Riding FCV

Looking for ppl interested at riding indoors of another type. I’d rather poke my eyes out than ride Zwift.

I’ve fixed up my track bike, and I’ve taking to heading out to London to ride the FCV. Actually planning on doing that Sunday for the 10am session since the weather is calling for rain.

Wondering if others have similar interested. My intent is to head out there about once/week and attempt to keep some kind of fitness.



Interested in the weeks to come.

We were hoping to go to the 6am drop-in session in Milton this morning. NO LONGER OFFERED.

I just put a RANT out to the NCIM in Milton on how they’ve fumbled miserably in the transition to their running of the public track sessions this year.

I may vote with my feet…er…wheels. And give my money to FCV this year.

But @bdoberst , @Bopper , Del, Malcom, Tom, Christian and a few other regular trackies might join you just to ride at a sensible time together and not have to worry or pay for “structured” training.

Plus… burritos afterward?

Let’s go!



Milton. There focus is basketball, and sports like that. The fact there is a cycling track is an inconvenience. You won’t catch me there.

Rode at the FCV today. Still allot of the old crowd from London riding. If you haven’t been there in a while, the track was painted, and they put in new heaters. It’s usually 18C in there, so you can leave the winter cycling gear at home.

First, the schedule. You can find it here: https://www.forestcityvelodrome.ca/event-calendar/

Basically, open riding is:
Sun 10-noon
Tues 5-7:30pm
Thurs 5-7pm
Sat 8:30am-noon

Tues 7:30-9pm - this is the “workout session”. Starts with a roll up (go to you blow), and then sprints, and other things like that.

As it was my second time riding the track in about 3-4 yrs, I’m still working on remember riding in a pace line at 34km/h. There will be a track 2 “refresher” before Xmas apparently to work on being able to ride all over the rack.

You can leave the big gears used at Milton at home. If you are riding over a 90, you need to learn to spin.

The costs of the FCV have changed:
single session: $25
four pass: $80
once/week membership: $300yr
twice/week membership: $500yr

You must have OCA insurance (which is included with ANY bike club membership including WCC).

You can buy all the above online thru CCN…but CCN tacks on fees and taxes…so the $80 4 pack was almost $100. Bring cash or cheque to track to save those fees.

Tuesday nights seems like the best bet to get in a warmup, and for those with the skills, stick around for the workout session. Sat or Sun’s probably for “just riding around” sessions.

My intent is to figure out doing something once per week depending on the trail and show situation. At the moment, MTB stinks. Also, with my EV, it only costs about $5 in “fuel” to go out there and back. There is a possibility of sharing a ride.



For those that haven’t seen the schedule, there are a pretty significant amount drops in for 1.5 hours each in Milton - not all are convenient from out of town riders but some are at pretty decent times.

Not a very fair statement to say the NCIM cares about basketball when the truth is that their priority is youth programming first, followed by skill development then drop ins. The town of Milton relinquished the management of the track operations to NCIM this year so all programs are now overseen by Chris Reid.

As a family that rides at FCV and Milton multiple times a week we appreciate both, and can absolutely see that balancing a schedule for youth and adults is difficult but if you prefer one over the other then that’s an individual choice but they are both doing great things for cycling.


It’s almost December.

So, sit back. Get ready. Here comes the history of Track at the WCC from the archives.

I support both JMcLean and mbuckaway. You are the leaders of this club. And your voices and perspectives are both valid and need to be heard.

But, there is a history and nuance to the evolution of a community (this one included) when you can see it through a 15 year view of its making. And maybe…if others can see further, it’s because they were able to stand on the shoulders of those who came before, to enable others to take it to the next level for the good of us all.

At the beginning of time…many Club members were certified at FCV (2010).

The Club even paid for new track bikes for youth riders and newcomers to FCV to take to the boards with Rob Good. The WCC stickers still can be seen on a few of the vintage track bikes for rent at FCV.

