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Welcome to the Track: A Beginner's Guide to Track Cycling

Track cycling is a thrilling sport that combines speed, precision, and endurance within the velodrome's banked turns. If you're new to the scene, starting can seem daunting. Fear not! We've compiled five essential steps to kickstart your track cycling adventure. Whether you're aiming to compete or just looking for a new cycling discipline to enjoy, these tips will have you circling the track with confidence in no time.

1. Understand the Basics of Track Cycling

Before you hit the track, it's crucial to grasp the sport's fundamentals. Track cycling is performed on a velodrome, a specially designed track with steeply banked curves. Races vary in format, ranging from individual time trials to team pursuits and sprint events. Unlike road cycling, track bikes have a fixed gear and no brakes, requiring riders to use their legs to accelerate and decelerate.

Recommended Advice:

  • Watch track cycling events online or attend local races to observe.
  • Familiarise yourself with different track cycling disciplines to find your interest.

2. Get the Right Gear

Investing in the proper equipment is essential for safety and performance on the track. At a minimum, you'll need a track-specific bicycle, a helmet, and appropriate cycling attire. Track bikes are unique; they're lightweight and have a fixed gear without brakes. For beginners, renting equipment from your local velodrome can be a cost-effective way to get started.

Recommended Advice:

  • Visit a local bike shop specialising in track cycling to get advice on the right bike and gear.
  • Consider renting equipment initially to ensure track cycling suits you before making significant investments.

3. Learn the Rules and Etiquette

Track cycling has its own set of rules and etiquette to ensure everyone's safety and enjoyment. This includes understanding how to enter and exit the track safely, overtaking rules, and the importance of maintaining a predictable line while riding.

Recommended Advice:

  • Join a beginner's track cycling class at your local velodrome.
  • Study the basic rules of track cycling and observe them in practice sessions.

4. Start Training

Track cycling requires a unique set of skills and fitness levels. Starting with basic riding skills on the track is crucial, gradually building up your speed and endurance. Many velodromes offer beginner courses that teach you how to handle a track bike, navigate the banked turns, and develop racing techniques.

Recommended Advice:

  • Enrol in a beginner training program at your local velodrome.
  • Incorporate specific fitness training off the bike to improve your strength and endurance.

5. Join the Community

One of the best ways to improve and enjoy track cycling is by becoming part of the community. Joining a local cycling club or group can provide you with valuable advice, mentorship, and the opportunity to participate in organised training sessions and events.

Recommended Advice:

  • Look for track cycling clubs or groups in your area and attend their meetups or rides.
  • Participate in track days or cycling events to gain experience and make connections within the cycling community.

Wrapping Up

Embarking on your track cycling journey is an exciting endeavour that opens up a new realm of cycling discipline, filled with speed, strategy, and camaraderie. By following these five steps, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the thrills of the velodrome. Remember, every champion started as a beginner, and with dedication and practice, you too can master the art of track cycling.

Welcome to the track – your cycling adventure awaits!