The Variety of Bikes at Paris to Ancaster: A Photo Gallery

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Paris to Ancaster. © Cyclocross Magazine

From mountain to ’cross, Paris to Ancaster bikes ran the full gamut. © Cyclocross Magazine

After finishing the Paris to Ancaster ride, it was hard to decide exactly what kind of bike would be the ideal for the 70 kilometer course that was largely road and gravel but with a few intense sections of singletrack and mud chutes better suited for a mountain bike than a road bike. The muddy bikes in the courtyard at the finish line were all shapes and styles—as you can see in the photo above. While mountain and ’cross reigned, even a few road bikes could be spotted.

All of the podium placers were on ’cross bikes, but for the more casual rider, a mountain bike may have even been a better option, especially on some of the steeper climbs. However, for speed, a ’cross bike was the way to go, since a road bike was too apt to suffer from flats or clog up on the technical sections.

“No one has won on a mountain bike for quite some time,” contender Peter Glassford says. “The speed at the front is around 33 kilometers per hour, and for most people, riding a mountain bike at 33 KPH is pretty ridiculous: It just lacks the gearing [on the high end] and is a limiter in terms of rolling resistance. The time spent on off-road trail, even for the amateur, isn’t a significant contributor to the overall race time.”

Click through to see a few of the bikes we spotted after the race!

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Mark Kang
Mark Kang

That is one sweet Bontrager frame.


Have to agree with Peter ... the ideal bike is a cross bike or something like a Ritchey that you can stuff 30mm tires into.  If you are not on the pointy end, by the time you get to the mud chutes they are ankle deep and either peanut butter or soup.  The fastest way to get through most of them is to shoulder and run - that is a big ask with a mountain bike!  The key is SHOULDER.  The one chute I did not do this (the famous Powerline) I picked up enough mud on the bike to (a) make it weigh 35lbs and (b) require 3-4 minutes clearing crap at the bottom before I could ride again.

I have ridden on both a single speed and geared bike and would say that with the exception of the Martin Street hill at the end, everything else is ridable with pretty standard gearing - it will hurt on a few but it id doable.  The real challenge is some of the soft fields you have to ride - they are soul sucking.  Martin St is hell at the end of the day and on a single speed I have never made it up the steep ramp ... but it is doable on a 36x25 or 28 even for the average guy or gal (okay, the 25 is pushing it and a 34x28 or 32 would be more fun).

In the end, ride what you have ... suffer with your kindred souls and enjoy the Epic'ness of the day!  Nice writeup!

Reimund Orth
Reimund Orth

Whatever you ride,gooooooo ride your race.......

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