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What happened to the Velodromes?(20 posts)

What happened to the Velodromes?JDH3
May 17, 2001 11:00 AM
Being fairly new to the sport (1 year) I have been ejoying many different aspects of riding. I thought that this month I would try my hand in some track riding. I remember watching the fast paced action on tv and thought wow that looks like so much fun. So I go to find a local club/velodrome.....and guess what theres maybe 15 in the whole US. What happened?
I'm one of the lucky 15 I guess!!JBergland
May 17, 2001 12:39 PM
I have never raced on the track... infact the closest I've come is officiating. But I can through out some ideas about why there are so few around. I think the biggest issue is cost. Velodromes do cost some money to maintain and don't usually have the 'big bucks' coming in week after week. It is also very specialized. Special bikes, special training, special techniques, etc. Here in Minneapolis MN, a weekly crit. race can expect upwards of a 100+ racers on any one night. The local velodrome could expect 30ish... on a good night. Not very many familiar names at BOTH events... most cyclists do one or the other.

Now, for a moment, consider racing from a spectator's or TV coverage's point of view. In RR, at best, you get to see the start and finish. That is unless of course you have different cameras set up all over the course. Crits. are certainly better, but even in crits. you can only see one part of the race. At a velodrome you can see everything. Start, finish and everything in between. It makes them easier to watch, easier to cover, but unfortunately necessarily more popular.
velodromesbike n veg
May 17, 2001 2:07 PM
One of the 15 is in the Lehigh Valley (Emmaus, Pa). I saw a few races there years ago. Attendance was not great, unfortunately.
May 17, 2001 3:36 PM
We had the National Championships at the velodrome here in Colorado Springs last year. It was WAY cool. Man those guys are fast and Nothstein is a friggen beast. Attendance sucked for that too. Pretty sad indeed.
Attendancemike mcmahon
May 17, 2001 3:57 PM
About three years ago, I saw Marty race at the Olympic Velodrome (Carson, CA). In addition to my then year old daughter and me, there were about 35 spectators: pretty sad. Marty was racing against mostly local trackies, some of whom are pretty darn good riders. Marty smoked 'em and he looked like he was giving it about a 45% effort. I live about three miles from the Encino Velodrome, which used to run races every Friday night in summers. I believe the races are now on Saturday nights and are more sporadic. I hope to attend a few this summer.
Wow, what a tripLazy
May 17, 2001 4:02 PM
I used to live about 7 miles from the Encino Velodrome in high school (I went to North Hollywood HS). I used to ride around Balboa park all the time. I even went to the races there on many a Friday night back in the mid/early eighties.
I'm in Sherman Oaksmike mcmahon
May 17, 2001 5:25 PM
a stone's throw from the intersection of Sepulveda and Ventura. Although I don't ride around Balboa Park, many of my rides take me past the park, and my daughter loves feeding the ducks at Balboa Lake. I haven't been to the Encino Velodrome yet. My four year old daughter really loves looking at bike (bless her), so I'm hoping she might join me to watch some of the Saturday night races this summer. It will keep her up past her bed-time (a good thing for her), but it might cause her to miss "Sponge Bob Squarepants" on Nickelodeon (a bad thing for both of us). I don't know how long it's been since you've been to NH, but it's become something of a trendy art-mecca in so. Cal., with lots of little galleries and theaters: Portions of Lankershim are known as the "NoHo Arts District."
NoHo huh?Lazy
May 18, 2001 7:06 AM
Wow, that's news to me. There used to be a liquor store on Lankershim and Riverside that would sell us booze in high school. LOL. The only art around there back in the mid 80's was grafitti. Very interesting, that's good to hear.

I used to live a block off of Laurel Canyon between Riverside and Magnolia. I don't suppose the Sherman Oaks Galleria is still the place where all the cool kids hang out is it?

Anyhoo, enjoy the races. I had a good time there when I went. I was only about 15 the last time I was there. I'm glad to hear they're keeping that place going.

Oh, and don't forget to set the alarm clock. Missing SpongeBob is definitely no good!
The Galleriamike mcmahon
May 18, 2001 7:46 AM
was like totally shut down at the end of '98. Like, total bummer! ;-) Actually, they demolished most of it and are rebuilding it primarily as non-retail space: movie theaters, restaurants, and a few retail establishments like a book store. It's supposed to re-open within the next 6 months or so.

The new LA subway now extends to a new station in "NoHo," which is located at Lankershim and Chandler. Actually, it's a great way to get to work. Unfortunately, I live too far from the NH station to make it a feasible way to commute. Ah, tartar sauce! The station itself is nice and is packed everyday. In fact, they've run out of places to park and are looking for a spot to build a parking structure.
We had a good one in San Diego and I believe ...Humma Hah
May 17, 2001 3:35 PM
... there's one here somewhere in the DC area. I took a class at the San Diego Velodrome, plus I rode there one Saturday AM during an open-to-anyone session. The cruiser and I were out there on the track with some of Eddie B's pupils, national class trackies. It was a hoot to cruise around the track with them at 12 mph, until some secret signal passed between them and they took off ahead of me like Star Trek special effects.

