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Track advice for numpty/noobie

hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
edited May 2008 in Track
I've posted this on Road Beginners, so apologies for the double post.

My lovely gf has just told me that she has bought me a track taster session at Manchester Velo for my birthday at the end of the month (which given that we live about 150 miles away is pretty amazing!).

I'm a noobie anyway, I've hardly touched my bike for a month and have been a real lazy git!

I have a few of worries.

1. that I will look a real numpty, unfit and slow.
2. I've never riden a fixie.
3. Those banks look quite steep

Any advice on how to prepare beforehand? and on how to deal with track riding (I've read the Bikeradar beginner tips)? What should I expect of my first one hour session?

She also came up trumps and bought us tickets for the Friday of the World Track Champs.



*I actually think it might be a sneaky ploy for her to get a couple of trips to the Trafford Centre!

Posts

  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    You'll absolutely love it. Guaranteed.

    Ruth
  • Wow, that's a quality girlfriend! A track session and tickets to the Worlds?? You lucky man!

    First off, don't worry about how you look. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I've always found trackies to be a bit friendlier than roadies.

    If you can, have a go on a fixed-gear bike before you go. They do take a little while to get used to, because if you've been riding a normal geared bike your natural inclination is to coast at certain moments. That'll cause all kinds of problems on a fixed-gear, so it's a good idea to just ride around on a fixed to get the feel of not coasting.

    As for the banking, don't worry about it. When you do your session, they'll ask if you've ridden a velodrome before, and they'll give you tips on how to ride the banks. Personally, I think it's really important to ride confidently and not to be hesitant. Keep your speed up and you will be fine.

    Most of all, relax and enjoy it! Nothing beats the feeling of hitting a banked turn at full speed and feeling the gravity pull you in!
    Hipster Nascar: A Blog About Track Cycling - http://www.hipsternascar.com.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Thanks for the advice. Not sure I will get to try a fixie before but will make some enquiries.

    She got the idea over the Christmas holidays when I was watching "censored n Dom" with the little one. They had a challenge to commentate on a commonwealth track race, and had a try round the track to get an idea what was all about. They looked like they were bricking it as much as I will be!!
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,505
    Riding fixed isn't as daunting as people make out as you'll get a gentle reminder from the cranks if you do ease off. You can practise a bit beforehand by chanting the mantra "keep pedalling, keep pedalling" on your normal road bike.

    The banking does look daunting especially at lower speeds but as long as you keep pedalling (and you'll have to as you'll be on fixed!) you should have enough traction to stay upright. Once you can get a bit of speed up you barely notice it.

    As Ruth says, I'm sure you'll have a ball and enjoy yourself a lot.

    Good luck.
  • FixUpLookSharpFixUpLookSharp Posts: 66
    edited January 2008
    hammerite wrote:
    Thanks for the advice. Not sure I will get to try a fixie before but will make some enquiries.
    If there's an Evans near you, see if they have a fixed gear for sale that you can ask to test ride. I was in London last summer without my bike, and in pure desperation I went in and pretended I was interested in buying a Bianchi Pista, and took it out for a test ride, like a pathetic junkie needing his fix! (no pun intended!) It'll only be for a few minutes, but it'll give you the feel of it.

    As AndyP said, it's not as difficult as people make it out to be, but you do need to be aware of not coasting. Good luck!!
    Hipster Nascar: A Blog About Track Cycling - http://www.hipsternascar.com.
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    hammerite wrote:
    Thanks for the advice. Not sure I will get to try a fixie before but will make some enquiries.
    If there's an Evans near you, see if they have a fixed gear for sale that you can ask to test ride. I was in London last summer without my bike, and in pure desperation I went in and pretending I was interested in buying a Bianchi Pista, and took it out for a test ride, like a pathetic junkie needing his fix! (no pun intended!) It'll only be for a few minutes, but it'll give you the feel of it.

    As AndyP said, it's not as difficult as people make it out to be, but you do need to be aware of not coasting. Good luck!!

    We have one in MK closeby so I might try that (if I can bring myself to be so cheeky!).

    Thanks again.
  • Let us know how you do!
    Hipster Nascar: A Blog About Track Cycling - http://www.hipsternascar.com.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Hammerite you're in Bedford I think? - If you can ride a 58cm frame, you're welcome to have a go on my track bike - PM me to arrange if you're interested
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Wow thanks Bronzie!
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Thanks again for letting me have a try on your track bike Bronzie, much appreciated. It's calmed some of my nerves!!

    Good to meet you too.

    Cheers!
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    No worries and nice to meet you too!

