Track cycling is a cycling discipline held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes.
The most notable difference to many other forms of cycling is the bike used for track cycling.
A track bike, unlike road bikes, is fixed-gear. It therefore has only a single gear ratio and has neither a freewheel or brakes. This means that riders must continue to pedal at all times, controlling their speed through the pressure asserted through the pedals. The mantra ‘keep pedalling’ can often be heard shouted out on tracks and velodromes.
However, to have a go at track cycling, there’s no need to rush out and purchase a shiny new fixed wheel bike. Bikes are often available to hire from your local velodrome.
We are lucky to have a number of facilities within a short distance of Warrington.
Most notably; the National Cycling Centre, the home of the British Cycling Team, and where GB track cycling athletes train, is just over 20 miles and less than 40 minutes drive away from Warrington, at Sportcity in Manchester.
There are also two outdoor tracks within a relatively short distance, Knowsley Velodrome in Huyton, and one at Lyme Valley Stadium in Newcastle Under Lyne. These tracks are concrete tracks and are marginally less banked than the Manchester Velodrome.
These outdoor tracks have the disadvantage of weather susceptibility as conditions must be dry for track cycling, a significant problem at times for UK located outdoor tracks!
How to get involved
Taster sessions are available at local velodromes, most notably, and frequently, at the National Cycling Centre in Manchester. These can be booked directly through the National Cycling Centre.
Following on from tasters, riders can enter the accreditation process, which enables riders to ride the track in open sessions, train on Structured Quality Training (SQT) sessions, and to race in track leagues.
Local outdoor velodromes will sometimes host taster days for new riders. If we become aware of these they will be posted on our club forum and FaceBook pages for our members’ information.
Track Cycling with the club
North Cheshire Clarion has 2 Level 2 qualified Track Coaches, one of whom is currently working towards their Level 3 qualification and regularly coaches at the National Cycling Centre, including coaching SQT sessions.
The club offers club track sessions at the National Cycling Centre on average every 2-3 months for its members.
The club sessions are well planned and structured, and are a fantastic opportunity to gain confidence and develop skills on the track alongside fellow club members.
Some example feedback from our club sessions:
‘I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s track session. Really challenged by riding and changing in pairs, but great feeling after!’
‘It was great fun and a good opportunity to chat to other NCC members. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!’
Track accreditation process – The National Cycling Centre
The Accreditation process is for riders aged 15+ who want to get more involved in the sport, either by regularly training on SQT sessions, by racing at the track leagues, or to ride at other UK indoor velodromes.
Under 15 year old riders can gain accreditation as club members through the club’s access to British Cycling Go-Ride coach-led Coaching Clusters. If our younger club members are interested in this, they can find out more from their Go-Ride coaches.
Stage 1 Accreditation
If you’ve ridden at least 3 Taster sessions and simply want to ride the track more often for general fitness without racing or training on SQTs, then following Stage 1 – the Regular Rider Sessions may suit you better, particularly if you have your own track bike.
At Stage 1 accreditation you’ll be coached and assessed on the basic skills needed to start your journey towards accreditation. This includes:
- Joining and leaving the track safely as a group
- Maneuvering on the track in the straights
- Riding safely in a line of riders
- Changing from front to the back of the line (from “Black line” and “Blue line”)
- Riding the top of the track (solo)
Pass this session and gain your blue slip to proceed on the track accreditation pathway.
Passing Stage 1 enables riders to attend the Regular Riders sessions where you can continue to practice the fundamental skills learned before you book onto Stage 2 of the Accreditation process.
Stage 2 Accreditation
The next step to enhancing your skills and overall fitness.
This session focuses on specific key skills and routines designed to make you a fitter, safer and more confident track cyclist.
Pass the assessment in this session and gain your pink slip to proceed on the track accreditation pathway, Stage 3.
Stage 3 Accreditation
A two hour session where you’ll learn the necessary skills to be a fully accredited rider. A coach will be on track to lead and teach you these skills, which will be assessed in the accreditation session.
Pass the assessment in this session and gain your green slip to proceed to Stage 4.
Stage 4 Accreditation
This is a test of track craft for candidates to demonstrate the skills learned so that they can safely ride the Structured Quality Training (SQT) sessions. You will need to prove your fitness by staying on the track for 35 minutes.
Once Accreditation is gained, access is available to Structured Quality Training (SQT).
SQTs are for accredited riders aged 15 years or older. They are training sessions that will test your fitness and some sessions can prepare you for various types of racing.
UK Track Accreditation Scheme
If you are a member of British Cycling, following successful accreditation there will be an endorsement added to your membership card/licence as a UK Indoor Velodrome accredited rider. This will give you access to Glasgow, Newport, London and Derby.
The track racing season runs from September to April.
There are 3 night’s of League racing at The National Cycling Centre throughout the season.
Please note that hire bikes can not be used for racing at the National Cycling Centre.
Manchester Regional Track League First Division
Racing is held on Friday evenings from 7.30 – 10pm and includes racing for Cat 2, 3, 4, Women and U14/U16 (Youth A/B).
Manchester Regional Track League Premier Division
Racing is held on Tuesday evenings from 7.45 – 10pm and includes racing for Cat 1, 2, 3 and 4. Youth A rider eligibility is
subject to rider position in Friday league and Women entry is by invitation.
ACT Track League
Racing is held on Monday evenings from 7.30 – 10pm.
All meetings open to Youths, Cat 3 & 4 Juniors, Cat 2, 3 & 4 Women, Cat 2, 3 & 4 Veterans and Cat 3 & 4 Seniors.
Knowsley Track League
During the season there is racing every Friday evening from 7 – 9pm at the Knowsley Track (weather permitting).
This is preceded by youth coaching at 6pm.
Bikes are available to hire.
Brooks Cycles Track League
The Brooks Cycles Track League is held every Thursday evening in season (weather permitting) at the Lyme Valley Stadium in Newcastle Under Lyne.