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  1. #1
    Senior Member derek.fulmer's Avatar
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    Moving to Chicago and might want to start track riding.

    As the title implies, next summer my wife and I are moving to the Chicago area, Northwest Suburbs most likely. I tried my hand at road riding but after one run in with a car, I got out of it. So, I'd like to ride motor-traffic free when I move. I've considered riding on the paved trails that the area has to offer and I've also considered riding at the Northbrook Velodrome and hopefully the new velo-campus once it is completed.

    My question to those of you Chicago riders, what's the Northbrook drome like? Would I be able to come and ride relationally throughout the week or on weekends? I'm definitely going to try it out once I move or on my next trip out there to see if I even like the feeling of riding on the track, with all banking and everything I'm not sure if I will take to it. I really hope I do though, because it looks fun as hell.

    I'm not looking to race, at least not yet. Just looking to get exercise and cardio workouts in a way that I love, riding a bike.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bitingduck's Avatar
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    Northbrook is flat flat flat...

    But it looks like they have a pretty good program, and if you check out the website there are quite a few training slots.

    the easiest thing with any velodrome is usually to email someone there and ask...
    Track - the other off-road
    http://www.lavelodrome.org

  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    This guy posts lots of photos from Northbrook if you want to see what the scene is. It looks pretty vibrant.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ewwhite/

  4. #4
    Foward Leaning Attitude rithem's Avatar
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    NorthBrook is a nice track! little bit of a trek from Chicago, I think we drove there & couple kids took the train to the burbs. It's no T-town but lightyears better than Kissena & Londonderry but I guess anything is that isn't asphalt. If I recall some of the the Chicago guys and gals used to go up to Kenosha too from time to time.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Kenosha would be worth checking out, but I've been told there is a plan to build a temporary (&later permanant) velodrome in Chicago this summer.

    You could google it - here is an example:
    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sec...cal&id=8143279

  6. #6
    i smell bacon yummygooey's Avatar
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    You can think about joining the ChiFG forum. There's a track racing thread there and you can ask the dudes about Northbrook. I've been wanting to try it out but haven't had the chance to make the drive over.
    // yummygooey

  7. #7
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    I think the question is are there open times where some one can come and ride the track, without a race program.

  8. #8
    Senior Member derek.fulmer's Avatar
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    Exactly, Kayce.

  9. #9
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    Yes. Northbrook is a park district facility, so whenever there isn't an organized event, it is open to the public. Visit northbrookvelodrome.org for all the details.

    As far as racing, Northbrook gets an excellent turnout, usually with 20-25 riders in the P/1/2 fields, more in the 3s and 4s. And our women's turnouts have been extraordinary this season, with 12-15 riders in the Cat. 4 women's fields. We're very proud of our parking lot.

    Cat. 5 riders have to complete a certification program before upgrading to Cat. 4 and being allowed to race on Thursday nights. This is (I believe) 5 race nights and 5 training sessions (we run two, one on Monday for everyone and one on Tuesday for elite riders, and lower categories with prior approval).

    Overall, the racing is excellent (and fast as hell), and it's a friendly joint.

    There is also Kenosha, that hosts racing on Tuesdays. It's a traditional 333 with a (again, don't hold me to this) 28-degree banking (vs Northbrook's 400m/382 in the pole lane). We do motor work there on Saturdays. The races on Tuesday are very low-key and friendly, even more than Northbrook. It can be quite a haul in rush-hour, though.

    Hope that helps.

  10. #10
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    After many years of racing I recently decided to give the track a try. I have been making the trek out to Northbrook from Elgin (actually from Elk Grove Village during the day) and doing the Monday clinics. They are very well organized and I have learned a lot. Any time that there is no scheduled program you can ride at the track (as long as there is also no sport game or practice occurring in the infield).

    The surface is nice, it is very flat.

    I have ridden at Kenosha, just on the actual track as a break while doing a long ride through the area. Nice track. Bit of a trek.

  11. #11
    Senior Member derek.fulmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevvwill View Post
    Yes. Northbrook is a park district facility, so whenever there isn't an organized event, it is open to the public. Visit northbrookvelodrome.org for all the details.

    As far as racing, Northbrook gets an excellent turnout, usually with 20-25 riders in the P/1/2 fields, more in the 3s and 4s. And our women's turnouts have been extraordinary this season, with 12-15 riders in the Cat. 4 women's fields. We're very proud of our parking lot.

