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Track, road, or both?

sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
edited May 2018 in Amateur race
So I've finally worked up the bravery to contact a local club - https://www.pnp.org.nz/types-of-races

I'm 28 and didn't want to look back at my peak cycling years and wonder how fast I could have gone, if that makes sense. It never occurred to me to do track riding, but after having done quite a lot of (solo) velodrome riding in Brighton in my youth, their consistency is definitely appealing. I do well SCRing, but this is another league - and I'm far too poor to afford any sort of wattage equipment to measure things. A few questions for those in the know;

- How relevant is SCR to getting involved in actual amateur racing?
- Would I get away with using my current, mid range road bike for track riding, or would it be wiser to convert a retro Raleigh Competition I've been eyeing at my local bike trust. I'm already getting excited for a justification for n+1 to the wife, if I'm honest.
- I'm really not keen on the idea of a fixed hub and no brakes. Would it be that much of a disadvantage to run a freewheel and single brake? (if they allow it at all).
Particularly if I'm already on the aforementioned, very cool Raleigh.
- I'm quite a light rider, and best at hill climbs and short sprints. Does this mean I'm better predisposed to road, track, or either?

I don't follow racing on TV and have no understanding of the rules, but I do religiously watch the likes of Bikeradar and GCN, so I'm not wholly ignorant to things.

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    Track racing requires a track bike. There is no option to use a freewheel or brakes.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    Track riding, on a dedicated track bike ( fixed wheel, no supplementary brakes) will help you develop technique, which will improve your road performance no end. So if you want to smash stuff, on the road, do a bit of both track and road.
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    Imposter wrote:
    Track racing requires a track bike. There is no option to use a freewheel or brakes.

    Why, though? Not being facetious, just don't understand the compulsory nature of it. Even on a track, it just seems unnecessarily dangerous.
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,448
    Opposite is true.

    If you slam on the brakes on a single speed then everyone crashes into you as they can't anticipate it.

    On a fixie you can't really do that, and you can see changes of cadence and can adjust accordingly.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 11,997
    Go have a taster session on the track (with a bike hired from there). Once you've tried, you'll understand the difference. There is no down side to a taster session.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Imagine the carnage on a track with a mix of bikes - some brake sharply and some don't. It's a nightmare.

    Fixed wheel is much safer but you need to get used to it.

    You could always think of pursuit if you're not happy round people just yet.
  • milemuncher1milemuncher1 Posts: 1,472
    sgt.pepper wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Track racing requires a track bike. There is no option to use a freewheel or brakes.

    Why, though? Not being facetious, just don't understand the compulsory nature of it. Even on a track, it just seems unnecessarily dangerous.

    You have to maintain momentum, and accelerate / decelerate smoothly, on a banked track or your rear wheel breaks away, very suddenly, you’ll end up in a heap, sliding down the banking, and getting splinters ( if it’s a wooden track) Which hurts, and costs money to sort out
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    You have to maintain momentum, and accelerate / decelerate smoothly, on a banked track

    That rather depends on the angle of the banking and the track surface.
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    cougie wrote:
    Imagine the carnage on a track with a mix of bikes - some brake sharply and some don't. It's a nightmare.

    Fixed wheel is much safer but you need to get used to it.

    You could always think of pursuit if you're not happy round people just yet.

    I thought this may be the reasoning behind it. Fair enough, but to someone who's used to road riding (and all the risks that that entails), it still fills me with a degree of nervousness.

    It's a concrete velo, so at least there's no risk of running up repair bills, other than to myself.
    http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=61947 Far more banked than the one I used to ride in Brighton though - http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content ... -velodrome

    Also, would I do best to stick to my strengths (ie, sprinting) or try work on weaknesses (long run, possibly top end power).
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,140
    Go for road, the standard is higher, if the idea is finding out how good you might be then the road is the pace to find that out.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    Go for road, the standard is higher, if the idea is finding out how good you might be then the road is the pace to find that out.

    Why is the standard higher?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    Go for road, the standard is higher, if the idea is finding out how good you might be then the road is the pace to find that out.

    Not sure I agree with that. I don't really know what you mean when you say 'the standard is higher'. Most half-decent roadies will also be riding track leagues at this time of year and many will be riding SQTs in the winter if they can get to an indoor track. The standard on road or track - whether high or not - depends on the level you compete at.
  • ratsbeyfusratsbeyfus Posts: 2,841
    Hi - I live in Brighton and race at Preston Park track. Track racing is on Wednesday nights and some Friday nights in the spring/summer. The track is also used for various road races - incl Cat 4 races - so you can actually do both down here. the road races are a bit more infrequent, and are all advertised on the BC website. Pop by on a Wednesady night and have a chat with the track or race organisers if you want more information or go on the SCRL website. http://scrl.co.uk/


    I had one of them red bikes but I don't any more. Sad face.

