Think back to the summer, the 2016 Rio Olympics, the velodrome and the GB gold medal haul. It’s become a regular thing now to see the Union Jack flying high in an Olympic velodrome. All our ‘golden boys and girls’ have become household names; many have moved on from continually turning left and have become champions on the road. And it’s all down to those velodromes, which are now popping up all over the place. No longer just shallow, outdoor bowls, but proper indoor tracks.
But it wasn’t that long ago that we struggled internationally and our tracks were forgotten and forlorn. However, this has changed with Olympic success and with the UCI awarding the 2019 Road World Cycling Championships to Yorkshire, the UK government has committed to invest £24 million into the event, £15 million of which will be used to develop twenty-seven cycle-sport facilities.
This means even more cycle sport facilities being built for the next generation of cyclists. Not just velodromes, closed cycle circuits are bound to figure in the plans. If you look at many venues, they are multi-use with road, mtb, bmx and cyclo-cross being catered for. Throw in changing rooms, a cafe, workshop and bike shop and you have a facility that can be used by all. Parents will bring their children down to ride, away from the ‘dangers’ of the road. Some may go on to race, and a few may go on to sporting greatness!
This has always been the case with the track. Coaches are on hand to teach new riders and spot new talent. Parents are happy their kids are doing something active in a safe environment and the kids are happy to be riding their bikes! If you look at many of our top riders, they have come from a track background and we’ve got to be thankful for all those unpaid club coaches who spotted and guided them in their early years; without them our medal haul would be a lot smaller.
So if you’re track-curious, maybe you should take a look at the Ribble Cycles Velodrome map. The Lancashire based firm – who have been around since 1897 – took a look at the UK’s tracks and highlighted those where some of our biggest names like Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Kenny, Bradley Wiggins and Becky James started off.
When talking about the map Matthew Lawson, Chief Marketing Officer at Ribble Cycles said, “With the buzz around British cycling still circulating from the Rio Olympics, we think it’s important to show just how much the UK has to offer in terms of training space for cyclists.”
He continued, “Whether it’s your first time on the track or you’ve been using your local velodrome for years, we hope this research encourages Brits to visit some of the UK’s finest velodromes where so many cycling stars have been in the past.”
Have a read of their Guide to Britain’s Best Velodromes to help hone your choice.
If you’ve never ridden on a track, maybe this is the year to try? I first rode on a track back in the 70’s, on the now demolished Paddington track in London. Since then I’ve always ridden on outdoor, concrete tracks such as Welwyn Garden and Herne Hill, so when I finally got to ride on a proper wooden indoor track at the Olympic velodrome, I was blown away. The feeling of riding on a velodrome is so unlike road riding. With no traffic, hills or turns to slow you down, it’s a stripped down, pure experience. Throw in the adrenaline rush of racing, or the thrill of riding behind a derny, and you’ll be hooked.
Unlike the ‘good old days’ you can’t just turn up and ride. You’ll have to book accreditation rides and jump through a few hoops before you’re considered safe on the boards, but it will be worth it. Expect a wait to get on those courses though, especially at the indoor tracks. Demand is high as track is having a boom, with race leagues running all year. But stick with it and you’ll be flying up and down the banking like a pro wondering why you didn’t try it earlier!
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|Ribble Cycles||AW Cycles||Biketart||Cycle Surgery|
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