If you want to keep racing this winter and you don’t fancy the misery that is cyclo-cross, it might be worth considering track racing. If you live anywhere near a velodrome, track cycling is one of the most accessible forms of cycle sport; most tracks have regular taster sessions for beginners where you can just turn up, borrow a bike, and get taught by a professional coach how to ride the tightly banked curves. When you get confident on the bike (remember – it’s a fixed wheel so you can’t stop pedaling) you can quickly begin to compete in a weekly track league. These tend to be quite laid back affairs where everyone competes in 5 or 6 different races over the course of an evening. Races generally range in distance from the timed 200m sprints to 10-mile points races.
Becoming a skilled track rider will have a number of benefits for your chosen summer discipline: you’ll be used to riding fast in a group; you’ll be less inclined to brake when it’s unnecessary; you’ll develop flexibility and acceleration from using small gears and you’ll also develop a smoother pedal stroke. Combine this with the fitness you’ll gain from a winter of regular racing in a weatherproof environment and track racing begins to look increasingly attractive.
Tracks are unfortunately few and far between in the U.K. but here’s a list of links to the few BM knows about: