Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome (Andrew)

Does Sir Chris Hoy have to pay to work out in the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome? Does Olympic swimming champion Adam Peaty have to find 20p for a locker when he pops into Uttoxeter Leisure Centre’s Adam Peaty Swimming Pool? Because otherwise what’s the point of having a sport centre named after you if you can’t get in for free?

Whether Sir Chris has to pay or not, he might first ask himself if he really wants to ride the cycling track in the velodrome? I assume after five gold medals and 15 year career racing in velodromes that the answer will probably be “yes, I, Sir Chris Hoy, gold medal winning track cyclist and one of Britain’s greatest Olympians will ride the track!” but, as he now spends more time racing cars, maybe he’s scunnered and doesn’t want to go anywhere near a 45 degree sloping wall?

I know how he feels.

The fear of a 45 degree sloping wall, not the whole being one of the greatest athletes in the world.

I thought it would be great to learn how to ride in the velodrome. It would give an opportunity to ride indoors during winter months and to learn a new skill: dangerous balancing. See also tight rope walking for more examples of dangerous balancing.

In order to start at the velodrome I had to complete four induction courses. You can find more details of them here: Velodrome

However I quickly realised that I didn’t have what it takes to ride in a circle again and again and again.

It wasn’t the steep walls. After the first couple of circuits it felt natural to ride the steep banks. It wasn’t other riders, though having seen one accident – Iain TwinBikeRun describe it here Welcome to the Velodrome (Iain) – I wasn’t keen to see another. It was actually a single thought that stopped me going back. That thought was this: “What if I get a puncture?”

You can’t ride a bike without getting a puncture. It’s as much a part of riding as wobbling and pretending to fall off is a part of tight rope walking.

And there’s nothing you could do if you get a puncture while riding 10 foot up a track.

Now you could say that all life is a risk and that at any moment a bolt of lightning could shatter a peaceful blue sky and strike you dead, which is true. Life is filled with randomness. But that doesn’t mean I need to be standing in the middle of a field waving a long metal stick while shouting “Everyone knows the Good Lord smells!”

Which, in my mind, is the same thing as riding a bike on a velodrome track waiting for the inevitable puncture.

It wasn’t for me.

Maybe it’s for you.

The induction is well run, felt safe and was fun. I’d definitely recommend trying it – but it just wasn’t for me.

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