Track racing is the oldest form of cycle racing (over 100 years). Velodrome tracks are specially built oval shaped and banked. They may be indoor or outdoor.
The bikes are fixed gear with drop bars and no brakes. Since the bikes are very simple, they are fairly cheap (a good bike is about £400 new but bargains can be found second hand).
The track experience provides:
- A very exhilerating ride
- A wide range of events (short/long; individual/team, and even unknown distances through elimination or the bell tells riders 1 lap to go)
- Spectator friendly and sociable (see the whole event)
- Traffic-free (but you can still fall off, of course)
- Difficult to get lost!
Clearly tracks are not found everywhere, like roads, but we have the following two within fairly easy range:
- Newcastle Track Cycling Association runs an outdoor track at Lyme Valley Parkway Stadium on the West of the A34 across from the North Staffs Hospitals complex. Due to the surface, this only operates in dry weather from early May to the end of August. Congleton CC is affiliated to NTCA. Several of our members (notably Tony Elliott and the Mulroys) are fairly frequent users of the Newcastle track. Sessions are provided for “freewheelers” (kids), training (all) and racing leagues. Bikes can be provided.
- The Velodrome at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester is an indoor track of the highest quality. Novices are taken through taster sessions (hired bikes and coaches) and then accreditation sessions to progress into training and racing. Congleton CC has held organised Track Evenings at Manchester Velodrome along the lines of a group taster session.
The internet provides quite a lot of information about velodromes (even how to build) and track racing for the keen student, but the following Wikipedia entry provides a useful understanding for preparation before your first experience or to help you follow track races on TV: Velodrome .