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A Taste of the Track

03 Apr 2015

Photo by Leigh Hicks

This week I went for a Track Taster Session at the Olympic Velodrome at Lee Valley in London – a present from my lovely wife Leigh. Track cycling involves riding a fixed gear bike, and this was my first time – no coasting, no brakes and a high gear. To slow you change your pedalling accordingly, and try to kick back, upon which you can really feel the bike kicking back against you.

When we arrived, the camber of the track at the highest points was rather scary. I couldn’t see how it could be done without slipping off. The tutor was great though and once over the initial slow laps, I was more confident. Riding the sprinters line was actually really exciting – as long as you kept the pace up. Towards the end of the hour session my legs were starting to hurt, and the advice was to stay off the top line once you felt tired – otherwise you would slip.

It was really, really fun. Once you trained yourself to not worry about anyone sudden braking (because they couldn’t) it was exhilarating. While I’m not going to do the next 3 courses to become accredited (that’s if you want to race Track) I would definitely do it again.

If you’re planning on doing the taster session, I would really recommend hiring shoes, or if you use Look Keo cleats, bringing your own. I plumped for using trainers with toeclips and straps and it was a bloody nightmare. Not only very uncomfortable, but squeaky too, and my left foot kept trying to come out. At one point it did, and I had no choice but to let the toeclip scrape along the track floor until I could finish the lap. I wish they’d said it was so much harder work than cleats.

Trying fixed didn’t make me want to add a fixie to my current stable of bikes. It’s not something I would ride around town, but I would ride it again in a velodrome.


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    Inktober Day 15. @hicksmade’s staircase led me to this. There must be a hairdressers somewhere called this? #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #hairwaytosteven

  • 14 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 14 - from @hicksmade’s theme of escape, and tonight’s Dr Who, with a return to classic theme: running!. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #drwho #pictogram #signage

  • 14 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 13 is more of a doodle as time was very short! There was a bird in @hicksmade’s day 13 so I ran with that. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 12 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 12. Thinking about @hicksmade’s lumos led me to this “please don’t turn me off…”. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #sadlightswitch

  • 11 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 11. The shape of @hicksmade’s spoons made me think of the Mandrake - a root that looks like a tiny human. There are lots of legends around it, but this one is based on the Harry Potter interpretation. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #mandrake #harrypotter

  • 10 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 10. @hicksmade led with a lovely bee, which made me think of the Jesus and Mary Chain song “Just like honey”. Fancied trying something different so went for a 60s typographical thingy . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #honey

  • 10 Oct 2018

    Beautiful morning at North Leigh Common!

  • 09 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 9, as the crow flies. An obvious link from @hicksmade’s scarecrow, but I’m much happier with this one compared to yesterday’s. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #crow

  • 09 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 8 and boy am I cross with how this one turned out. It’s utter pants. Supposed to be Bill Murray and Scarlet Johannsen in Lost in Translation, not that you could tell from this. Bill looks like a zombie, and goodness knows what that is on the right. It put me in such a bad mood last night, but I need to let it go and move on. (I even cheated a bit and touched up some bits in Photoshop!). The one bit I’m happy with is his neck, and that’s it. Rant over #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 07 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 7. When @hicksmade drew an apple, I couldn’t get the apple bonkers from Yellow Submarine out of my head. Those faces gave me nightmares as a child. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #yellowsubmarine #applebonkers

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