Even if the proliferation of UCI races here in the States may have had a trickle-down effect in reducing the number of high-speed dismounts at your local race, your ability to get on and off your bike at speed can still win you races, or at least save you from embarrassment or injury. Getting better takes proper technique and a lot of practice.
While nothing can replace a good clinic for proper instruction, only a lot of practice will get you comfortable with dismounting at full speed just a step before the barriers. This off-season is the time to build that confidence, and what better way to do so than practicing on your own set of barriers?
There are countless ways to build your own practice barriers, from sturdy full wooden barriers that can handle all your botched Jeremy Powers impersonations to ultra-portable but clumsy contraptions made from PVC pipes or artsy but flimsy “Horita-style” barriers built from wooden stakes and canvas.
Paul McCarthy of Cross Propz aims to bring durability and portability to ‘cross barriers with his portable PVC pipe barriers. They’re just like any other PVC pipe barrier except for one major difference: the pipes are connected with an internal shock cord, similar to modern tent poles. It’s a great invention that a cyclocrosser can appreciate. With the cord, they assemble in seconds—no need to locate “Pipe C” to insert into “Pipe A.” And when the inevitable misstep occurs and someone slams into a Cross Propz? They quickly come apart instead of breaking but are literally a snap to reassemble. It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that” inventions.
Good inventions typically come at a cost and the Cross Propz barriers are no exception. A single “Lightweight” barrier starts at $39.95, while the heavy-duty “Belgian” model costs 10 bucks more. Either barrier comes in its own stuff sack for easy portability. What other device can you buy for $40 that will help you gain precious seconds each lap (beyond a pressure gauge)?
Volume discounts for you or your team may be possible—McCarthy ran a fall special that got you three barriers for $100.
Testers: Wednesday Night Worlds Racers
MSRP: $39.95 and up
More info: crosspropz.com
This review was originally published in Issue 8 (sold out in print, but available in digital form).