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Velodrome - Hints n'tips

corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
edited May 2015 in Commuting chat
I'm not postin this in any track forum, as I'm an almost exclusively commuting cyclist and have never been on a track before.

Been invited to a corporate "VIP Track Day" at the Olympic Velodrome. Very excited about going but also slightly nervous. I've been told ""Just bring some cycling shorts and a couple of long sleeved tops" but wondered if anyone else had some interesting tips on what to take/.what to consider/how to stay alive on the banks of planks!

Presumably i can take my own shoes? Are they standard road cleats on the pedals or will i need to change them? Are normal fingerless gloves appropriate? Should i take my own road helmet?

Will i need high vis and 3 flashing floodlights?! :shock: :wink:


  • dhopedhope Posts: 6,699
    If it's like Herne Hill then take the pedals and you can swap them on the day easily.

    If you've ridden fixed then you'll find it a breeze. If not then just turn up, listen to the instructions and they'll ease you into it. It'll feel a bit odd having to constantly pedal but not for long, and it'll be a laugh.
    Fingerless gloves fine, take a helmet.

    Hivis, airzound and go pro up to you ;)
    Rose Xeon CW Disc
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  • You can't change pedals on Lee Valley bikes (they use Look Keo system) but you can hire shoes on the day if you're so inclined.

    Wear normal cycling kit including helmets, tops that cover your shoulders and mits (you won't be allowed on the boards without them). You will probably be riding on the drops most of the time which can make saddles more uncomfortable so padded shorts are pretty much essential :) I'd also encourage clear glasses - not essential but even in the velodrome the wind can make your eyes water.

    Really hope you enjoy the track! It's not that hard to ride but sometimes the biggest barrier can be mental, try and remember:

    1) The bank is the same steepness at the top as at the bottom, if you stick at the bottom, you'll stick at the top...
    2) Don't ride the banking too slowly, you'll hear people tell you that it's all about putting pressure down rather than speed (which is true) but when you're first starting the best thing is just to try and keep a reasonable (not ridiculous pace)
    3) Don't panic about fixed gear if you haven't ridden it before, if you want to ease off you can just relax and let it push your feet round (NB when you're in a group on the track you should be aiming to keep the pace as smooth as possible so this isn't always advisable)
    4) Enjoy it - the track is an amazing place to be!*

    *I'll admit that as a trackie, I may be a little biased in this opinion
    Nice weather bike: Fondriest TF2 (white/ black)
    Training Bike: Giant Avail (white/ blue/ green)
    Track bikes: Planet X Franko Bianco (white) and 7VRN (white/ black)
    CX: Kinesis Pro6 (sick green)
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Take glasses too. The air in indoor velodromes is quite dry, and it tends to dry your eyes out. First time I rode indoors my eyes were sore for a week. Not sure what the shoe/pedal arrangement for the Stratford hire bikes; if no-one else answers that, take your own road shoes and pedals, and a set of shoes which will work with clips & straps, and you'll be covered for all possibilities.

    Apart from that, fingerless gloves fine, take your own helmet. Listen to instructions and you'll have a great time!
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • anonymousblackfganonymousblackfg Posts: 2,029
    I haven't done the Lea Valley but have done Newport and Herne Hill. on the first few laps do leave a gap to others, they'll be a few scared of going quick enough to stay on the bike on the banking.

    As a note, get on a corporate jolly at Herne Hill, the proper velodromes are scared of you damaging them/yourself so best you get is a timed lap. Herne Hill on a corporate is far more, "you look competant, let's do some racing"
    If I know you, and I like you, you can borrow my bike box for £30 a week. PM for details.
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390

    Thanks for all that (really helpful) advice. This has made me even more excited about it!

    I wear glasses anyway, so will take my normal glasses and some sunnies and see how we go. Just got a brand new pair of Giro shoes so will maybe take them and a set of pedals along just in case. Must remember to take some trainers too.
  • spasypaddyspasypaddy Posts: 5,179
    you definitely cant change pedals. dont waste your time taking them.

    take shoes with keo cleats or hire shoes there.
  • mpdouglasmpdouglas Posts: 220
    I've done the 1 hour taster session at Lee Valley and it was awesome fun. It was my first time on a fixie or on an indoor velodrome and I was a little apprehensive of getting spat off the bike when I tried to freewheel but it never happened.

    They very quickly allow you to go as fast as you wish, even in a mixed ability group. There was about 15 minutes of familiarisation and gradually building speed but after that, you could go as high on the banks and as fast as you were comfortable. I was surprised by how strong the wind resistance effect is. I guess I'd imagined that without any actual wind, it might be easier than going fast outdoors but that wasn't the case. A handful of laps at full gas is surprisingly tiring.

    The fleet of Condor bikes is pretty good and I used my own shoes with Keo cleats. They have adapters that snap into the look pedals with traditional clips and straps for those that don't have cycling shoes and they hire out proper shoes too.
    "The Flying Scot"
    Commute - Boardman CXR 9.4 Di2
    Sunday Best - Canyon Ultimate SLX Disc w/ DuraAce Di2
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Don't go clockwise.
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    1) The bank is the same steepness at the top as at the bottom, if you stick at the bottom, you'll stick at the top...

    But the radius is much greater at the top so you need to go faster to stick at the top. Quite a bit faster I find.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    Well. Thanks for all the input (it turns out they're providing shoes so that problem's solved).

    I'm off there in an hour or so, for an afternoon session. Will report back if i'm still in one piece!
  • corriebee1corriebee1 Posts: 390
    Well, that was amazing!

    Haven't been in front of a compute much since Thursday, but thought i'd just pop back to say thanks for the advice, and wow! That was fun!

    It did take a little while to get the hang of it and geez those banks are steep from the inside, but we all had a great time and I managed to get going pretty quickly. Got my "flying lap" time in at 17.9 seconds which was the second fastest out of 15.

    Definitely thinking i could enjoy doing track sessions more often. Yay. Another expensive hobby!
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    That sounds fun. What sort of gearing do track bikes run? How much of my Langster would I have to remove for it to be allowed on the track?
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