routes are typically over 200km long.

Which bike: More often than not these events are aimed at road bike users, but that doesn’t mean other types of bike are necessarily unwelcome.

What to expect:

  • You will typically need to maintain a minimum and maximum speed of 20km/h and 30km/h respectively
  • You will have to be self-supported, there will be no feed stations or mechanical support but you can stop along the way to rest or buy supplies
  • You will be given a Brevet card which is used to prove that you have passed through the multiple control points along the route usually by stamping the card

 

You can search for your next Audax on Audax UK by clicking here.

 

Cyclo Cross

What is it: A Cyclo Cross event is a mass-start race mostly offroad over 30 to 60 minutes in duration across multiple laps of a course. Usually held in the Autumn/Winter season, the courses are technical and often have obstacles including barriers and sand pits to slow you down!

Who is it good for: they are races so you will need a good level of fitness but there are age groups from juniors to veterans at each race

Which bike: Cyclo Cross specific bikes typically have road-style drop handlebars, disc brakes for the muddy conditions and wide knobbly tires for grip.

What to expect:

  • 30 to 60 minute events with technical courses and obstacles
  • An off-road well marked course, probably in a local park or wood
  • A competitive environment with a mass start
  • A packed schedule of events over the day so plenty to watch even when you aren’t racing
  • Lots of mud!

 

You can search for your next Cyclo Cross on the British Cycling website by clicking here.

 

MTB Orienteering / Trailquest

What is it: In MTB Orienteering, riders are given a map showing control points each with a different points value. In a set time limit, riders have to collect as many points as possible navigating their own way around and return to the finish.

Who is it good for: anyone with a keen interest in Mountain Biking and the knowledge of how to read a map!

Which bike: Mountain Bikes, either hard tail or full suspension as this will be a mostly off-road event.

What to expect:

  • Between 3 and 5 hours of self-supported, self-navigated mountain biking
  • A good social aspect at the start and finish area
  • The need to be able to read a map and judge distances and your own pace to collect as many points as possible
  • Varied terrain and awesome scenery
  • Food and drink at the finish line

 

You can search for your next MTB Orienteering event on the Body for Mountain Bike Orienteering website by clicking here.

 

MTB Challenges

What is it: There is a vast range of Mountain Bike challenges making the most of the ability to travel over varied terrain including snow and sand!

Who is it good for: anyone who likes to ride their Mountain Bike

Which bike: Mountain Bikes, either hard tail or full suspension as this will be a mostly off-road event.

What to expect:

  • Competitive and non-competitive events with a range of route options to challenge everyone
  • Mixed terrain including mountain, snow and sand
  • A great social aspect with festivals and food tents often accompanying the start and finish lines
  • Food and drink at the finish line

 

You can search for your next MTB Challenge on the British Cycling website by clicking here.

 

Criterium

What is it: A Criterium, or Crit for short, is a race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit with the length of each lap typically ranging from 400m to 10000m.

Who is it good for: competitive road cyclists looking to get their first taste of racing in a safe traffic-free environment

Which bike: Road bikes as this is about pure speed

What to expect:

  • A competitive mass-start event over multiple laps of a closed circuit
  • Multiple categories of racing depending on your Race Licence, from newcomers to seasoned professionals
  • A fast pace from the start with fast and controlled cornering
  • If it’s your first taste of racing, realising the importance of drafting and being able to corner quickly and safely
  • A few crashes, especially in the races aimed at newcomers and typically on the tight corners
  • Results and medals for the winners
  • Drinks and cake at the end

 

You can search for your next Criterium on the British Cycling website by clicking here.


So which one is it? Personally we like all of them, but if you had to choose your favourite, which would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments below!

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