WHY: A VELODROME IS NEEDED AND LONG OVERDUE
Marin County, San Francisco, and the “East Bay” have a high-population density with a large percentage of dedicated lifestyle, recreational, sport and competitive bicyclists among them. These communities are generally affluent, health conscious and sports minded, and they are without a velodrome.
The west coast of the U.S.A. has six velodromes, in: Redmond, WA, – Portland, OR, – San Jose, CA, – two in “L.A.,” – and San Diego. This sounds good, but unfortunately, only the Portland, OR, and the Carson, CA velodromes have the shorter length, and steeply banked corners that are now desirable, and the standard of national, international, and Olympic competition. The San Jose “Hellyer Park Velodrome” is a 333m./23degree velodrome built in 1963. It is well run and attended, but it is more of a “make do with what you have” situation, than the much more desirable, contemporary 250m./43-45degree or 200m./43-47degree velodrome for riding, training, spectating, and nurturing competitive talent.
The trend is now towards smaller and steeper tracks, which are more “fun,” and contrary to intuition: are in many ways actually safer and easier to ride. The “Union Cycliste Internationale” (U.C.I.), the governing body of world cycling, recently built a new, “state-of-the-art,” indoor velodrome “World Training Center” at their headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland. This “ultimate” velodrome is 200m. with 47degree banking. They claim that training on a 200m. track and racing on a 250m. track is optimal.
From the M.C.V.A’s point of view, the “optimal” velodrome situation would be to have a 166m. indoor velodrome in Berkeley, and a 200m. outdoor velodrome in Marin, complimented by the existing ADT Event Center Velodrome in the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA, which is a superb, world-class, Olympic standard, 250m./45degree indoor velodrome.
Velodrome track riding is an exciting “pure” aspect of bicycling. The lack of multiple gears, and the fixed gear – no freewheel nature of the track bicycle, make it extremely responsive. The steep banking of a velodrome provides a very invigorating physical sensation, and the track itself provides a smooth and consistent surface. Racing or recreational, velodrome-track bicycling is fun and available to all ages and multiple skill levels. A velodrome is a safe place to ride, train, and race, removed from the hazards and concerns of public roads.
Track racing is fast! It is also an excellent spectator sport. Compared with road racing where crowds may only get one glimpse of racers going by, the velodrome captures all the action and is a great place to bring family or friends for sporting entertainment.
This velodrome is for the Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area community, including the bicycling public, and the people who care about them. It is for recreational riders, grade school to collegiate-bicycle programs, racing competitors, spectators, family and friends, and most important, for the children who will become all of the above.
With so many capable and dedicated bicyclists in the San Francisco Bay Area, it is a shame that this experience is generally denied them, especially to those serious competitors who might otherwise qualify for and achieve national, international, and Olympic results. If a contemporary velodrome were available to entice them into the sport, and then nurture them to success, it is inevitable that the San Francisco Bay Area would produce many champions. For example, consider these statistics regarding:
TOP FIVE COUNTRIES WITH OLYMPIC TRACK MEDALS (U.S.A. 9th)
|1. FRANCE:||353 medals||113 velodromes||1 per||583,000 people|
|2. ITALY:||247 medals||38 velodromes||1 per||1,617,000 people|
|3. NETHERLANDS:||237 medals||10 velodromes||1 per||1,680,000 people|
|4. ENGLAND:||218 medals||24 velodromes||1 per||2,641,000 people|
|5. AUSTRALIA:||197 medals||93 velodromes||1 per||239,000 people|
|9. U.S.A:||116 medals||26 velodromes||1 per||12,179,000 people|
U.S.A. and NEW ZEALAND: 26 VELODROMES EACH
|U.S.A.||1 VELODROME PER||12,179,000 PEOPLE|
|NEW ZEALAND||1 VELODROME PER||167,000 PEOPLE|
OLYMPIC TRACK MEDALS RELATIVE TO POPULATION
|1. NETHERLANDS||1 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDAL PER||70,907 PEOPLE|
|2. AUSTRALIA||1 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDAL PER||113,010 PEOPLE|
|3. FRANCE||1 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDAL PER||186,880 PEOPLE|
|4. ITALY||1 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDAL PER||248,915 PEOPLE|
|5. ENGLAND||1 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDAL PER||290,807 PEOPLE|
|U.S.A.||1 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDAL PER||2,729,000 PEOPLE|
|S. F. BAY AREA||0 OLYMPIC TRACK MEDALS PER||7,300,000 PEOPLE|
In Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area we have a high level of bicycling participation, enthusiasm, and talent. Given that velodrome and BMX track racing are Olympic sports, having these facilities here would establish Marin County as a truly complete and world class bicycling community, and provide tremendous future incentive and opportunities for our youth bicycling programs.
Good things are worth waiting for, and the timing for a velodrome has never been better. Only recently, contemporary computer assisted velodrome design and construction using modern materials have reached a new level of quality, durability and economy that was previously unavailable.
It is very clear that the bicycling and athletic community of Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area will benefit from a world class velodrome; and that realizing this, is long overdue.
Let’s start with the Marin Velodrome.
The bicyclists and desire for a velodrome are here.
The designers of velodromes and facilities are here.
The land is available.
The builders are here.
The people to take responsibility and manage the velodrome are here.
The riders, the spectators, their families and friends are here.
Velodrome-track bicycling is about community health and healthy living, civic pride, promoting pro-life activities, and doing good things for present, and future generations.
Now is the time. Please support the Marin Velodrome.