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Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area Looking to enter into the realm of track racing? Want to share your experiences and tactics for riding on a velodrome? The Track Cycling forums is for you! Come in and discuss training/racing, equipment, and current track cycling events.

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Old 08-03-12, 08:07 PM   #1
sstang13
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I want to start track cycling.

I have been riding my road bike for about a year now, and I really want to get into track cycling. But the closest velodrome to me 2 hours away and I just don't have the time to go there all the time. I recently found out about a velodrome coming to Milton which is in biking distance for me. But then I found out that it will be in use for people after the 2015 Pan-Am games! I'm 16 years old and have never rode track but I'm thinking of getting into it. I will be 18 in Milton and who knows what I'll be doing, is this too late to start?
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Old 08-03-12, 08:42 PM   #2
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it's never really too late too start and at your age that's not even something to think about. surely starting is hard when access to a velodrome is difficult. I am 20 and just started but I began riding various disciplines of biking all from bmx to road cycling years ago. I didn't realize there was a track nearby so I started by riding single speeds on the same routes as I would with my road bikes, mountains, hills, flats, rollers, etc. You'll build a cadence and a feel for the bike but obviously that won't mimic the feel of riding on the track. So i guess for now you can ride a track/single-speed bike on the pavement, but in less traffic areas and try to make it out to the closest track every now and again.
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Old 08-03-12, 08:50 PM   #3
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This could be a veryyyy dumb question but I'll take a shot, would it be good to try putting my road bike on the hardest gear I can push and try to ride on only that gear? Like mimicing a single speed? And ride only in the drops. Because I probably won't be able to get a track/single-speed bike. And sadly enough, that is the closest velodrome I can find. Iv'e tried looking all over the internet and havn't had any luck.
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Old 08-03-12, 08:56 PM   #4
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Well the thing is the geometry is not going to be the same therefore it won't exactly feel the same. even at the biggest gear you are still running longer crank arms which physically you will have more leverage and the relaxed geometry doesn't have that compact track feel. I honestly can't give full advice as to what your best options are but the best way to learn is to actually do it. Most velodromes have rental bikes so maybe make it out to the track, even if it is far, take a beginner's class and possibly rent a bike if available and see what you think
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Old 08-03-12, 09:12 PM   #5
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Alright, I'll see what I can do then. How much does a good quality bike cost? Especially because of I can only train right now, I wouldn't want a $2,000 bike for racing that'll never be raced!
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Old 08-03-12, 11:10 PM   #6
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there are some decently equipped completes out there for a $700-$1,200 USD budget. There's a load of information in the stickies. pretty much everything you are asking, it's in the stickies. A whole introduction as well as a list of 2012 completes. Read it and absorb
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Old 08-03-12, 11:33 PM   #7
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Sounds good, I'll look it over and absorb. Is it really good for riding on pavement? Or will that slowly wear the bike down?
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Old 08-04-12, 07:17 PM   #8
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Most (all) tracks will have rental bikes that you can use to get going.
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Old 08-04-12, 08:36 PM   #9
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The only things that wear on a track bike are tires, cogs and chainrings. If you got any questions, PM as I was in a similar situation at your age and live nearby as well.
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Old 08-05-12, 07:32 AM   #10
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Being young I know it doesn't matter much, but 2 hours from a track is pretty good. There are lots of racers that live much further away from their home track. When you get a bit older, and have a car and work, it may be something you like enough to commit the time and money into traveling to a track once a month or so. Or it could be so awsome that when you are figuring out where to go to college/ move to for work, that a near by track may be one of the smaller deciding factors.
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Old 08-05-12, 07:50 AM   #11
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Being young I know it doesn't matter much, but 2 hours from a track is pretty good. There are lots of racers that live much further away from their home track. When you get a bit older, and have a car and work, it may be something you like enough to commit the time and money into traveling to a track once a month or so. Or it could be so awsome that when you are figuring out where to go to college/ move to for work, that a near by track may be one of the smaller deciding factors.
yep
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Old 08-05-12, 10:29 PM   #12
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I have a different perspective; I started racing on a velodrome when I was your age, back in 1977. First of all, are there any cycling clubs near you with members who race at the velodrome? You might want to join a club involved with track racing. Go to club meetings and get a notice put in the newsletter or website that you're looking for rides to the track. When you get there, try to find a ride-sharing situation or post a notice seeking ride-sharing. Also, some clubs have weekly club races that help with learning the ropes.

Next, you absolutely don't have to spend $800 to $1200 for a track bike. You can probably find a used track bike (craigslist, etc) for a few hundred bucks that will work fine for you in the beginning. Sometimes club newsletters have deals on used track bikes. The key is to get a bike that has replaceable 110 BCD (bolt circle diameter) chain rings, because you'll want to be able to have different gears. Also, 110 BCD chainrings cost a lot less than 144 BCD chainrings. BMX and road chain rings are usually 110 pattern now.

Don't worry about a fancy bike; Chris Hoy of Great Britain (a multi-world champion on the velodrome) would be insanely fast even if he rode an retro old steel track bike. Legs make the biggest difference.

Any questions, let me know. Good luck, track racing is lots of fun.
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Old 08-06-12, 11:26 AM   #13
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Good advice Brian. FYI - I think the BCD for single speed bikes is either 130 (road chain ring) or 144 (track chain ring) - not 110 BCD.

Sstang:
London is what, 1.5 hours away? Go give it a try before buying anything, and talk to the guys there. That track (Forrest City Velodrome) is one of the shortest in the world – if you can ride there, you can ride anywhere.

For street riding – put it in a fairly easy gear – learn how to spin fast, accelerate fast, and ride at high rpm. 42x16 is a fine gear for riding solo on the street – anything bigger than that is too big. You want to learn how to spin, not how to hammer. Give the FCV a try – I’m sure you will learn a lot from a few trips to the track.

For ~$300, you should be able to get a used steel track bike (or even the dreaded bikeforum favorite – BD Kilo). Steel will be best for riding on the street, and enough to get you started for a year or two on the track (at which point you can sell it and get your money back). A $2000 track bike is going to be pretty stiff on the street.
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Old 08-06-12, 12:57 PM   #14
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For ~$300, you should be able to get a used steel track bike (or even the dreaded bikeforum favorite – BD Kilo). Steel will be best for riding on the street, and enough to get you started for a year or two on the track (at which point you can sell it and get your money back). A $2000 track bike is going to be pretty stiff on the street.
+1 on the Kilo. I rode mine for about a year while starting on the track.
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Old 08-06-12, 02:38 PM   #15
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That is basically what they use at his "local" velodrome in London (more specifically, FCV use the KHS Flite 100 - the original Kilo). They are actually great on the road, unlike more dedicated & stiff track bikes.
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Old 08-16-12, 09:49 PM   #16
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lots of great advice and I will just add, keep riding your road bike on the road and don't stress on buying a track bike. Rent one for at least 3-4 track outings. You'll spend some time at the track and see some bikes to narrow your search
Riding high cadence on the road will build some good strength. You could do sprints on the road or trainer but I'd just start racing and go from there. The advice to join a club to get carpooling and team deals is spot on
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