So that we could access the local track, we had to do a course with the cycling association to teach us the basics and so on. Upon passing we would have a licence to use the track and enter races.
We gathered 10 members of our mostly road racing club, paid our money, and got 3 hours exclusive use of the velodrome and a coach who was ex-national team. The price also included the use of bikes owned by the association.
Firstly we were introduced to the bikes. The coach explained the key differences to 'normal' bikes, showed how to test the chain tension and adjust it. He even showed a few tips and tricks for getting the chains on and checking tension without tools.
(For the C&V guys...the fleet of bikes was a real mix of some classics! There was a Bob Jackson, a Daccordi, one battered Colnago, some nice Japanese bikes like Panasonics, and some weird ones build up with different frames and forks. All probably ex-national team bikes at one stage.)
Then we entered the track.
We were broken up into a couple of groups. Those who had ridden on tracks before, those who had ridden fixed gear (but no track), those who had ridden single speed (but not fixed) and those who were completely new. I had ridden SS, but not FG.
While the guys who had ridden track and fixed before were sent out to ride the inner track, then the blue apron ("côte d'azur"), the rest of us did some steering drills to get used to the toe overlap and also some clipping in/clipping out practice.
Once the coach was happy that we were not complete idiots, he sent us out onto the inner track and pushed the more experienced guys up to the black line. We did some faster stopping drills on a whistle signal, then moved up to the blue apron.
After a while we had the experienced guys up above the blue line and the less experienced riders trying out the black line, then the red.
The whole group got some instruction on how best to tackle the steep banks ("if you feel like you are going to fall off, ride harder") and some basic habits for positioning to reduce the likelihood of collisions. Always follow slightly to the left. Always look over right shoulder if changing your line. Always pass on the right (uphill) side.
Back on the track the experienced guys where practicing a pace line with correct positioning and rotation. The newbies were trying out the high blue line. Damn! The was is a lot steeper than you think! When you are riding the red or blue line it is a bit freaky to pass someone who is lower down or on the blue apron - you're practically on top of them!
Testing was pretty simple. Three laps steering around the cones, then three 'hot' laps above the blue line.
From there we assembled the newbies into the pace line, while the experienced guys paired up and played 'games' as high as they could on the banked walls (for sprint race skills).
At the end we learned the basics of the various track events and even had some two man sprint races (two teams, starting either side) for fun.
Now we have our licences, look out!