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22/02/2012 // INFO Leave a comment

GGB’s night at the Olympic Velodrome

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Velodrome Fisheye

Going Going Bike were lucky enough to get hold a couple of tickets to the Friday evening session of the UCI World Cup at the brand new London Olympic Velodrome.  We witnessed a magical night of track racing with our British women’s efforts very much at the fore.

It was a great night for Britain with two gold medals and one bronze, while the 6,000 capacity crowd was also treated to two new world records set by British female riders. There were also a further two world records set by other countries.

The crowd at the Velodrome including us were in raptures at the mere sight of a Brit on the track. We’re convinced that the partisan crowd were worth an extra couple of tenth of seconds to the likes of Victoria Pendelton, Jess Varnish and the GB Pursuit girls (Dani King, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell) in their finals of the Team Sprint and Team Pursuit. The partisan crowd will be a massive advantage when the summer comes if Friday evening is anything to go by.

The velodrome really holds sound well. The wall of noise that greets a Brit rider or when they are racing resonates around the whole venue.

The good thing about Friday and any of the subsequent sessions on the track was that many people attending were seeing track cycling for the first time. Let’s hope it inspires kids and adults alike to bike more or even try track cycling themselves.

Seating

Seating is on two levels. A lower level tier which takes you very close to the action and an upper tier that holds most of the seating. There isn’t really a bad seat in the house and you get a great bird’s eye view of all of the action wherever you sit on the upper level, which is where we were.

Between the upper and lower tiers there is a walkway space. This is an uninterrupted walkway that goes around the whole venue, allowing you to stand and watch if you want or go and see racing from another angle from where your seats are based.

We liked this social aspect of the velodrome. Indeed we were lucky enough to bump into Twitter and London biking community pals Mark Ames (@markbikeslondon) and Anna Weber (@pinapplebikes) while walking around. We had a quick chat about the racing and the venue. They were just as impressed with the venue as us and excited at seeing track cycling live for the first time.

The velodrome environment

We were told to expect tropical temperatures at the Velodrome itself and we weren’t disappointed. At 28 degrees, shorts and t-shirts was probably the best attire for the evening except it was 5 to 6 degrees outside. The temperature inside the velodrome is there to create the best conditions for the track cyclists to produce fast times but for spectators it did feel like a sauna.

There does seem to have been some complaints regarding the limited toilet facilities or and choice/cost of food. We can’t comment on the toilet facilities but it was good to see a venue promote healthy options compared to the usual burger and chips. Beer was extortionate at £4.20 a bottle though.

Overall…

A top venue. Teething problems with regard to the operation of the venue will have been ironed out by the summer. We were also impressed by the very friendly stewarding of the event. This bodes well for the summer when there will be masses of people on the Olympic Park site.

Alas none of the Going Going Bike team has Velodrome tickets for the Olympics, so we’ll be looking forward to attending some of the track cycling events such as the Revolution series that will come to the Velodrome post July 2013.

To see some of the photos we took on Friday night, head on over to our Facebook page



For more great cycling news and stories follow us on Twitter or Facebook

See also

Making urban roads safer to cycle on will encourage more people to cycle

London Bike Kitchen Presents: How To Fix A Flat

from Going Going Bike – Auctions, Bike News, Cycle Stuff

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