Barbie, Beetlejuice and bikes: The best costumes from Herne Hill Halloween cyclo-cross race

Rapha-sponsored event brought spine-chilling racing back to South London

A rider in fancy dress at Muddy Hell 2022
(Image credit: Honor Elliott)

Herne Hill Velodrome, one of cycling’s most mythical venues, played host to a “spooktacular” cyclo-cross event over the weekend. 

After a 10-year hiatus, Muddy Hell returned to the calendar on Saturday, with Halloween-themed bike racing descending on South London.

The Rapha-sponsored event saw riders don their best fancy dress and take on a seasonal cyclocross course, complete with its own pumpkin patch. After the under-12 and youth races, night fell on the velodrome, giving the elite competitors the added obstacle of racing through the darkness. 

At the side of the course, WorldTour riders Ethan Hayter and Fred Wright cheered them on. The duo, both alumni of Herne Hill, used to race alongside each other for local team VC Londres. 

Here are five of the best costumes from Saturday’s races, as captured by photographer Honor Elliott, who herself dressed up as a snail. 

Claire Beaumont of Condor Cycles dressed up as Barbie

(Image credit: Honor Elliott)

Condor Cycles marketing manager Claire Beaumont proved with her expertly crafted Barbie box that the best costumes often just require cardboard, scissors and some creativity.

It might not be the most aero outfit, but what it loses in drag efficiency, it certainly makes up for in style. 

A rider in fancy dress at Muddy Hell 2022

(Image credit: Honor Elliott)

Either this image was taken early in the race, or that is some industrial-standard face make-up. 

Let's be honest, if this Beetlejuice impersonator really wanted to win they could just ask a friend at the finish to say their name three times.

A rider in fancy dress at Muddy Hell 2022

(Image credit: Honor Elliott)

Cycling has long been a sport that glorifies human pain. Earlier this year, Groupama FDJ's Lewis Askey was lauded on social media for riding over 150km at Paris-Roubaix with blood gushing from his knee. 

It would be strange, though maybe not implausible, to see a rider remount their bike with a giant axe in their back.

A rider in fancy dress at Muddy Hell 2022

(Image credit: Honor Elliott)

According to Greek mythology, anyone who gazes into the eyes of Medusa turns to stone. 

I fear this rider's steely look might have the same effect.

A rider in fancy dress at Muddy Hell 2022

(Image credit: Honor Elliott)

Professional cyclists are often told not to take fluids from fans at the roadside - for fear of ingesting something they shouldn't. At Muddy Hell, however, it's advised. 

On Saturday, "spooktators" handed out "mystery shots" to those competing, giving them a much-needed boost. Sadly for this rider, it looks like he missed the feed zone. 

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tom Davidson
News and Features Writer

Tom joined Cycling Weekly as a news and features writer in the summer of 2022, having previously contributed as a freelancer. He is the host of The TT Podcast, which covers both the men's and women's pelotons and has featured a number of prominent British riders. 

An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Tom likes it most when the road goes uphill and actively seeks out double-figure gradients on his rides. 

He's also fluent in French and Spanish and holds a master's degree in International Journalism.