Track cycling was enormously popular starting around 1900 or a little earlier. It was big-business spectator sport, running in places like Madison Square Garden. Since about the 1930's it has been far less of a draw. It is driven by tradition, sticking to fixed-gear bikes and old racing forms, and I guess it just hasn't captured the modern imagination. That's a shame, because it is a LOT of fun, and fast as all get-out.
Any idea where...1EyedJack
May 17, 2001 10:21 PM
...the one near DC is? A quick search yields no information.
DC velodromebrian n
May 18, 2001 7:37 AM

AS far as I know there is no velodrome in DC. It is a real shame because there would definitely be enough riders to support one. The closest thing is the one in Trexlertown, PA. Its a 2:45 drive from my place in Gaithersburg, MD. Luckily, I live about 20 min. away from it now so you'll see me out there for the saturday races!!

I heard rumors about 2 years ago of them building a velodrome in the sports complex (skate/bmx park) in Silver Spring/Rockville area. I don't know if that fell through though.

Did anyone else hear the rumors that the atlanta olympic track sold for $600,000??? I know it is wood and would require upkeep, but that isn't THAT much money for a public facility...

Also, anyone have any word about the wooden velodrome going up in the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area? Last I heard they had a plot of land to put it up and were expecting to have it up sometime this or next year.

I know there are some 'Zonies interested in the sport ...Humma Hah
May 18, 2001 8:06 AM
... while at the San Diego velodrome, I ran in to a lot of Arizonian ("zonies") who had come all the way from Phoenix to try the sport. I hope they either have a track or get one soon -- if anyone can afford it, they can.

San Diego is also where I was hearing about a possible track in DC, but maybe they were just basing that on the Silver Spring plans. I haven't found it, either.
We had a good one in San Diego and I believe ...milsk8
May 18, 2001 12:49 AM
i read that in the 70's there were around 250 in the US and the closest one to DC is in Trexeltown(or something similar) Pennsylvania.
May 18, 2001 7:08 AM
Trexeltown is still open. I have no idea where it is, but that's one of the hotbeds for track cyclists in the Nation. I'm pretty sure that used to be Nothsteins home track, as well as a couple other Elite sprinters.
Trexlertown, PAJoe B.
May 19, 2001 12:53 AM
Just off of Rt 78, in the Allentown/Bethlehem area. If you get directions to Dorney Park, it gets you off <10 mi away. 20 mins (or less) from my house, but I've never gotten around to going. (I've only been here a couple of years...)

re: What happened to the Velodromes?Teach
May 17, 2001 5:04 PM
We have a velodrome here in Houston. I'm considering trying it out this summer. New challenges and all. I'm more afraid of the fixed gear bikes than the velodrome. I'd love to go see races there, just haven't made it out yet.
Links for 8 velodromes here:Phil2
May 18, 2001 12:03 AM

One in the UK one in Canada. In the USA : San Jose, CA; Portland, OR; Redmond, WA; T-Town,Pennsylvania; Nothbrook, IL; Atlanta, GA; and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Your first lesson ...Humma Hah
May 18, 2001 7:18 AM
... Based on my recent experience transitioning from singlespeed to track, here are a few things to expect.

If you take lessons, they'll probably recommend that you NOT use your clipless pedals initially, but instead use toe clips, and tighten the straps up thoroughly (the pros frequently use double-strapped toe clips the coach tightens with a wrench!). In your first lesson or two, you'll undoubtedly make a few false moves that will try to make your feet come out of the pedals, and clips are safer until you get the hang of it. If your feet come out of the pedals, you must stop to get them back in.

The thing that got me was, upon getting to speed in an out-of-the-seat-sprint, I'd try to coast for an instant when I sat down. The bike does not like that, and you feel like the pedals try to knock you into the air. The rear wheel may hop and leave a skid mark. This never made me crash, but was a bit unnerving. After you've done it a few times, you remember to keep pedaling.

The other thing is learning to brake using your feet on a bike with no brakes. Trying to slow down quickly from high speed is a really eye-opening experience.

Since you're not a singlespeeder, you may also need some time to build up your leg muscles and high-cadence power. But all this is well worth it. The bikes are light and simple and really quick, the skills and physical conditioning will make you a better cyclist. And it is FUN.
re: New velodrome in MichiganJimF
May 18, 2001 9:35 AM
Going up in Rochester Hills. Being designed and overseen by those who built the record setting Olympic track in Atlanta, among others.