Over the last year the Club has run several outings to the indoor Velodrome at Calshot Actvity Centre near Southampton. These events have proved increasingly popular and the latest, on Friday 28th October saw 18 of us driving down the A34 for a 4 hour session exclusive to NRC.
The group split evenly between those who have never been on a track before, and others with varying degrees of experience. We’ve been fortunate enough to use the same coach, James, for each of our trips: his relaxed and professional approach really adds to the day, and he’s been great to work with, customising his approach to the Clubs members. Safety is paramount (cycle tracks are busy environments) closely followed by enjoyment!
It’s worth knowing that the Calshot track is smaller than those you see on televised events, which means the banking is more exaggerated than usual, 45 degrees at the outside edges, and yes, by the end of the day everyone rode it! In my view it makes the riding even more fun!
Peter Cookson, one of our newer members and a track novice was blown away:
“I have always been mesmerised by the likes of Sir Jason Kenny racing around the banked curves of a cycling track and wondered how track cycling compared with road cycling. The Newbury Road Club visit to the Calshot Velodrome near Southampton last Friday offered me the opportunity to find out. I was slightly apprehensive about riding a fixed gear bike with no brakes for the first time and clipping in took a bit of practice but the clear directions given by our coach James meant we were up and running in no time”.
"We split in to two groups of “newbies” and “old lags” and alternated sessions of around 15 minutes through the afternoon from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Initially we cycled on the flat central area to become familiar with the feel of the bike. We then progressed to completing laps of the track between the lower lines before moving up the banking to the “stayers lines” (used for Madison races) as our bike control, speed and track awareness improved. We completed solo laps and also worked in groups rotating leads. I was surprised how quickly I felt confident to ride at speed higher up the banked track which is an exhilarating feeling. My track cycling skills still need a lot of polishing but by the end of the day track cycling felt far more natural than I had expected at the outset"
“A fabulous experience and I would definitely go again!”
The second group built on previous experience, practicing more advanced drills, building confidence and speed under James careful tutelage. Impressively fast laps were ticked off, with all of us relishing the “go for it” nature of the routines. It’s easy to see how much individual skills and understanding have progressed with each visit and hopefully we can continue to build - without getting too competitive 😉
With Adrenalin still flowing, a pint (or two) at a cosy local pub on the shores of the Solent was the perfect way to end an exhilarating day
Over 30 of the members have now enjoyed these trips, many of them on repeat visits. Our aim is to run them twice a year, and particularly to encourage novices to try out the experience. Watch out for next year’s schedule of ride events and treat yourself to a very memorable experience.