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Fixed Wheel & Track

We hope anytime is a good time to expound the benefits of cycling, in particular the track or velodrome, especially as this element of the sport is experiencing a rise in popularity due to the exploits of Mr Wiggins, Hoy and Co at the Olympics. We are also amongst the most fortunate cycling clubs in the UK who have an all year round velodrome in our back yard. Here are a few pointers to hopefully spark some curiosity for those who haven't yet enjoyed the thrill of riding the track; hopefully it might even re-kindle an interest for others? 

Why Track?

Palmer Park (PP) velodrome is open all year round for training in the winter and training and racing in the summer. Track racing provides a cheap, safe and fun alternative to other aspects of cycling such as time trialling (with the early starts on the A34 with cars and lorries buzzing you), or road racing, (but if don't have particularly good power to weight ratio for the hills this can be a very short or difficult race). The track events are open to all ages (14 plus), and are mostly mid-week so don’t affect your weekend events both on and off the bike.

How to start

If you’re curious, just pop down to PP and take a look, watching from the side lines on a Tuesday or Thursday night will probably give you the feeling of ‘I can do that’. The very next week you could be taking part in one of the open road sessions; you don't need to be a member of the track (except to race) just turn up and pay (£6). You can start on freewheel, and then convert to fixed in the summer when you’ve got the hang of it. Don’t worry about what etiquette to follow whilst riding the track -just try to stay out of the way of the fast groups, until you feel ready to join them. There are many groups of different abilities to ride with, just join in the one that suits you and start chatting to people; this is how the groupetto starts generally; till it gets difficult to talk and ride. (Just like a Sunday ride).
In the summer Thursday nights are fixed wheel only training, between 8 and 10pm; novices sign up for an accreditation course and can come down and have a go on one of the track bikes available to use at PP. During the off-season, (October to March) Tuesday and Thursdays nights between 8pm and 10pm the PP track is used for open training sessions. Check with PP management for times or just ask the track secretary nearer the time.

Track Racing

Racing is held on Monday nights during the summer. If you decide to race at PP there are many varied race distances, e.g. 1 lap sprint of P.P = 459m, or 10 lap scratch / Devil races moving up to the 44 lap/20km endurance race.
Events - there are many strange sounding events - sprint, handicap, pursuit, hare n’ hounds, devil take the hindmost, derny (Motorbike) paced, Keirin, Olympic sprints; to name but a few. All events require different combinations of attributes - sprinting, endurance, stealth, recovery and strategy. There's a race to suit everyone, some you will dread and some you love. Some of which you will enjoy whether you're any good or not, the derny and Keirin are firm favourites with most riders and spectators alike. Racing - First you'll need to be accredited, bring a suitable bike and have a licence to race, i.e. by joining British Cycling, as a member of a Reading CC, another club or even as a private member. Then you can join the Reading Track League ( to race at PP; hopefully as a member of Reading CC. 

Who can I talk to?

You can contact our track secretary, details on the web site. They will be pleased to hear from you, and answer anything you need to know. There are many RCC members to talk to that are regular track racing attendees.