(If you know what cyclocross is, you can skip this first bit and start here. If you don’t know what Singapore is, perhaps you should skip both bits.)
Cyclocross is a type of bicycle racing invented by mad Belgians at around the turn of the 20th century. Most people enjoy riding bikes in the summer, when the days are long and the weather is pleasant. In the winter there weren’t races, until the Belgians realized it would be funny to make people ride gloriously unsuitable bicycles through brambly hedges and round muddy fields, until everyone collapsed from exhaustion.
Cyclocross races are never more than an hour in duration (why prolong the agony?) and the winner is the masochist who manages to do the most laps in that time. This is better than a road race, which takes all day, and is rubbish to spectate, because you’ll hang around for hours in order to catch one fleeting glimpse of some people wearing Lycra and grunting. Since cyclocross doesn’t require a long route, just a muddy field with lots of hedges and some broken wooden pallets to get in the way of the riders, the odd spectator (and you’d have to be quite odd) can see much more of the race, with all the opportunities to watch skin being flayed off by bramble hedges, exhausted riders falling off their bicycles into puddles of mud, and watch psychosis being induced by the constant ringing of a bell. Does that sound like fun? How could it not sound like fun, for participant and onlooker alike?
Traditionally, cyclocross races only admitted road bikes, with drop bars, rim brakes and skinny tyres, despite these being obviously unsuitable for riding off road. A mountain bike would be much more sensible, but then you wouldn’t have so much of the crashes/uncontrollable skidding into brambles/utter chaos that make cyclocross enjoyable. [To watch. If you’re a cruel Belgian aristocrat.]
An advantage of this is that you don’t need a special bike for cyclocross racing, you just find some extra-specially slippery tyres, some worn out brake pads, and your most knackered Lycra, and you’re ready to race. An hour later you can be down the pub drinking Belgian craft ale/down Accident & Emergency having brambles pulled out of your buttocks/at home drinking Stella Artois, because it’s Belgian, and not because you’re a terminal alcoholic.
To confuse matters, you can now race on mountain bikes (sometimes) and you can buy a dedicated cyclocross bike, but that’s not really in keeping with the spirit of the thing. But who am I to stand in the way of any cyclist who wants to buy another bike, just because to the non-cycling cognoscenti it’s utterly indistinguishable from every other bike they already own?