There is debate over the official origin of the Cyclocross sport, but it appears to have developed out of traditional road racing in Europe somewhere around the turn of the 20th century. It has come a long way in the last century and has encountered many shifts and turns along the way, now recognised as a popular worldwide sport.
Development out of Road Racing
It is suggested that Cyclocross developed out of Road Racing in two main ways. Firstly, it emerged out of inter-town races between Road Cycling racers that involved having to climb over steeples and cycle on terrain other than pavement. Secondly, it gained speed and popularity because it provided an outlet for training in the winter months, and the difference in train allowed riders to hone their handling skills. Forcing riders to jump off and use their feet also kept them in shape and exercised different groups of muscles. Eventually, competitions began to take off locally and then nationally, before the sport had spread to other European countries and the rest of the world.
In 1950, a World Cup Championship was born, regulated by the UCI – as with many other international cycle sports. The sport has since spread to practically every corner of the globe. It reached the United States in the 1970s and has seen a steady growth ever since – the US now even has its own national championship and plays host to some of the country's biggest sporting events.
Cyclocross is enjoyed on an international level across a range of cultures and is the prime example of grass roots sport spirit. It took off simply because people had fun competing together.