Just got back from one of the most ridiculous sessions ever!
Anyway, with UNICON just a few weeks away I suddenly realised how little time I’ve spent on my Coker recently. Being stuck in the middle of winter here in NZL with it getting dark about 5pm doesn’t help. Riding at Coker speeds on the road at nightime scares me silly when there is traffic about, so I’ve mainly been doing night rides on the footpath (sidewalk) on my 24’.
I got fed up with that tonight and decided to brave the cold weather and head to the local outdoor velodrome for a quick spin. At least I didn’t have to worry about getting run over by cars or suchlike.
So I called up my friend Colin (who is normally a biker but just had an operation to cure his sweaty hands that has seen him off his bike for two weeks); and bribed him with offers of McDonalds to time my Velodrome session .
Twenty minutes later with a Coker crammed in my car, steamed up windows that I couldn’t see out of because my track coach was munching on a Big Mac, we turned up at the velodrome thinking that there would be floodlights there (why wouldn’t there be?) to find out that it was pitch black and very cold. How cold? No idea but it was very very cold .
Luckily with a bit of foresight I brought along my 35W Night light . Unfortunately I forgot my Camelbak to store the battery in (it’s a cheap SLR battery that is the size of a brick). Several unsuccesful attempts at getting this brick to stay in my backpocket resulted in me throwing the Coker in the air and doing several backflips in frustration. We decided to have Colin stand in the middle of the velodrome and shine the light at me. That didn’t work at all well so we had Colin stand on one end of the Velodrome and shine the light at me. That was even worse but anyway…that’s what we did.
So there I was, on a 36’ Unicycle in a velodrome with a light being shone at me like I was some kind of stupid nocturnal animal going round in circles .
We tried to keep some sort of a timing thing going, but it was hard because I couldn’t stay on the 333.33333m line. The banking is normally OK to ride on during the day, but with poor lighting I couldn’t judge the angle resulting in a few high speed UPDs. Anyway we did 30 laps (roughly 10km) in 24:19 which I guess was OK considering I couldn’t see where I was going. Earlier I’d swapped over to the 125mm cranks because I was anticipating the banking would be pretty dodgy on 110mm cranks.
It was fun and definitely worth it in the end. If you’re after a new Cokering experience- I highly recommend it.
Wow, add that one to the ‘Things not to do’ page, with a black rectangle to represent the photo!
To practice for the track races (if you’re interested), find an athletic track. People who don’t practice on the curves have trouble with them, especially on a rubberized track.
The 10k race will be held on a bike path, but you’ll be going back and forth with some tight turns at the ends. I think the path will be very flat, but the transition areas and the extra part, that connects to the start/finish area, might have a little rise in it. I’m bringing my 29er and will probably use 102s. If I had a pair of 89mm cranks I’d try training with those. For you, the 110s might work, or the 125s. It depends on your tastes (and the course, which we won’t see until the day-of).
If you’re stuck practicing at night, just do it somewhere in a straight line. Better yet, go about 2500m and turn around, repeating 4 times to roughly simulate the course.
And I’ll take a photo next time just for you John!
I’ve had a look at those pics on the 10km course- it does look flat. I think it is an out there and back again course, so shouldn’t be too many corners. I don’t like the flat though- not my favourite terrain. And wish it was longer- 20-25mins is almost a sprint!
I’ll do another few laps this weekend (when it’s light). Hopefully I’ll have a better idea of my 10km time after that.
Re: Re: Riding a Coker in the dark on a velodrome during a freezing winters night
Not sure of the angle of the banking- but it’s a big 333.33m track, so it’s not that steep. I can ride it OK during the day, but at night it’s hard to compensate for the angle if the lighting is poor. I think it will probably be harder when riding slow, but most laps I was pedalling hard (22-25km/h) so it wasn’t too much of a problem.
Riding the banked bit is like pedalling uphill- you have to aim for the top of the track in order to go in a straight line. Also helps to have the tyres pumped up hard otherwise your Coker will be all over the place. Velodrome riding is fun- even though you’re going in circles you have a fixed distance so you can measure your progress and try to better your lap times .
Went for another velodrome ride today with 110mm cranks during the daytime. They didn’t seem much faster although it was a struggle as it got quite windy. So anyway- 23:25 for 10km/30laps. Hopefull will try some 102’s shortly to see if that makes any difference.
From experience, falling off a b*ke from where GizmoDuck is riding on the stayer’s line can be quite painful. If you high-side you hit the track quickly and slide down, which hurts but isn’t too bad, but if you low-side then you can drop 6-10 feet onto the apron before you slide. If you’re much above the stayer’s line then you tend to hit on the banking and it isn’t so bad, and if you’re down in the sprinter’s lane then it’s just a normal fall.
Gizmo’s UPD looks pretty benign. Someday I’m going to take my Coker up to Trexlertown and give it a spin. It’s another 333.3 concrete track with relatively shallow banking. With armor, of course!