Today was a interesting day for me this was my first time to a velodrome so I didn’t quite know what to expect. I’d booked the session during the week as I wanted to take part in the Beacon RCC track championship that was taking place later that day, but to do this I needed to get my stage 1 done and have a little bit of track experience behind me.
The session was an hour long taster session and there were about 12 people all together taking part, it’s a great way to have a go on the track and find out if its something you’d like to get into. I really enjoyed it I was a bit nervous at first as I’d never ridden a fixed wheel bike which is a experience in itself but then throw on top of that the fact that the bike has no brakes.
The session started off with teaching us how to mount and dismount the bike as the bike is fixed wheel its not as easy to get on and off like a normal bike. The rental bike I was using had Keto Look pedals which was great as they are the same I use on my road bike so I was able to use my shoes on the track.
After we had got to grips with mounting and dismounting we cycled around the bottom of the track the large blue area called the “Apron”, starting slowly we just got used to how the bike rode and how to speed up and slow down and to maintain a 2/3 bike distance between the person in front. From here we were allowed to progress onto the first part of the track named the “cote d’azur”, after a few laps we progressed onto the track itself. The track has a banked angle of 42% and standing next to it it’s quite scary to see it in person and thinking how am I going to go around this and not fall off.
As we were going around the bottom of the track we would occasionally have to move up to a higher portion of the track on the straight and then back down to the lower area on the bend to get us used to riding higher up, from here we progressed to taking the banking higher and higher until we were taking it up against the barrier. This was the scariest moment for me as you had to make sure you were keeping a constant pace above 14mph otherwise you’d end up sliding down the track, the other thing that was important to remember is to keep pedalling!! it was a great experience going round the bends at speed and at that elevation with that kind of banking.
To finish off the session we did played follow the leader which so we meant we had to follow the lead person out and follow where he went on the track, this allowed us the chance to do some close riding as we kept 2 bike lengths and it also gave us a chance to move up and down the track riding at different levels and increasing the speed we were going around the track.
I really enjoyed the hour we had and im going to book in for the stage 2 in the coming weeks as i’d like to give track racing a go of course that means i’d need a new bike 🙂