Monday, 21 November 2011

Forest City Velodrome

On Saturday I saddled up a fixed-gear KHS track bike and took to the Forest City Velodrome in London, Ontario to complete their 'Track 1' cycling program with thirteen other members of the Morning Glory Cycling Club

Track bikes are fixed-gear, meaning they have no freewheel, resulting in the bicycle not being able to coast - when the wheel turns so do the pedals.  The bike has no brakes, as the rider reduces speed by either riding up the track (using gravity to slow the bike) or by slowing down the pedal velocity.  The lack of traditional brakes is to help avoid crashes on the track, where riders are riding in close proximity at high velocity, where someone tapping their brakes could cause a domino-style crash.

Here's a video of what REAL track cycling looks like, the race where Mark Cavendish (recently crowned the 2011 road race world champion) won the 2005 men's Madison track world championship:

Our instructors Lorne, Birgit and Rob took us through various drill to learn how to accelerate, control, and decelerate a fixed-gear bike, then took us up on the track to work on carrying speed through the corners.  Riding the banked turns at 35KM/H was super cool, and the emphasis for the day was on feeling comfortable on the bike.  While rehydrating over a couple pitchers of brew post-ride, there was already talk of making the trip back for 'Track 2' during the winter to take our skills to the next level.

Cyclo-blogger and fellow MGCC rider Mark Buckaway documented the trip here.

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