As a keen (but slow) cyclist, I have always been fascinated with the success of our British Olympic indoor cycling team. Speaking to several customers who were like minded cyclists, I decided to organise a velodrome experience day at Team GB head quarters in Manchester.
Ben Hirst, Tom Brook and myself arrived at the velodrome to greet our customers and look at the track. As we got out of the lift to look down at the track, panic set in. This looked hard.
What the camera doesn’t show on TV is the sheer gradient of the side walls you have to climb.
As our guests arrived, their faces were showing the same panic we had minutes earlier from the task that laid ahead.
We got our helmets and shoes, got changed into our new bespoke Horizon cycling jerseys, and made our way to the track for our health and safety briefing.
Our instructor for the afternoon was Russ, a no nonsense Geordie whose advice was simple. Don’t stop peddling (the bikes were fixed wheel so you can’t just stop), don’t look for your brakes as there aren’t any and please do go as fast as you can or you will slide off the track. Brilliant.
All 15 of us set off with caution going round the inside of the track still nervous of the great banked walls we were soon going to be climbing. After a few minutes our coach pointed at people to move onto the track. ” don’t forget to go fast”.
After 5 minutes I learnt 2 things:
1, the walls were not too bad if you kept a good speed up.
2, it is hard to keep your speed up because this is hard.
Once our confidence was up, the day got better and better, all 15 of us were peddling with big grins on our faces.
We had a couple of moving start 1 lap races in the last hour with some impressive times coming from our group. Watch out Ed Clancy we are coming for you.
Our group was mixed with experienced cyclists to a few who didn’t go out at all. In fact Tom Brook practiced the night before on his friends mountain bike riding up and down his street.
We are still unsure if he had stabilisers fitted.
By the end of the two hours, we all improved massively with everybody agreeing it was a fantastic day.
A big thank you to the staff and coach at the National Cycling Centre for making the day such an incredible occasion. We all hope to be back next year with part two of the Horizon Platforms Velodrome day.
Matt Fray – Account Manager