As an avid cyclist I was excited by the prospect of racing on the track where the heroes of London 2012 struck gold so many times and has since staged a range of world-class professional cycling events. The Velodrome Cycling Experience was our package of choice, and perfectly suited to our group of 15.
On arrival, the exterior of Lee Valley VeloPark is a breathtaking piece of modern architecture and as you enter the indoor arena you are greeted with a warming 28°C, the optimum temperature for track cycling.
I met the rest of the group at the dining area set up in the centre of the track where we enjoyed a great selection of pastries, fruit with teas, coffees and bottled water. After a brief introduction to the event and 10-15 minutes to meet everyone in the group, we were directed to the changing rooms to get our lyrca on before hitting the boards.
All state-of-the-art equipment, including track bikes, clipless shoes, helmets and gloves, are provided by Lee Valley and are available in all sizes. After a quick photo call, we were led out to the track by the two track cycling coaches who were hosting the session and given the safety brief, which was a must with a mixed ability group like ours!
It must be said that the coaches were fantastic throughout, very patient, and offered pointers and tips whilst we swooped round the daunting banks on the crescents of the track. As the group progressed and everyone became more comfortable riding alongside each other (as well as coming to terms with the lack of brakes!!), some riders were brave enough to ride along the rails on the highest point of the track, which required serious speed.
As we came to the end of the session it was competition time and everyone took part in the ‘Flying Lap Challenge’; one shot, as fast as you can around the 250m track. On the build-up lap the aim was to get as high as possible and swoop down to hit the start line at optimum speed… it’s harder than it looks. In honesty, my legs started to fail me on the finishing straight and it was a welcome relief when I crossed the line – you really get to appreciate the effort, speed and fitness of the professionals after this challenge. My time, just over 18 seconds / 50kmh, pretty happy with that.
Once we retreated back to the changing rooms for a quick freshen up, the group met back in the centre of the track for a delicious dinner with drinks and prize giving to the winner of the Flying Lap Challenge. The post-ride dinner was a great opportunity to get to know the other members of the group and from a business perspective would be perfect for networking after the event. High praise was echoed by the group as a whole and the feedback, even from the less experienced riders, was nothing but positive.
Needless to say, it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience which definitely appeals to non-cyclists, as well as the seasoned rider, and to do so on the same track as those amazing scenes from 2012, is a real treat from any guest, clients or group of friends.
If you would like to find out more about the Velodrome Cycling Experience please click here or contact us below.