Here is our beginners guide to track cycling to help you prepare for your first session at the velodrome and now what to expect.
1. What to Wear and Bring to the session
What to wear is determined by what you find comfortable, what is safe and what is mandatory. We’ll start with the mandatory items:
- Track mitts
- Tight fitting bottoms
- Top that covers the shoulders
- If you’re not wearing cycling shoes, wear sports shoes with any laces tucked in
- Remove any peaks from your helmet
The clothing that you might find comfortable:
- Padded lycra cycling shorts
Bring along plenty of drink as you will need it through the session, although there is a water fountain you can use in the track centre.
Remember to sign onto the session before it starts on the table by the entrance to the track.
2. Hiring Track Bikes at Newport Velodrome
Before you know whether track cycling is for you, you will probably want to hire a bike from the velodrome. The following details relate to hiring a bike at Newport velodrome, which you do on the day at reception.
- Track bike pedals are Look Keos. If you don’t have cleats to match these then you will need to wear sports shoes and ride in toe clips. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE PEDALS. Please ensure your laces are double knotted and tucked into the shoe. You can always buy the compatible Look cleats from the velodrome reception on the day.
- Cost of bike hire is £10.80 for adults and £5.40 for children, payable at reception on the day.
- Helmets can also be hired from the velodrome.
- You will be able to collect your hire bike from the velodrome stores 15 minutes before the session.
- Please make sure you arrive in enough time before the session to allow time to pay for and pick up the hire bike and adjust your saddle height.
- Adjusting the saddle height is the ONLY modification you can make to the hire bikes, via a quick release. Please DO NOT attach any Garmin’s, change the pedals or tyre pressures, or sand the tyres. If you aren’t happy with your bike, please return it to reception and pick up another bike.
3. Entering The Track
When entering the track to start your session, always turn left out of the gate onto the concrete around the track and line up on the railing to get your feet clipped/strapped in.
4. Keep Pedalling!
Track bikes are fixed wheel, it has no freewheel. So basically while the wheels are turning so are your pedals and that means that you cannot bring the bike to abrupt halt without causing yourself injury or going over the handlebars. Even the most experienced road rider can make this mistake.
5. Stopping your bike
Track bikes have no brakes. Essentially your pedalling speed is your brake. To stop your bike, slow down gradually and come to almost a stop and grab onto the railing on the concrete.
6. Ride Anti-Clockwise
The track is always ridden in an anti-clockwise direction. Track bikes are set up specifically with this in mind. You will only ever turn left!
7. Always Overtake on the Right
You must always overtake on the right of the rider ahead, so on the outside of the track. Never pass on the inside, to the left of the rider ahead, unless the rider has moved up the track to specifically to let you through. Always look over your shoulder before making any manoeuvre and its good practice to flick your elbow to indicate to the rider behind you where you are intending to move by flicking your elbow out.
8. Go Above a Crash
If riders ahead of you are crashing, it may seem counter-intuitive to go up the track, but it makes sense. Gravity is going to naturally pull the crashing riders down the track with some speed. If you go underneath the track, these crashing riders are likely to collect you along the way! Be careful to look over your right shoulder before moving up the track though.
9. Speed is Your Friend
Speed is your friend on the track, it keeps you safe. Don’t try riding up the banking until you have enough speed for the centrifugal force to hold you there. If you don’t have enough speed, you will slide off down the track and take anyone else underneath with you. Track riders need to pick the speed up on the bends.
10. Tyre Inflation
Track tyres should be inflated to pressures greater than those used in road cycling. This is to ensure the tyres don’t slip on the track and minimise the rolling resistance caused by friction.