September 1, 2005 – On Wednesday August 31st, the volunteers of the Forest City Velodrome in London Ontario entertained 23 wide-eyed would be track riders. Many of the riders had not seen the track before coming through the doors of the 138m Velodrome. The kids ranged in age from seven to 16 years old.
The day started with a tour of our new track, showing the participants how the track was constructed, where our VIP Gondola is located and of course where the music comes from. The camp was intended to give all the riders a better appreciation for the facility that they were about to use.
The on-track activities began with instruction on getting in and out of toestraps, from there the riders were put on the appron to do laps and get comfortable with their surroundings. We broke the kids into three different groups which will continue to be used for future Clinics and the London Track League Youth Series ( more on it later). The drills continued until most of the riders were getting on & off the track on the straights. Then the big question!, “How many would freeze and not go onto the track when asked”? The answer was none, every riders took the bull by the horns and one at a time got onto the 50 degree banking for their first laps and not one kid touched a pedal (that’s a good thing). Each rider got up on the track again, all before lunch ( speaking of lunch our hungry bunch devoured eight large Pizzas in 10 minutes).
After lunch our Learn to ride program morphed into well – if riding with three riders in a line was good, then eight must be better. The kids developed their riding skills very quickly and by the late afternoon session all the riders (racers by now) wanted to show off their speed. It took me about 1/2 a second to say to the session leaders let’s go for it.
So one by one the riders took turns at setting their fastest laps on the track. Each rider did two laps with the second lap being much faster than the first.
If you can imagine, we took kids with little or no bike riding experience and by the end of the camp the kids were buzzing around the boards like pro’s .
London Track League Youth Series, Beginning on Saturday September 10th, there will be two sessions for Youth who have taken our initial skills sessions. The first time slot is Noon – 1pm kids aged 7 – 11 are invited to attend. The second session will be from 1pm – 2pm, ages 11 yrs – 16yrs. The track skills the riders will learn will enable them to race at the 5pm youth racing Series and continue to participate in the regular Saturday evening Races at the Velodrome. All an interested rider has to do to get involved is to take our regular Learn to Ride track skills session, check our website that has many updates in the last week, www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca, then email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
We would like to have a sponsor for the youth series, If you or your company is interested please contact email@example.com. We can discuss the details.
In closing, I wanted to say thank you to our Kamp volunteers for their huge effort, all of the riders, and the Ontario Cycling Association. Last but not least the parents for trusting us with their kids for the day (not sure if they knew what the kids were getting into). We hope to put on many more Camps, as the months go on.