How to get into track cycling with Herne Hill Velodrome
26 July 2021
How to get into track cycling with Herne Hill Velodrome
Track cycling is booming at Herne Hill Velodrome, thanks in part to the fact that as an outdoor venue it’s been able to remain open over much of the last year, but also because so many people have picked up a bicycle as a way to exercise during lockdowns - and found that HHV is the perfect place to take it to the next level.
With the Olympics coming up, where track racing reaches a much wider audience every four years, we’re looking into how children and families can try out this exciting and inspiring sport for themselves.
Track riding involves riding a fixed-gear bicycle around a cambered and banked track at a velodrome - and with a new fleet of Frog track bikes at HHV, there’s never been a better time to give it a go. You don’t need to be an experienced cyclist, you just need to be able to ride a bike in a straight line unaided, and the friendly coaches at HHV will teach you the rest!
Herne Hill Velodrome (HHV)Herne Hill Velodrome is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year! It plays host to all kinds of cycling - but the 450-metre outdoor banked track is where you’ll find most of the action.
Come and try track cycling at HHV
The velodrome offers a broad range of fun, safe and engaging cycling sessions for riders of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, including track sessions.
Track cycling differs from other disciplines because there are so many different types of races and formations, from sprint to endurance, and bunch racing to solo time trialling - track cycling has it all and that’s why it’s a great sport to get into - you can challenge yourself as much or as little as you want to - whether it’s against yourself, against the clock, or others.
If you’re not familiar with fixed gear bikes - it just means that you can’t stop pedalling: to go faster you have to pedal faster, and you have to use your legs to slow down too. Whilst it can appear daunting at first not to have any hand brakes, it makes riders more predictable as no one can stop suddenly in front of you and once you get used to the bike and the banking, it’s an immense amount of fun!
How to start track cyclingHHV suggests it’s best to start by experiencing the track in a relaxed atmosphere with friendly coaches, by attending a track taster session. These sessions are a fun introduction to the sport that help teach children the basic principles of track riding. Here, children will learn how to ride a fixed gear bike, ride on the velodrome, and ride with other people near them.
After that, riders can attend track skills sessions, currently offered for youth several times a week, and almost every day through the summer holidays at their holiday club sessions - you can even go ride the track all day if you want to! The velodrome also offers girls-only tasters and track skills sessions. You can read more about Herne Hill’s track cycling pathway here.
You don’t need to worry about not having your own track bike because Herne Hill Velodrome has a fleet of brand new Frog track bikes suitable for ages 8 years and upwards, and bike helmets which are free to hire as part of the session cost.
Iain Cook, Cycling Manager at Herne Hill Velodrome commented “We’re really happy to have been able to extend our partnership with Frog Bikes. We started offering sessions for younger kids the same year Frog Bikes was founded back in 2013 and they’ve supported us with bikes for our sessions since their first year.
Their innovative approach and attention to detail in designing bikes specifically for children and their needs makes them an ideal partner and supplier, meaning children who visit the track can enjoy the experience more. It’s been fascinating to talk to the research and development team about the extent they go to in designing their bikes, and we hope to help them continue to develop their bikes and provide us with the best equipment for kids to learn to love the sport"
Tips and tricks to riding the trackHere are Herne Hill Velodrome’s track cycling tips to help kids get the most out of their first few sessions on the track:
• Relax and have fun
• Be aware of others around you
• Look over your shoulder before you move up or down the track
• Communicate with riders around you
• Listen out for the coaches’ instructions
• Pedal fast when the bell for the last lap rings!
Stuck with how to keep the children entertained over the holidays? HHV has lots of options for cycling sessions available over the summer holidays too!
• For riders over 8 who have completed a track taster session, they have individual sessions or sessions where your child can spend the whole day cycling
• For riders aged 10-16 the holiday clubs are from 10 am-3 pm, where children will get to spend all day riding the track - it’s where lots of our young racers hone their skills
Find out more about the holiday club sessions and booking details.
Frog Track BikesOur track bikes are great for kids looking to get into both track and grass track racing. They offer aerodynamic teardrop tubes combined with track-specific geometry to minimise drag allowing young racers to put the power down and experience the excitement of flying around the track!
Available in three sizes:
• Frog Track 58 - 20” wheel
• Frog Track 67 - 24” wheel
• Frog Track 70 - 26” wheel
For more information
To learn more about Herne Hill Velodrome or for more information on how to get into track cycling visit www.hernehillvelodrome.com