We reveal the top reasons why you should take up this exciting sport!
Jumping on a bike that has no brakes and a tiny saddle, and then racing around a track at terrifying speeds seems unwise. What’s more, you’re pedalling at 110-130 revolutions per minute, and your muscles are screaming in agony at the effort. Forget that advice you always got as a child to keep clear of other riders — as a track cyclist, you need to cycle so close to others that the handlebars are touching. It’s enough to put anyone off, right? Not at all! Here are THREE awesome reasons to take up track cycling.
1 You’re following in the footsteps (or pedals?) of local champions.
World champion cyclists Wong Kam-po and Sarah Lee Wai-sze are two local success stories who are raising the profile of track cycling in Hong Kong. These two athletes are both great role models. Sarah Lee is particularly inspiring as she brought home Hong Kong’s first Olympic medal in cycling after competing in the keirin event at the London 2012 Games. Other cyclists are on the up, and wouldn’t it be cool to be one of them!
2 Hong Kong has great facilities.
When Wong Kam-po won gold in the men’s road race at the 2006 Asian Games, the HKSAR Government agreed to build a state-of-the-art velodrome in Hong Kong. Opened in Tseung Kwan O in 2013, it means that it’s now unnecessary for up-and-coming local cyclists to go to mainland China to train. The Hong Kong Velodrome can also host large track racing events. To local enthusiasts’ delight, a round of the Track Cycling World Cup was held for the first time in 2016.
3 It’ll make you a better cyclist.
Many road cyclists say that the intensity of track cycling makes them fitter and faster. As track cyclists need to cycle very fast, they’re experts at controlling their bikes. This leads to fewer accidents when back on the road. Cycling indoors has other advantages too. There are no pedestrians or stray dogs that get in your way. You don’t need to stop at traffic lights either — you can concentrate just on cycling.
What is the keirin?
The keirin is a type of cycle race. It was first introduced for men in the 2000 Olympics. Cyclists first follow a motorbike (or pacer) while they jostle for the best position. At first, the pacer travels at about 25 km/h and gradually increases to 50 km/h. With 600–700 metres left to go, the pacer leaves the track and the contestants cycle as fast as possible towards the finish, often crossing the line at about 75 km/h — that’s faster than the speed limit on the East Kowloon Corridor!
Hong Kong Velodrome
This world class velodrome has a 250-metre cycling track and seating for 3,000 spectators. It boasts other facilities such as a climbing wall, jogging track and skatepark.