Bringing a mini-velodrome to any street

London Bike Show and the Street Velodrome exhibit

Barry Sandland/TIMB – If children can learn to ride a bike on a balance bike, maybe this is an easier entry to track racing. Whatever gets them into the sport.

“It happens every two weeks or so. We go and set it up and it is done. We are just travelling up and down the country, finding new locations. And just like that, you are on a track. We give you a bike and a helmet. We’re travelling all over the country this year.”

Photographer’s notes: I was just inside the London Bike Show when I was captured by the first enticement. Just 20 meters and the visit had been brought to a standstill. It was the street velodrome project. Too inviting, too delicious to refuse. I was registered and ready to ride within minutes.

Street velodrome is a bike track that has been condensed to the bare minimum. Two very short straightaways with corners fresh from a Hot Wheels set. This is a piste that will fit into a parking garage, shopping mall, school playground, basketball court, or any other miscellaneous pace in your city.

The  Street Velodrome organisers at the London Bike Show provided bikes and helmets. All you have to bring is the courage to race along and hold the corner until the next straightaway.

It is simple. You can start slowly and get a feel for the track. No real chance of sliding down the bank. But it is trickier than a regular track to ride at speed, but far less intimidating than the vast walls of a professional track. At slow speeds, it is easy. No minimum speed required. Just move forward. The corner has the in and out within a five meter space. The banking gets steeper as you ride higher – and faster. And it takes a little getting used to in order to have real speed into the corner. But anyone with a smattering of track experience can do this easily. And any non-trackie, any kid who has not been taught what they cannot do,  just has to ride a few extra laps to get the feel. The organisers bring you along to make sure you are ready. Once you have the basics, they are there to tell you how to go faster.

I mean, there is no age limit. There were kids about six or seven doing the rounds and then a few guys who have a collection of vintage bikes in their garage were playing on the track just afterwards.

I want to see this in Belgium, this year. The Day Without Cars, or the MADBike events, or Velofollies come the winter. It looks like a perfect distraction.

If interested, read more about Street Velodrome on their website here…

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