    Cat. 5 riders have to complete a certification program before upgrading to Cat. 4 and being allowed to race on Thursday nights. This is (I believe) 5 race nights and 5 training sessions (we run two, one on Monday for everyone and one on Tuesday for elite riders, and lower categories with prior approval).

    Overall, the racing is excellent (and fast as hell), and it's a friendly joint.

    There is also Kenosha, that hosts racing on Tuesdays. It's a traditional 333 with a (again, don't hold me to this) 28-degree banking (vs Northbrook's 400m/382 in the pole lane). We do motor work there on Saturdays. The races on Tuesday are very low-key and friendly, even more than Northbrook. It can be quite a haul in rush-hour, though.

    Hope that helps.

    Helps a lot! I might try racing after a while of riding on the track and getting comfortable. Sounds like the monday night clinics will be where I should start. I'd have to rent a bike since I don't have one.

    Is the track open year round like rest of the park?

  12. #12
    Senior Member derek.fulmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
    After many years of racing I recently decided to give the track a try. I have been making the trek out to Northbrook from Elgin (actually from Elk Grove Village during the day) and doing the Monday clinics. They are very well organized and I have learned a lot. Any time that there is no scheduled program you can ride at the track (as long as there is also no sport game or practice occurring in the infield).

    The surface is nice, it is very flat.

    I have ridden at Kenosha, just on the actual track as a break while doing a long ride through the area. Nice track. Bit of a trek.

    My wife is from Bartlett originally and we're looking to move in the Naperville/Aurora area, possibly Schaumburg. I think as soon as we get out there on our next visit I'm going to try and schedule it right so I can come to a clinic. Would like to try the one in Kenosha, too.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by derek.fulmer View Post
    Helps a lot! I might try racing after a while of riding on the track and getting comfortable. Sounds like the monday night clinics will be where I should start. I'd have to rent a bike since I don't have one.

    Is the track open year round like rest of the park?
    No problem. The track has the development program bikes. They're old Schwinns, but track bikes haven't changed all that much, fundamentally.

    The track is indeed open year-round.

  14. #14
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Just for ya, I talked to the guys designing and building the new track in Chicago yesterday. They are getting close – it should be done in about 2 weeks. 166m with 50 degree turns. It sounds interesting. It is a “temporary” track for the next 3 years, after which there should be a permanent track in place.

    It is also a portable track (using the word loosely as it takes some work to build). It may end up being used indoors in the winter time if a suitable home is found.

  15. #15
    Senior Member derek.fulmer's Avatar
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    Thanks, Chas!

  16. #16
    Senior Member escarpment's Avatar
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    I live in chicago, If you are hasty about riding in the street, then dont. Because is kind of sucks here. For the most part, the drivers are pretty good about giving you space and not honking. But there are just so many of them.

    I have also heard about the track being built, except its another outdoor track, I have not seen it but if all goes well then the indoor one will be built.

    But if you do move to the city and are close to the lake there is an amazing stretch of about 20 miles that I use daily. It also gets clogged with foot traffic and roller bladders whos strides take up the whole path, But it beats 100 angry taxi drivers on their cell phones trying to find a fare...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    The velo campus track definatly wont be for the casual rider, and probably wont be open at all times to be just ridden. The story I heard when I met one of the people building it is there will be a pressurized bubble over it for winter riding.

  18. #18
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    I just went to the temporary track on the south side. It kicks your ass but it is really fun to ride. Short and steep, 166 meters with 50 degree turns (if I remember correctly). It was my first time on a track and I have never done any racing of any kind, they made me feel very comfortable there. They offer a two hour certification class to give you a feel for this particular track, the guy teaching was great. Right now there are open training times during the day and usually 6-8 pm, with some classes mixed in depending on when people show up.

    I would definitely recommend it even if you aren't going to race. I feel like the racing could be pretty casual if you want it to be. You should check their facebook page, that has more pictures and info on it I think. look up chicago velo campus.

    By the way, I think riding in the city is great, the lake shore path actually gives me more grief than downtown. It seems pretty laid back and friendly as far as cities go. but I used to live in Boston where everyone is angry, aggressive and unpredictable all of the time so...

  19. #19
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Good feedback! I think the group is just getting started there, so there really aren't any track racers at that location yet. Its a good time to start. That track should be real smooth. Your numbers are correct - making that an entertaning track to ride!

    Typically racing has a competitive group and a more casual group - so there is usually something for everyone.

    It makes Northbrook look flat as a pancake in comparison. It doesn't sound like many Northbrook people are riding there though...

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kayce's Avatar
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    Northbrook is flat as a pancake already.

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