Track cycling is one of the purest forms of competition: just a rider and their machine. No brakes, a single gear and only perfectly manicured wooden boards to follow.
Riders race against the clock over a designated number of laps in pursuit of glory, or play a tactical game against an opponent using the banked sides of the track to leverage an advantage.
Dating back to the 1870s it remains one of the most dramatic forms of cycle sport, delivering fast and furious action within a venue containing a 250m long track at its heart.
Since Condor began running professional cycling teams in the early fifties there has always been a strong focus on track riders, because it is the seed that spawned competitive cycling. The first taste of victory for Gray's Inn Road was when Hugh Porter, racing for Condor Mackeson, won the 1968 World Pursuit Title in Rome, giving him the right to wear the coveted rainbow stripes. Several more titles would ensue for the Condor Mackeson team in the following years, and by the 1970s six-day racing was the height of its popularity. The event series came to London and Condor rider Tony Gowland paired with Eddy Merckx on a sparkling golden frame to the delight of a roaring Wembley crowd.
While competing in the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, Jamaican track racer David Weller won a bronze medal in the 1,000m time trial. He did so on a Condor track bike. He remains the only Jamaican to win an Olympic medal outside of the track and field disciplines (click here to watch the event; fast forward to 21 minutes to see his ride).
Wherever it may be in the world, a velodrome is a venue that will fill you with awe. Standing in the track centre, the 42 degree banked ends appear like an imposing wall that defies logic. And yet, once on your simple bike, you are soon whooshing up the banking and fly back down to the black line. Accelerating up the wall and down again, snatching even more speed as you work the track—your very own human powered roller coaster.
Britain has three world class velodromes to inspire riders and a fourth is being built in Derby. At the smaller venues, such as Herne Hill Velodrome, they offer a complete range of sessions for beginners and new cyclists, as well as training sessions for experienced road men. Track cycling is a unique and intriguing discipline, extremely spectator friendly and also one of the easiest sports to try out. There are no cars to get in your way, no pot holes to swerve and avoid, and if you don't have a bike there are plenty of worthy machines to hire for a nominal fee from the facility.
For Condor track cycling is in our nature. Our builders and staff grew up watching track cycling and taking part in local weekday track leagues. If you fancy a trip to the historic London Velodrome, you can even hire a Condor Lavoro track bike as we are the official bike supplier to the venue; something we feel is rather apt considering our long and detailed history within the discipline.
Great riders such as Merckx will pass, but the sport's physical landmarks – Alpe d'Huez, the Stelvio, Arenberg – are a vital link to the past, so we challenge you to try something new this spring, take to the track, reconnect with the purest form of cycling, and visit a landmark which at more than one time will have been the site of human sporting achievement.