    Just remember to try and relax (as much as possible) when on the track - you will no doubt try to freewheel at some point in time during your taster session, but the bike will remind you not to be so silly with a gentle kick up the backside!
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Well I'm still alive!

    Arrived and went to the middle where to see the GB talent squad going round, and quite impressive it was too. The one thing that stood out was the speed on laps when they were making the effort, and also how slow they were going round the bends on warm down! Didn't think it would be possible to stay up that slow!! Also saw practising some Keirin handovers which was very impressive.

    The atmosphere was quite good, as there was an indoor rowing competition on at the time. Which also meant there were a few spectators when they were fed up of watching the rowing!

    Our session started with a briefing, with the guys who had been before going off by themselves. We (the beginners) had a couple of laps round the green inner track just to get used to the bike and trying to slow down. We then had a few laps round the Cote d'azur, before going up above the black line.

    All felt quite good, if not a little unsteady on the bend to begin with, so I kept to the line as much as possible. Then after a few laps I got quite close up behind someone near a bend, with no desire to slow (cos I didn't want to slip off) I kept the pace and moved off the line, up the bank and round the person, which was quite nerve racking! I didn't want to slide down and take the person out!

    After then I got quite confident feeling comfortable having a few laps at effort, then a few laps easing off a bit but keeping around the blue line. I didn't feel the need to free wheel at all, and just took it steady when I felt the need to.

    All in all a great session and gives me a really good appreciation of what it takes to ride on a track. Wish it wasn't such a long way upto Manchester now! Will definitely be back for another try when we're up that way again and I may try out a track round this way if I get the chance.

    Thanks for all the advice guys, much appreciated.
  • Glad you had fun!
    Hipster Nascar: A Blog About Track Cycling - http://www.hipsternascar.com.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    Great to hear you enjoyed it - surprising how quick you get the feel of it when you've done a few laps.
    hammerite wrote:
    practising some Keirin handovers
    The handslings are used in the Madison where teams of 2 take turns in the race while the other recovers by riding slowly at the top of the track. Quite a spectacle to see it in the flesh if you ever get the chance.
    hammerite wrote:
    I may try out a track round this way if I get the chance
    Well, track training starts at Welwyn on Monday nights from early April, race league on Friday nights from early May! See you there?

    And, we won't be too far from the Olympic velodrome at Eastway once that's open to the public after 2012!
  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Bronzie wrote:
    Well, track training starts at Welwyn on Monday nights from early April, race league on Friday nights from early May! See you there?

    And, we won't be too far from the Olympic velodrome at Eastway once that's open to the public after 2012!

    Thanks for the correction on keirin/madison. I have to say I've never seen much track racing apart from the pursuit and sprint races at the olympics so it's still very new to me.

    As for turning up at Welwyn. At the moment I don't think my time can support a new sport (and the bank balance to finance the bike!) just at this time. It definitely gives me confidence to take it up when I am able to though. This year is triathlon year, next year marathon early in the year (I've deferred my London mara place to next year) then maybe a lot more dedicated riding including track......... :lol:

    The other half will start to regret introducing me to track though I feel!
  • Ste_SSte_S Posts: 1,173
    hammerite wrote:
    Bronzie wrote:
    Well, track training starts at Welwyn on Monday nights from early April, race league on Friday nights from early May! See you there?

    And, we won't be too far from the Olympic velodrome at Eastway once that's open to the public after 2012!

    Thanks for the correction on keirin/madison. I have to say I've never seen much track racing apart from the pursuit and sprint races at the olympics so it's still very new to me.

    As for turning up at Welwyn. At the moment I don't think my time can support a new sport (and the bank balance to finance the bike!) just at this time. It definitely gives me confidence to take it up when I am able to though. This year is triathlon year, next year marathon early in the year (I've deferred my London mara place to next year) then maybe a lot more dedicated riding including track......... :lol:

    The other half will start to regret introducing me to track though I feel!

    Most velodromes have track bikes you can use for free or for a small hire charge. Some of the outdoor tracks also run freewheel training sessions (turn up with your road bike) over the winter.
  • Mark AlexanderMark Alexander Posts: 2,277
    I'm glad I found this post

    I unexpectedly found myself at Newport velodrome today whilst getting a lift back from a hill climb. although I expected it to be a flying visit. Noo I ended up being there for 4 hrs or so.

    I loved it. there was a meet on for juniors. I watched some of the racing and had a chat with the staff and well, everyone. I have looked into going out to Newport again for a novice session. I've been to Maendy track and ride a fixed to work daily.
    http://twitter.com/mgalex
    www.ogmorevalleywheelers.co.uk

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
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