As the warmer weather approaches, it’s time to hit the velodrome! If you’re in Edmonton, the Argyll Velodrome is the perfect spot for outdoor cycling. Located in the Mill Creek park system, this track is open to riders of all abilities who enjoy riding fixed-gear bikes. From May 1 to August 31, the velodrome offers a variety of programs for beginners and experienced track cyclists alike.
Don’t worry about specialized equipment, all you need is comfortable athletic clothing and gym shoes. Rental fixed-gear bikes with toe straps and cycling helmets are available and included in drop-in and lesson fees. If you’re already comfortable on a road or mountain bike, you’ll be able to get rolling on the track in no time. Riding fixed-gear bikes reduces sudden stopping and the need for brakes, which means you have to pedal slower or faster to change your cycling speed. This helps you develop a smoother and more powerful pedal stroke.
Beginners start by learning to ride on the banking of the velodrome, which is angled up at the edges to allow for faster cycling without sharp turns. Then, riders learn how to ride safely and confidently in a group, which is also great for improving road cycling and triathlon skills. Once riders master these fundamentals, they can use the angle of the track to their advantage, helping them speed up on the downhill or slow down uphill when taking an easy lap. With enough practice, riders can start working on skills relevant to racing or simply drop in during public hours to work out.
For riders with previous track experience, there are weekly endurance events like a 10-mile group ride on the track, or you can sign up for racing at the Thursday Night Track League. If you’re new to racing, there are early evening Race Refreshers to explain the rules of that night’s event and practice drills before the warm-up period for the Track League starts. The types of races held each week rotate, so there’s something for everyone.
The Argyll Velodrome is also home to several cycling clubs that focus on track cycling, and thousands of youth from all over the capital region visit to learn to ride the track as part of school Phys Ed programs. If they can do it, so can you! Learn to Ride sessions start on May 8 for combined men and women, and May 6 for women/trans/nonbinary riders. Additional lessons begin in June, so check the website for more details. Public Access sessions are also available for anyone to try the track with supervision from facility staff for only $10 admission.
If you’re curious about the velodrome but not quite ready to commit to a lesson or drop-in, check out the open house sessions on Thursday, May 4 from 7-9pm and Saturday, May 20 from 2:30-5:00pm. These events are a great opportunity to check out the track, try a fixed-gear bike, and see experienced riders show off their skills.
Visit us at www.argyllvelodrome.com for more information and we’ll see you on the track.