Rob is The Legend. He built FCV in 2005. If I have the chance to recommend him for the Order of Canada medal, I will. More on that later…

And mbuckaway was a strong volunteer in putting on races at FCV for some time. So, he’s got some inside knowledge.

As a Club, we started racing track over a decade ago at FCV. Producing early champions like Ryan Aitchison and others. Adam, Quinn, Kari, Carolyn, Kevin, Brent, Tom, Mark and the whole stable of track and youth leaders who volunteered to pave the way for youth (and adult) racing at FCV every week from 2010-2020.

We did everything in our power to encourage people to join us at FCV. Dozens of forum posts and hours of GoPro editing to show what it was like. The joy, friendship and love of the track. I made this video one morning before heading out a few years ago and uploaded it to the WCC YouTube Channel. Didn’t know we had one of those did you.

We used to go for Burritos after every 3 hour FCV Sunday morning open ride session, and created a group of WCC Trackie rides at FCV called “Board and Burritos” who would drive down together. Tom, Carolyn, Brent and Kevin and I remember those days well.

But with the Nation-Building decision to create the National Cycling Centre Velodrome in Milton, we were set for supporting the next generation of great Canadian Cyclists and move our operations to Milton. Time to change “Boards and Burritos” to something else? “Track and Thai???”


We all got certified at Milton. Me, Blake, Pippy, Dino, Gaelen, Jason Ernst (Dad to Chris) in 2015. And two dozen others in the early days.

As Prez 2012-2016, we raised funds for Milton as a club every year. We even have a seat somewhere in the stands named after WCC, as a result of your donations.

We all went to the Pan-Am Games in 2015 and dreamt of riding and racing on the boards…which we did, and have done so as fervent supporters of youth (and adult) cycling for the past 7 years through KW Cycling Academy, Drop-In and Open sessions and racing in the NCIM racing series. There were early racers in Rob M. and Stephen L. More recently, @TommyB is our most active racer in the club. Reach out to him if you want to know anything about racing at Milton. And @Bopper (my Canadian Masters Bronze Medal teammate in Team Time Trial) is our most experienced and senior OCA track commissaire at Milton.

Over the years, a group of us organized a regular group of Master riders to go to Milton 2-3 times a week. We would ride for 90 minutes, sometimes 2 hours on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday through 2018-2021 and then head out to the local Thai restaurant to talk about track and enjoy the camaraderie that Milton was creating in the cycling community.

@TommyB even designed a special Waterloo Track & Thai Cycling Jersey, which we all still wear today at Milton. Del, Malcom, Gary, Orrin, Tom, Kevin, Jeff, Sammy, Brent, Alain, Susan, etc.

I joined Orrin B. and Tom B. and tried our luck at Madison and other NCIM adult OCA races series events. But, the best was watching Chris Ernest, Tyler, Quinn, Amanda in the early days and other high potential youth racers like Dylan Bibic thrash everyone in the A races. Dylan just became World Champion this month if you hadn’t heard? All as a result of Milton, and probably FCV.

I have to put this plug in for me and @Bopper. After years of riding together at FCV and Milton, getting race certified and buying a UCI track racing license, we finally formed a team to enter the Canadian National Track Championships a few months ago, in Fall of 2022. There were four of us, we held 47kph over 4000M and won a bronze. Not hard with only a few teams entered in the category. But, it was something else to be part of the real action of witnessing (from the infield) the great power and gravity of the National Cycling Centre in producing and hosting the country’s top talent.

It’s hard to run a velodrome. I know. As you’ll find out below. The City of Milton moved the administration of the Velodrome over to NCIM last year. I am sure there are many administrative and financial details that I can’t see, but I am disappointed that the open availability of public track sessions has been dramatically reduced. I have heard arguments and rationale. Lack of funding, available track times, increasing prices, etc. But, I have also been in this game for a long time, and know a thing or two about running organizations. I feel that an opportunity for growing the cycling community through this $60M National Cycling Infrastructure is slipping away.

