So I always wanted to take up Track Cycling since getting into Fixed Geared bikes, you know Chris Hoy style on the velodrome etc, and now the perfect opportunity has arisen..
As part of some initiative to get more people involved in cycling, Bournemouth Council are subsidising a free 6 week Track Cycle Training for those aged between 18-25. The sessions started last week and it’s pretty awesome to be honest…!
I’m sure you’ve seen it on TV, but trust me the Velodrome is spectacular in person – the bankings are SO steep! How can a bike move so fluently at that kind of angle? Crazy!
Anyway, myself, Jacob and Stretch went along to the first session which was last week and it was really good fun. Jason Falconer ran us through the basics of the different lines on the track and what they’re for, riding in tandem and swapping positions and even cycling three abreast on the banking. Basic Track Bike control was kind of missed off as we’re all already used to riding fixed bikes, but that can be covered too if you’re a beginner!
I was quite nervous to begin with tbh as I’ve previously come off, on more than one occasion, on the banking when I tried it out on my Langster but was assured that the bikes we hired (Dolan Pre Cursa’s, available on site) were designed purely for using round the track. The cranks are measured at 165mm and will never hit the floor as you go round, plus the Bottom Bracket is placed higher on these, whereas I’m not so sure they are on the ol’ Langster. Want to know something cool? I came off on my bike due to the cranks being measured at 170mm. So that 5mm difference was all it took. Madness!
Once we got the hang of things it was pretty good going, such a good workout considering all you’re doing is cycling round an oval but it really can be brutal – my legs were literally burning so bad at one point that I nearly stopped. I just love how precise everything is though… I don’t want to sound like I’m making excuses, but here’s a few things I noticed… Last time I came, amongst skidding on my face, I had bad flat spots on my rear tyre (TOO MANY RADICAL SKIDS YO) which I would never have noticed riding on the streets. But come here and all of a sudden, I was bobbing up and down every few meters like a mad man. And the Wind!! There was none, seemingly, when sat on the grass having a quick briefing on what the training will entail, however after a few laps you hit the home stretch and BAM, headwind in your face which feels like your father strangling you as you try to run away. I honestly have a new found respect for the sport and really encourage you to come along, if you’re local, and experience it for yourself.
As said this is one off free training sessions which lasts up to 6 weeks and the more people that get involved, the more the Council will endorse these types of things so it’s a win win really. At the end I’m pretty sure you get a Velo license too!
Slades Farm Velodrome
Thursdays (Running 21 August to 25 September – subject to change though, weather pending and also if you start in week 3 perhaps?!)
6pm meet for 6:30pm start!
Massive thanks to Jason Falconer who does the coaching, Bournemouth Cycling Centre and also those who made it possible.
See you Thursday hopefully!