TRACK
Track racing takes place on short specially built tracks consisting of two tight, banked corners joined by two short straights. Tracks range hugely in length - outdoor tracks usually being longer and with shallower bankings - but Olympic and World Championship Track racing is generally held on indoor 250m wooden tracks. Many outdoor tracks are concrete or tarmac surfaced.

Bikes

Track bikes are relatively simple, lacking the gears and brakes of their road cousins. With bikes having a fixed wheel (forcing you to pedal continuously) the rider controls speed through pressure applied to the pedals. Bikes fall into two broad categories

Get Into Track Racing

Riding the track requires some special equipment and skills. However, many tracks and some clubs offer coaching and bike hire.

Britain's indoor tracks - Manchester, Newport (S.Wales) and Calshot (near Southampton) - all have regular public beginner or "taster" sessions where newcomers are taken through the necessary skills by a trained coach. These are fun, cheap and easy for virtually anyone over the age of 12 to take part in. More technically and physically testing training sessions are also available.

During the winter, indoor tracks are the only option, but in the summer Britain's many outdoor tracks come into their own and most have resident clubs, which are usually happy to help you get into the sport.

Track racing beginners usually find their feet in local events, which are often run as weekly leagues. These give you the opportunity to take part in several races during an evening's racing - most leagues group riders according to ability. A British Cycling membership and licence are usually needed for most events and the category system is very similar to that used by road racers.

Over recent years Old Portlian riders have ridden track races at Herne Hill for example. Although the club is not strong in this field at the moment, there is a wealth of expertise and encouragement to be drawn on so if you are interested, get in touch.