If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see bicycle roller racing, you’ll know what a fun and exciting event it can be.
For anyone who hasn’t been to a roller racing event, racing involves two participants racing sprint distances on static bikes with the winner the person who can achieve the fastest possible time to reach the stated distance. Participants effectively have to pedal like crazy with a high cadence to make sure they win their battle with their fellow competitor and post a fast time. Speeds can get in excess of 50mph.
In the UK, the roller racing scene is dominated by the Rollapaluza organisation, which tours the country with its custom-built rollers and bike rigs. Rollapaluza events are characterised by the resources they bring to roller racing with split-second-digital timing and very visual displays on times, speed and cadence that riders can achieve. All this set against a background of music, DJs, MCs and in most cases a lot of alcohol being drunk.
The Rollapaluza organisation has grown steadily over the last few years with Rollapaluza rollers and bike rigs being seen at an increasing number of cycling festivals, social occasions and bike races.
In the last couple of years, Rollapaluza has set-up Rollapaluza Outreach, an outreach project that aims to encourage children and disadvantaged adults to live a healthier lifestyle as possible through the means of cycling.
As part of its outreach activities, Rollapaluza has been taking it rollers and rigs into schools and since 2010 has visited around 100 schools promoting cycling as a mode of transport and a healthy activity for children.
Roller racing naturally enthuses children about cycling as is it a great way to engage kids in cycling activity in a safe environment. There is also no need for special equipment, clothing or skill required to take part.
At the school events, each participant is given coaching and advice and all receive a time-card with their time and speed. Results and photos of all riders are delivered to the school or displayed on a password protected web-page. The fastest riders receive medals giving the kids a sense of accomplishment.
Rollapaluza school events also have relevance to maths and science classes through the mechanics of the equipment rigs, the bicycles themselves and through the data that is collated from rides such as time, speed and cadence.
Rollapaluza however want to create a bit more of a legacy for their school events other the memories of a fun and exciting event.
With this in mind, the organisation is aiming to produce a booklet to be handed out to children at school events or other events where Rollapaluza visits. The booklet will contain info and guides on how kids can start cycling or increase their participation in cycling sport. Other information in the booklet will focus on the benefits of cycling to mental, physical health and wellbeing; types of cycling, and bicycles available; a guide to buying a bicycle, directory of cycling clubs and cycling organisations and training tips.
Rollapaluza is looking for help to fund the cost of producing and printing the booklet and is currently looking to raise the money via crowdsurfing means to print 5,000 copies. Click here to donate to the project. Those who donate more than £10 to the booklet project will be invited to a special event to launch the booklet in London.
For more great cycling news and stories follow us on Twitter or Facebook