You may have watched the 2012 London Olympics this past summer and seen cyclists racing around a steep, indoor oval track and wondered… “what is that?” The answer: a Velodrome and Cleveland is now home to one, the first in Ohio.
In 2007, the nonprofit Fast Track Cycling formed to establish and operate an indoor cycling track in Cleveland. On September 30th, the vision came true with the opening of the Velodrome. Since the Velodrome’s grand opening, the track has had over 200 individuals visit and held two racing events: the Ohio State Championship and the Cleveland-Detroit Challenge.
There was a laundry list of criteria to determine the site for the Velodrome. But the biggest reasons the Velodrome is located in Slavic Village is because the community welcomed the Velodrome with open arms, and it’s been a mutually beneficial relationship.
“People are coming to the neighborhood to go to the Velodrome that normally wouldn’t come to this area,” Brett Davis said. Davis is an avid cyclist and the President of Fast Track Cycling’s Board of Trustees. “They get to see what the neighborhood has to offer.”
This is only Phase I and of a three-phase project for the Velodrome. Phase II will include a covered track with an air-dome to allow for winter cycling training. The long-term goal, Phase III, will include twin air domes with connectors between the phases. Not only will the project have an Olympic-sized track and allow for winter training, but will provide other recreational opportunities such as soccer, lacrosse, and track and field. The project is transforming 8.9 acres of vacant land into a unique asset for the surrounding community and all Clevelanders.
A typical Friday evening at the Velodrome will see advanced cyclists riding around the high banks of the track, a family of four enjoying a night out, and an eight year old practicing riding on the black line in the straights.
The Velodrome offers open riding times and training classes for all ages. Track 101 is an introductory course for adults and mandatory for all new attendees. There is an advanced course, Track 201, for those who have experience and want to progress their skills. All training courses are taught by trained volunteers.
The Velodrome also offers the Velo-Kids youth program, an introduction for new riders under the age of 14. The Velo-Kids program helps build skills that are age appropriate and allows the youth to move on as their skills increase. The Velodrome already has 25 kids attending sessions. Many are local neighborhood kids that stop by often. Davis sees unlimited opportunities to partner with the community, and hopes to work with the Boys and Girls Club and Cleveland Public Schools soon.
The Velodrome has training sessions scheduled through October and will continue to add more dates in the winter months. Be sure to check out the Velodrome at these upcoming events: The 7th Annual Chagrin Falls Cyclocross, a Halloween-themed event on October 27th and 28th; and the First Annual Cyclocross, on December 29th.