    @ratsbey
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,448
    Op is from New Zealand
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    ratsbeyfus wrote:
    Hi - I live in Brighton and race at Preston Park track. Track racing is on Wednesday nights and some Friday nights in the spring/summer. The track is also used for various road races - incl Cat 4 races - so you can actually do both down here. the road races are a bit more infrequent, and are all advertised on the BC website. Pop by on a Wednesady night and have a chat with the track or race organisers if you want more information or go on the SCRL website. http://scrl.co.uk/

    Thanks for the invite but I've emigrated :?

    I do miss how much closer everything is in the UK though, great for sprint training.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,140
    Imposter wrote:
    Go for road, the standard is higher, if the idea is finding out how good you might be then the road is the pace to find that out.

    Not sure I agree with that. I don't really know what you mean when you say 'the standard is higher'. Most half-decent roadies will also be riding track leagues at this time of year and many will be riding SQTs in the winter if they can get to an indoor track. The standard on road or track - whether high or not - depends on the level you compete at.

    I think most riders focus on the road.

    Hell of a lot easier to nab points on the track imo but if a rider prefers track then go for it.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • ratsbeyfusratsbeyfus Posts: 2,841
    Oops - sorry :oops:


    I had one of them red bikes but I don't any more. Sad face.

    @ratsbey
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    ratsbeyfus wrote:
    Oops - sorry :oops:

    No worries!

    So the Raleigh I had been eyeing sold, now a vintage Peugeot is my latest addition to n+1. In terms of building a track bike, is it worth getting a 'flip-flop' hub? And how do I go about calculating my chain ring sizes?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    Most track regs dictate that only one sprocket can be fitted to a track wheel. Depends if you are building a 'fixie' or a proper track bike. If you are planning to be a track regular, I would really suggest getting hold of something more modern, rather than an 'old classic' - track bikes (the basic ones with conventional ally diamond frames) are not that expensive.

    Gearing is a personal choice, based on fitness or track type. Best thing to do is ask around at whichever track you are nearest to and see what others are running..
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    Imposter wrote:
    Gearing is a personal choice, based on fitness or track type. Best thing to do is ask around at whichever track you are nearest to and see what others are running..

    I'm heading down there on the weekend to have a go on my normal road bike and get a rough idea.
    Imposter wrote:
    Most track regs dictate that only one sprocket can be fitted to a track wheel. Depends if you are building a 'fixie' or a proper track bike. If you are planning to be a track regular, I would really suggest getting hold of something more modern, rather than an 'old classic' - track bikes (the basic ones with conventional ally diamond frames) are not that expensive.

    What's the difference between a 'fixie' or a proper track bike? The only thing that made me consider the flip-flop is just so I can ride to the track after work a bit more safely. Wellington has some pretty steep inclines, really not suitable for a fixed wheel. And why do you recommend against an classic one? Surely it wouldn't make that much of a difference.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    sgt.pepper wrote:
    What's the difference between a 'fixie' or a proper track bike? The only thing that made me consider the flip-flop is just so I can ride to the track after work a bit more safely. Wellington has some pretty steep inclines, really not suitable for a fixed wheel. And why do you recommend against an classic one? Surely it wouldn't make that much of a difference.

    A 'fixie' is just a random bike with a single speed fixed wheel, mainly favoured by bearded fashionistas. A track bike is just that. Track geometry and with a single purpose. At the end of the day, it's your choice. My best suggestion is to go and watch a few track events first, which will give you a better idea of what's what.
  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    Imposter wrote:
    sgt.pepper wrote:
    What's the difference between a 'fixie' or a proper track bike? The only thing that made me consider the flip-flop is just so I can ride to the track after work a bit more safely. Wellington has some pretty steep inclines, really not suitable for a fixed wheel. And why do you recommend against an classic one? Surely it wouldn't make that much of a difference.

    A 'fixie' is just a random bike with a single speed fixed wheel, mainly favoured by bearded fashionistas. A track bike is just that. Track geometry and with a single purpose. At the end of the day, it's your choice. My best suggestion is to go and watch a few track events first, which will give you a better idea of what's what.

    Ok cool. Yeah I've maligned those fashionistas for many years. They usually don't even ride them, just push them along like a bloody accessory. I still want a retro bike but with track geometry though, at least to start with.
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