Technical Information about Track Cycling
One of the major simmer sports in Scotland at Highland Games gatherings and in England, is track cycling. As the name suggests, it is a sport that requires expertise in bicycling. The tracks on which these kinds of track racing events are generally conducted are called ‘Velodromes’ and the bicycles used in this sport are called track bicycles.
One of the most important affecting phenomenons in track and road racing is called the ‘Aerodynamic drag’ that has to be kept in mind while designing and making a track bicycle. Track cycle frames are made of a special material called carbon fibre. Carbon fibres are moulded to make single piece cycle frames. These frames aid in handling aerodynamic drag. Though traditionally, bikes were seen with cross sectional airfoil shapes used in the frame tubes. Designers have now started paying a good amount of attention to make bike components keeping aerodynamics in mind.
Talking of aerodynamics, even the position in which the biker is sitting is of great importance. The track bicycles used in events that are longer like the point’s race have drop bars similar to those seen on road bicycles for their handles. The position in which to ride is similar to the position of road racing too. But the sprint event calls for a different position than that.
The event requires a more extremely executed position than in road racing. Also the bike used in sprint racing has a different upper structure. It has lower bars, a higher saddle which is a little more forward too. The bars are generally narrower and have a deeper drop. The bars need to be rigid and durable; therefore most of the riders prefer steel instead of the other lighter alloys available or even carbon fibre. Just like the above two events, the timed events need a different kind of bicycle bars. Examples of timed events are the pursuit or the time trial event. For such events, triathlon bars are very popular among riders. These are like the bars on the monocoque one piece design for road time trial events. Though aerobars or triathlon bars can be used only in timed events.
Aerodynamics has a huge influence on track racing formats too. A closely following rider can draft or slipstream the other. This happens due to the air that the rider on the lead pushes around himself. This effect has lead to a lot of tact formation and strategy building among team riders.
The 1990s individual pursuit events saw a lot of experimentation in arm position by riders. Graeme Obree tried a position in which the arms had to be extended to their full length horizontally. But then the Union Cycliste Internationale which is the ruling body for the sport banned this ‘super mannish’ position. Similarly recumbent cycles have been outlawed by the body too even though they can be a faster ride. However, there is a different association that organizes races for recumbent bicycles and it is called The International Human Powered Vehicle Association.