I’ll just say. FCV or Milton. Get involved. Have a voice. Leave a legacy.



On a separate note, someone reached out to me last week to ask about my attempt to bring a Velodrome to Kitchener-Waterloo a few years ago.

Here is that conversation for the record…


Yes, it’s true. When FCV was on its knees a few years ago there was a lot of talk about shutting it down and some people were looking for a new home for the wooden track, versus tearing it down. Having been involved in both WCC. OCA and FCV, I jumped at the opportunity.

And of course, Rob Good was the founder of FCV and he lives in Waterloo. He still runs the KW Cycling Academy and trains the next generation of youth trackies at both FCV and Milton.

I was just finishing my time as WCC Prez ~2017…and was looking for a new cycling related legacy project. I thought bringing the FCV track here would be a good idea, if not for the selfish reason to not have to drive to London ! Milton was even closer…not bad having a $60M World Tour cycling facility 50 min from your front door.

I did some due diligence and analyzed every publicly available Report, Proposal and Financial Summary of every Velodrome in Canada, the US and the UK. I spoke with everyone.

It SURE is a tough economic argument. Unless, you think of it like a public swim complex which costs the public millions to run, but is for the good of the public. Teach a kid to swim, teach a kid to bike. Basic survival and life skills 101. Similarly, the Milton Velodrome does “lose” money at $1-2M a year but it is a centerpiece of their sports and active lifestyle infrastructure strategy. Like the Waterloo Rec Complex is for us in Waterloo.

Milton makes almost all of their money back from the basketball, volleyball and badminton that happens in the centre courts. Thank goodness they put in the “Cycling Supremacy” clause in the articles of incorporation. Otherwise, the track and cycling would be side-lined for the better money making sports.

I created the attached PPT pitch and went to the City of Kitchener and pitched the Kitchener City Velodrome (KCV). I explained how team sports evolved in North America over the past half century. Citing how there were very few soccer or volleyball teams 30 years ago…but with infrastructure…comes usage, coaching and competition.

Today, there are countless Basketball/Volleyball/Tennis/Badminton COURTS, Ice/Ringette RINKS, baseball DIAMONDS, Soccer FIELDS, cricket PITCHES, running TRACKS, swimming POOLS, dance/gymnastic STUDIOS in EVERY CITY across Canada.

Every city in Canada has at least 1…sometimes 2 or up to 10 (rinks, fields and courts) for each of these sporting infrastructures !

And City Teams play each other and then the winners travel and play other City Teams to compete for a Provincial Cup. And eventually a National Championship. That’s how organized sport works in Canada.

So, why is there not a velodrome in every city??? They actually, truly don’t cost more than a pool or hockey rink.

There are only 2 in all of Ontario. FCV and Milton. Should we be grateful for the fact that we have 2 velodromes within 1 hour of Waterloo? Or stunned at the lack of support compared to every other sport on record.

Where do the next generation of Canadian athletes (cyclists) come from? Infrastructure and programming (and parents) drive the own the podium program in Canada. Dylan Bibic of Midweek Cycling in Mississauga just won the world track championship in Europe this week! He’s still a teenager. He learned to ride at the Milton Velodrome. Kelsey Mitchell…Olympic Gold in Track. Chris Ernst, track champion, etc… List goes on. All thanks to FCV and Milton. Too bad if you live in North Bay or Ottawa.

So if you want cycling to have the same opportunity and growth that soccer experienced over the past 40 years when everyone was playing baseball and said…”no one will ever play soccer here…that’s for other countries.”

You don’t have to look further than the game between Canada and Croatia today in the World Cup. Ask yourself, where that started?

It all starts somewhere. With people who believe in the sport and commit to a 25 year arc of work to make it mainstream.

