No brakes, fixed wheel and riding on a wooden track with a 45-degree slope at each end. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, touch wood, nothing yet. I started riding on the track about 6 months ago when a good mate of mine managed to persuade me into going along with him to a taster session. Now, I’ve been riding bikes for over 20 years and the moment just before we set off for the first time I was extremely nervous. More so than I’d ever been while on two wheels.
Just keep peddling, just keep peddling. That was all that was going through my head when I started riding around the track. The only time I didn’t think about peddling was when I was going round the bend and happen to spot the ‘wall’ of wood next to me. Yep, that would be the 45-degree slope at each end of the track.
Now, I know that when you watch track cycling on TV or see it through pictures the track doesn’t look that bad but when you get up close and personal, it’s, for lack of a better word scary. Especially with the daunting fact that in a few moments you’re going to be riding on it.
On reflection, this is possibly not selling this flavor of riding to you in the slightest. But, having said that I would encourage anyone and everyone who has ever considered it to give it a try. I will never forget the rush of adrenaline I got the first time I completed a full lap of the track and full speed. It’s an experience like no other version of cycling. You’re indoors for one, there is no wind, oh and did I mention you have no brakes? You’ve always got to be ready, thinking about the riders around you, what you’re going to do if they suddenly change direction. Do you know if there is someone behind you?
It seems such an odd thing that riding around in the same direction repeatedly can cause so much fun. Especially when there is a big group of riders and you and may or may not be having a race. Fifth place wasn’t so bad for my first attempt and yes, there were more than five of us.
Now that I’ve successfully passed my accreditation I can now go to the track when I want…ish. More like when the Velodrome has a drop-in session running, which unfortunately is between 7 and 9 am and therefore means a quick spin before work. Now that’s dedication. I’m hoping to attend a few of the Structure Quality Training sessions (SQTs) soon when I’m a little more confident.
Like I said earlier if you ever get the change or just fancy having a go take the opportunity and find your closest velodrome. It’s such good fun. Maybe I’ll even see some of you.
Until next time.