Velodromes: A labor of love

Australia’s Hanson Reserve velodrome, located in Adelaide, has been sitting unused for 7 years now.  The track as seen the likes of Stuart O’Grady grace the concrete outdoor track. Up until 2006 that is, when a new rubberized track surface was installed. According to local cyclists, the track was much slower after the new surface, and was later deemed unsafe for competition. It has remained unused for racing ever since.

Recently a group of local cyclists have been trying to get permission to remove the rubberized surface themselves. The Adelaide city council has responded with an anticipated concern regarding insurance and quality of work.

Something about velodromes really seem to bring out the community and get folks to pitch in to make things happen. Here in California, a similar grass roots style effort was begun a few years ago by VeloReviews contributor Dean Alleger. In an effort that has culminated in the Sacramento Valley Velodrome Association, Alleger brought together cyclists both local and nationwide to support the effort to build a brand new velodrome in the Sacramento, CA area. Through a series of clever fundraising efforts, hard work and smart use of social media, this group of cyclists is on the cusp of having something built. According to Alleger:

Back in October I had a meeting with Dain Domich, Jim Combs, Kevin McCarty, Stantec, and my board and all have agreed to move forward with the project at Granite Regional Park. We are looking at a three pronged approach to getting funding. 1/3 from the developers of the Park, 1/3 naming rights, and 1/3 grassroots community support. I am working on launching our Kilo Club where I am recruiting 100 people or small groups to contribute $1000 each. These 100 will be our Founders. This is seed money to really get the ball rolling. Kevin McCarty said we can start offering naming rights and that I am free to approach craft beer companies. I have connections with two rather large California brewers and am exploring these options. Our next step at the site is to get it surveyed and have our engineers at Stantec give us an idea of how to proceed. Then we can call for bids from track builders.
I have begun informal workouts with local kids, getting them used to pedaling fixed gear bikes in the school parking lot across the street from my house, and am looking for funding to start taking them to Hellyer Park Velodrome in San Jose for novice and/or juniors sessions and racing. I need a passenger van and a gas card to get moving.
Also on the horizon is the Tour of California. Folsom Parks Director Robert Goss contacted me about doing some promo events at the Folsom Rodeo. Probably 3-4 consecutive Thursdays leading up to the Tour I’m looking at doing mostly kids races – balance bikes and 12″ 16″ 20″ 24″ wheel classes – with some dirt jump exhibitions, three wheeled adult bikes miss n outs, BMX side car hack barrel races, a fat tire public race, and cargo bike sprint races. Savage Rodeo Sprints is the working title. Also included will be a dog park area, beer garden, and food trucks. As this begins to take shape I will be looking to do the same at Granite Regional Park.

Back in Adelaide, local news reports the city council is making signals that there may be relief in site for the track racers:

AFTER seven years of being off-limits to cyclists, a Woodville Gardens velodrome could finally be on its way to a permanent fix.

Port Adelaide Enfield Council has budgeted $50,000 for a masterplan to upgrade Hanson Reserve including resurfacing the velodrome and has asked the State Government to pitch in a similar amount.