Thankfully, FCV was saved through the hard work of some incredible people and it seems better than ever today. But, it’s still on a 1 year lease on life on a year-to-year contract and run by dozens of free volunteers. It’s an anomaly.

Back to my pitch for the KCV. The city gave me the plans for the Queens Mount ice rink in Kitchener and said they estimated making $40K a year from Octoberfest and BallHockey at the time. I approached @mbuckaway who knew a thing or two about running track events.

If we could replace that income at Queensmount, then maybe they would consider “renting it” to us during the winter. All we needed to raise was $400,000 to build the track. I started to assemble a group of investors.

Mark and I drove down to Detroit with half a dozen FCV leaders and I took the plans to see Dale Hughes in Detroit. Dale built and runs the Lexus Velodrome and was a consultant for Milton. We looked at the Queensmount architectural plans…and unfortunately it’s an “A-frame”. Short at the sides and tall in the middle. A track needs the opposite geometry. We could only fit a 117M track in there…which is even smaller than FCV.

So, Mark and I gave up.

Undeterred, I met with Rob G. who was really ramping up KW CA at the time and we discussed an alternative, the possibility of building a “temporary” portable track for the winter and storing it in the summer. Like they did in the old days and would move it from City to City to hold 10 day omnimums. I even recall seeing one in Copps Coliseum in Hamilton 40 years ago ! It was like an old wooden roller coaster!! :).

Brent D. and I looked at and priced inflatable domes like they have at the Lexus Velodrome. I went to see Dave J. (Mayor of Waterloo) to see if the city had an abandoned property to set it up. Kind of like MAX’s Golf dome up in North Waterloo. Dave was SUPER supportive. But, indicated there are developers and all kinds of sports leaders looking for land…and we were already running out of available space in Waterloo by 2018.

At the end of the day…we couldn’t find a place. We couldn’t make it economically feasible without turning the centre courts into basketball/badminton courts like Milton. It would have been a money losing venture if done privately and we would have all lost our shirts.

But the idea has a happy ending. A group of WCC / KW CA parents and volunteers led by Christian E., Robbie Daniels, Ana Marie, Seb G. with the help of Rob Good ended up renting the Queensmount for their kids and on the backs of many volunteers and donated money built a portable, indoor bike park operating in there right now running a youth and adult MTB skill development program. It’s on now !!! You can go and do jumps and learn skills and tricks and cycle with other friends every weekend in Kitchener.

If there is anything from this entire skreed of a post….please support and check out that local bike infrastructure.

As for the KCV, I still have the original plans and PPT I used to pitch the City of Kitchener. It’s over 70 slides of the history and impact of velodromes in Ontario and mostly photos of our rich history of track and Rob Good’s efforts. I had a long narrative about hockey and backyard hockey rinks. FCV was the backyard hockey rink analogy, maintained by volunteers and parents, with rickety boards and poor surfaces, where the Gretsky’s where born. Milton was our ACC (The Big Leagues). It was entertaining! But compelling enough for them to give me the plans. I’ll see if I can find it, I’ll post the PPT here if anyone is interested.

Well, that’s it. Invest in your community. Speak up. Lead by example.

Legacy in sports has to start with a few people saying…why not?

And don’t be afraid to lead in the creation of a new order of things.



Hey @Francqlife I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you putting the time to document all this stuff. As a newish member of the club I find this fascinating to learn more about the history of the club and how we got to where we are now. Maybe we should have a history section somewhere where we can add some of these post for future posterity? Then we can publish a book of WCC history in the future :slight_smile:


Nothin like a retelling of a story by @Francqlife. I’, disappointed in the lack of close up picture of either your medal or the plans :slight_smile:

The good news for Canada is that the Bromont facility is now up and running. KWCA took a group of kids there a couple of weeks ago, apparently the cost to go and stay for a few days and ride a lot makes track time roughly equal to time in NCIM. That probably isn’t good for the future of youth cycling but that is a rabbit hole I won’t go down.