Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Velodrome Training

Houston's Alkek Velodrome  has a training program that will certify you to race in the velodrome. The next training session is this Saturday May 21st Noon to 3:00 PM.  You can get the details from their Facebook Page which gets updated more than their web site.  They provide the instructor and bike you just need to bring your enthusiasm and bike gear.  At $20 this course is a bargain.

Ever since I first saw velodrome racing in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics I have wanted to try pedaling on the banked oval and was able to check this off the bucket-list a couple years back.  My course was designed to run Tuesday & Thursday evenings over two weeks.  We had rain delays and dates got moved around.  By the end of the sessions our group of maybe 30 had whittled down to 6 graduates.  I haven't raced since but am happy to say I gave it a try and completed the training.  Some advice:

  • Get ready to ride.  There wasn't a lot of time spent getting to know you or chit-chatting.  It was hi see that line? Stay above it. Enter the track here and exit there. Now get on your bike.  We went around the warm up circle in the middle of the track a few times (my first time ever riding fixed gear) and then we were on track.  It was a little unnerving.
  • Relax.  After each session my forearms were killing me.  I was squeezing the handlebars so tight because riding fixed geared, no brakes, on a bank was such a strange feeling.  When I finally relaxed and enjoyed the experience my arms and hands eased up.
  • I would recommend bringing your own pedals.  When I did the training I was too lazy to take the pedals off my road bike and used the old school pedals that were on my loaner bike and wore my running shoes.  Trying to get my foot into the clips on a fixed geared bike I couldn't coast was hard.  For a couple sessions the clips I had were really old and laid smashed against the pedals making it impossible to slip my foot in.  I was already the slowest Fred (damn straight I wore my mountain bike helmet) out there and hearing the instructor yell at me to "get in the clips" didn't help.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bike Month & Bike To Work Day

Once again it is Bike Month featuring Bike To Work rides throughout the city.  You can get the details at Bike Houston.  Here is a list of events.

Rides & Events
May 6th Bike to Work Texas Medical Center
May 12th Bike to Work Greenway Plaza/Galleria
May 13th Bike to Work Sugarland
May 19th Bike to Work Energy Corridor
May 19th Bike to Work NASA
May 20th Bike to Work Downtown

May 21st Bike to Work Woodlands

I have skipped this event the last couple years but am going to make it a priority this year.  My concern always around this time of year, and what has stopped me from joining this event in the past, is lightning.  I don't mind riding in rain, sometimes it draws out some boyhood fun, but I'm not looking to get zapped.  Also George Bush Park is flooded and will probably stay that way for a few more weeks meaning I have to ride around the park and deal with more cagers.  Usually in the morning if I leave early enough it is fine, but the evening sometimes can be a bit of a hassle.  Hope to see you out there on your bikes.