Top five reasons to ride the velodrome
Not everybody is lucky enough to live close to an indoor velodrome. If you do, and you haven’t yet tried it, it is time to shake off your inhibitions and get down for a taster session!
Especially in the winter months, riding on the track is far more fun and in many ways better training than the turbo.
1. Stay dry and warm!
No matter what the weather outside, it is always dry and warm on the velodrome. We ourselves live near Geneva, where sub-zero temperatures, ice and strong winds during the winter make riding on the road too dangerous for days and sometimes weeks on end. Under these conditions, the track is a godsend!
2. Improve your pedalling
Track bikes come with a fixed gear and no brakes. This means you have to pedal all the time, and at much higher cadences than on the road, which is great for developing a smooth, circular pedal stroke. A one-hour session on the velodrome is worth double the time on the road, because you can never free-wheel!
3. Practice drafting and relaying
Riding on the track is all about drafting and relaying. A smoothly functioning line is like poetry in motion, the front rider arcing up the banking and dropping back perfectly just behind the back wheel of the last rider in line. You very quickly feel the benefit of staying close. Just try maintaining the same speed on your own!
4. Bike handling
Riding at high speed in close proximity to others, with no brakes and only one gear, forces you to ride differently. You must anticipate the relative speeds and the actions of other riders, and learn to vary your speed and trajectory very precisely to stay safe and optimum. This is great training for fast bunch riding on the road.
5. High intensity training
It is easy to ride safely for long periods on the track at or close to your threshold, with no need to slow down at junctions or worry about traffic. This is especially good for time-triallers, due to the high cadence/high power combination inherent to the track, but good for climbers too. It’s also great for sprint training, which is again safer than on the road.