Start on a track and watch the ripples form

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Rider at Herne Hill

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – A view to cycling that adds to the fun

“I have a son racing in Europe right now. Sometimes we do not even know where he is. He works for British Cycling. His girlfriend is amazing. She took up cycling two years ago and rode the London six day and got  appearance money and all that. She is so good. It was amazing. Such an experience. The last day was fully sold out. Nice atmosphere.”

 

 

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One man’s best and worst of riding at Herne Hill

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Coach w his bike at Herne Hill velodrome

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Track racing comes w its pitfalls – and celebrations

“I have been a coach for six or seven years now, I suppose. The history here at Herne Hill makes it special. We have been here since 1892. They had the 1948 Olympics here. Bradley Wiggins started his career here.
“My best memory is when Wiggins rode the Good Friday meeting here along with some other big names. They have a Good Friday meeting they have been holding for just over 100 years now. So, we used to get some really big names then.
“My worst memory was my last race here when I was doing an elimination race and someone in front of me hit the fence and came down. I managed to ride into a gap and avoided him. But he broke his ribs and managed to drive one into his lungs. So I packed it in after that.”

Marking the steady passing of history at Herne Hill velodrome

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Cycling coach on the Herne Hill velodrome

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Herne Hill is creating more reminders of the history of the track

“We have a bike that Bradley Wiggins used to ride here which is a hire bike that will be restored and hung in the new grandstand we are having built for our 125 anniversary next year. Before he had sponsors and his own bikes, he was riding around on a hire bike from Herne Hill Velodrome. But interestingly there used to be a velodrome near Paddington and, when it was closing, all the coaches caught wind of it and rushed down and bought all the second track bikes and Wiggins was racing on a bike like that.

“We have a photo of him being beaten to the line by a 13 year old who said to him, ‘You ought to become a professional’. And he retorted to her, ‘You beat me, I think you should become the professional’. Unfortunately, she did not, but he did. And now we have a yellow jersey winner after 99 years of British riders not winning anything. And the year before Mark Cavendish had the first green jersey and the year after Bradley Wiggins and now we have Froomie. A little South African in him, but we will forgive that. And now with the Olympics and the state of riding in the UK, and the work done to make it easier for people to ride to work and the new bike lanes coming in and the hire bikes and the velodrome being revamped, it is a great place to be a cyclist.”

The value of Britain’s oldest velodrome

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Track coach alongside the Herne Hill Velodrome, London

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Britain’s oldest velodrome has become a hub in the resurgence of track racing in Britain.

 

A lot of people use Herne Hill because there are only nine tracks left in the country – about four indoor and five outdoor. So, in the southeast of England, there is nothing to to go to really. Brighton was just condemned. South of the river, tracks are very difficult to find. Riders come from a long way away to ride here. We have our own club, Velo Club Londres, and we have a number of champions at different levels and age groups as there are no other tracks for kids, teenagers and adults to ride.

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Teach and old man a new trick

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Participant at the old man cycling hour at Herne Hill velodrome

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Various cycling programs at Herne Hill means a space for everyone, including ‘old man’ racing.

“I am just an old man on a bike who enjoys a bit of riding. I never raced before but I live around the corner. I am embarrassed that my kids have been on this track more times than I have been. This is my first time on this track. So, an old man on a bike on a Thursday morning is good fun.” Continue reading