2013 World Championship-winning Sven Nys' Colnago Cross Prestige. © Cyclocross Magazine

2013 World Championship-winning Sven Nys’ Colnago Cross Prestige. © Cyclocross Magazine

If you’re a first-timer or consider yourself a newbie, don’t feel like a ’cross-specific bike is absolutely mandatory in order to race. It’s far from the truth. But be warned that ’cross is extremely addicting, so it’s not our fault if you find yourself adding another member to your family of bikes.

In order to justify your new bike, though, don’t be afraid to ride whatever you’ve got in your current stable. See this Question of the Week for more info on setting your non-cyclocross bike up for a ’cross race. Test the waters before you commit to buying a rig of your own, though we’re willing to bet that you’ll be heading to the bike shop to get your first ’cross bike soon enough.

Another option is stealing your buddy’s ’cross or mountain bike from his garage when he’s not looking—you break it, you buy it, though. Many ’cross racers would be happy to let you take a spin on one of their ‘B’ bikes if it helps get your toes in the mud. Once you crash a few times, you’ll know why you weren’t allowed to use an ‘A’ bike.

Get schooled in cyclocross with our Cyclocross Academy class list here, and make sure you’re subscribed to Cyclocross Magazine, your guide for getting into the sport, and upping your ’cross knowledge. Not subscribed yet? For the newbies, our Issue 21 has a great feature on buying your first cyclocross bike, and Issue 22 has a story on how to get into racing and what to expect at your first race.