Track Cycling: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Track cycling is a completely different discipline than road or mountain rides. The main event refers to the Six Day Series that is a real show and an attraction for big crowds, sponsors and betting enthusiasts.

It is a bicycle race without braking, in an arena that looks similar to the wall of death. On such trials, riders are developing unimaginable speeds, and each race carries particular excitement and risk. They may seem too extreme, but track cycling races are the Olympic discipline with clearly defined standards.

In order to understand this sport better, we must learn more about its primary principles.

Velodrome

A unique hall for track cycling is called velodrome. Those are usually indoor arenas with trails covered by the wooden board and the “bank” of 45 degrees in the corners. They can also be outdoor stadiums with a concrete surface.

For the Six Days Series, the standard is a 250 m or 330 m long trail. For other events, it’s not so relevant. The warm-up area is marked with a blue color, and the black line represents the shortest route. On the other side is a red line, and together they form the “sprinters lane” — space that determines the movement for each rider.

Bikes

The track bikes are quite simply constructed but atomically adapted to be more aerodynamic. Additional aerodynamics can be achieved by placing discs in the wheel frames, front or rear, depending on the race in which they are competing.

Unlike ordinary bikes, these are made of aluminum, sometimes even steel. Like mountain bikes, they require heavier materials to resist the demanding roads.

Typical for track bikes is that they do not have brakes, and as such require superior riding skills. The only way to stop is to gradually reduce the pressure on the pedals.

Equipment

When it comes to riding clothes, there are some standards. Each rider wears a special skin suit that deflects wind. The suit even has channels on the arms which draw the air from the rider’s shoulders and send it to their back.

In this type of track cycling, athletes use different equipment, especially sprinter track cyclists who use extra straps to keep their foot on the pedal. Interestingly, there is a rule about standard sock height.

Track Cycling Events

Track Cycling events are divided into two different categories — sprint or endurance. As the name implies, sprint events are short races that require tactics, speed and strength. Unlike them, endurance challenges are more a matter of stamina, strength and skills.

The Six Day Series brings together several different disciplines into one big and most prestigious event. It includes the races named Keirin, Omnium, Madison, The Elimination and 200 m Sprint.

Track Racing Skills

It is considered to be one of the fastest racing sports. However, track racing requires certain skills just like any other type of cycling — excellent fitness, a sense of balance and, of course, the ability to steer a bike. However, with the speed a bike develops on the track, it may still take something more than just steering and pedaling, like courage and stamina.