Track Racing and the Velodrome: Background information when reading Gold

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Gold
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2012,
    336 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2013,
    368 pages.

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Track Racing and the Velodrome

The first velodrome was built around 1870 in Brighton, England. The word velodrome derives from velocipede (Latin: fast foot), which is the term used to describe any human-powered land vehicle with one or more wheels; and drome, from the Latin dromus meaning racecourse.

There are thousands of velodromes in the world, both indoor and outdoor, located everywhere from Europe to Tahiti which vary in shape, size and materials used - inexpensive tracks are usually made out of concrete, tarmac or even cinder, while world class tracks tend to be made out of timber or synthetics; but to be considered an Olympic or World Championship velodrome the track must be 250m, consisting of two steeply banked semi-circular bends connected by two straight stretches. The banks aim to match the natural lean of the bicycle through the curve, so that the bikes stay more or less perpendicular (i.e. at 90°) to the track even when curving at speeds of 50+ mph.

Track bikes have only one gear and no...

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