Ribble Cycles Celebrate Uk's Velodromes

Monday 23rd January 2017

After the government announced they will invest £24m in the 2019 Road World Cycling Championships in Yorkshire and the promise that £15m of this budget will be used to develop 27 cycle sport facilities*, new research takes a look at current cycling facilities in the UK. Leading cycling retailer and manufacturer Ribble Cycles are helping budding cyclists across the UK learn more about where they can get on the track, by taking a look at velodromes across the country and where the most notable British cyclists have trained.


To illustrate their research Ribble Cycles has produced a map which allows aspiring cyclists to locate their nearest training ground and help them get started on two wheels, whilst also finding out where some of the biggest names in cycling including Sir Chris Hoy, Laura Kenny, Bradley Wiggins and Becky James have all trained in the past. Like many great sporting feats, the results of London 2012 and this year's Rio Olympics came after years of practice, dedication and investment. From the first velodrome at Preston Park to the infamous Manchester Velodrome, Ribble are looking back at the finest velodromes the UK has to offer and some of the great velodromes of the past.

Focusing on some of the oldest Velodromes across the UK, Ribble Cycles gained a unique insight into how these cycling facilities have flourished.


Speaking on the history and development of one of the UK’s open velodromes, David Viner, Chair Person  Cycling section, Halesowen Athletic & Cycling Club said: “Halesowen cycle track was built at Manor Abbey Sports Ground in 1948 thanks to the foresight of some local business people and many volunteers. “Many world class riders including Reg Harris and Jan Derkson rode on the track in the late 40s and through the 50s in front of crowds of 7000 to 8000.”


“Nowadays the track holds many training sessions for youngsters and older riders each week plus race meetings.  The track also makes it possible for young bike riders known as the 'Free Wheelers' (5 to 12 years) to hone their cycle skills in a safe environment.”


“We are well respected locally on the road, promoting two road races each year, running a successful academy team and having a regular cycling club. All together we have over 200 members but new members (plus coaches/volunteers) are always welcome!”


Phil Wright, Cycling Coach and Chair of the Friends of Herne Hill Velodrome spoke to Ribble Cycles about the setbacks and triumphs of one of the oldest cycling tracks in the world: “ Herne Hill Velodrome goes back a long way: it opened in 1891 and famously hosted the 1948 Olympics. “These days we offer a huge variety of cycling sessions. Schools, colleges and universities, veterans, women and disability groups are all catered for, as well as under 8s and even under 4s on balance bikes. There has been an increase in interest in track cycling, especially after the Olympics, and it is great to see a wide range of people taking part.”


“Having fallen into disrepair Herne Hill nearly closed in 2010. But thanks to a generous donation from British Cycling and some incredible

campaigning from local residents, we were able to raise enough money to relay the track and add facilities including a junior track and a multi use-games area. The final phase of our ‘Save the Velodrome’ campaign is a new pavilion and it’s due to open in February this year. It’s an exciting time for Herne Hill.”

“As a track coach, seeing the excitement in people's eyes when they first race a fixed-wheel bike is a wonderful thing. There’s a real focus on youth riders and we have some great talent coming through. I’ve lost count lately of our National Champion tally and there are currently two Herne Hill riders in British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Program with plenty more knocking on the door.”

“A lot of what we do is run by volunteers and that can cause stress and strain. Cycling as a sport obviously does receive some funding from the government but more money would be really helpful to relieve some of the pressures the volunteers are under. And it would help to create more terrific cycling centres like Herne Hill Velodrome.”


Matthew Lawson, Chief Marketing Officer, at Ribble Cycles said: “With the buzz around British cycling still circulating from the Rio Olympics, we think it’s important to show just how much the UK has to offer in terms of training space for cyclists. “Whether it’s your first time on the track or you’ve been using your local velodrome for years, we hope this research encourages Brits to visit some of the UK’s finest velodromes where so many cycling stars have been in the past.”


To find out more about the history of Britain’s velodromes please visit: http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/blog/britains-best-velodromes/