21 September 2016

On Track, Or Off The Rails?

If someone mentions a "track bike", you're likely to think of something that's meant to be ridden on the velodrome.


Such a bike will, more than likely, have a frame with a very short wheelbase and steep angles, a single fixed gear and no brakes.  If you actually race with such a bike, you're likely to equip it with very light tubular (sew-up) tires and rims, a very sharply angled handlebar stem and handlebars with a large drop and a very small flat area.

Also, if you're racing, you are likely to, at some point, ride on the top part of the embankment.  On some tracks, you will be riding almost horizontal position, as if you were riding along a wall.  I found that the best way to do this was simply to look ahead, not down, and keep on pedaling at a steady pace.

Now, if you're not confident of your ability to ride on a track, you can always try this:

That bike reminds me of the first "mountain bikes" Gary Fisher and friends concocted from old Schwinn cruisers and parts modified to fit them.  One difference is, of course, that those early mountain bikers barreled down northern California fire trails, while the bike in the photo would be ridden on railroad tracks, which are almost always flat.


Apparently, that bike wasn't "Stinky Pete"'s first "track" bike.  A vintage Panasonic touring bike met an untimely demise when it derailed (and you thought only derailleurs were supposed to do that!) at 16 MPH.

Talk about "going off the rails"!  Let's hope his second attempt stays on track!


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