The comprehensive information in this post was kindly provided by Kevin Scheerer:
National Cycling Institute Milton (NCIM) is the entity that runs all track cycling training and riding programs at Milton Velodrome: https://ncirevolution.com/
Anyone who is interested will need to set-up an account with them and then you’re able to start booking courses and riding time. In order to ride the velodrome you must first take a Certification course. Usually it takes 2 days (typically consecutive weekends) and then you are able to book/ride drop-in sessions. If you wish to do training sessions, then you will need to continue your training and start riding Beginner Structured Training (BST), Intermediate Structured Training (IST) and Advanced Structured Training (AST). To do any racing you will need to do a Learn to Race program.
Here is a link to the Try-The-Track/Certification page:
Click on any of the links for schedule and registration to find availability.
Here is a link to the Drop-in riding sessions page:
Click on link on this page to access registration site.
As I mentioned, the Forest City Velodrome is going to be running again this season. I recommend anyone interested in trying track cycling to give this place a try. They have been running Try-the-Track rides and teaching people to ride track for a long time. Learning here is a great way to get hooked… because if you can ride there, any other track is easy.
The site will be out of date because of the closing this year. If you are interested in this option, then you should get on their email list by registering with them for email updates.
So, my own experience: I’ve been riding on and off in the winter at Milton and I’ve ridden Forest City once.
The cert process at Milton is pretty straightforward. For most people, the most challenging part is getting used to riding a fixed gear track bike (no coasting!); I commuted on a fixie for a long time, so that part was pretty easy. The rest is the most important, which is learning the conventions of track riding to make sure everyone remains safe and everything proceeds smoothly.
Some folks, like @TommyB race, but I just use the track to break the bordem of riding indoors in the winter. Getting out for drop-in sessions means riding in a paceline at a very steady, smooth pace in a nice, indoor setting with other people – a nice change of pace from Zwift!
Once you’ve done it a few times, it’s not too difficult – if you’ve been doing club rides and are used to riding close and steady, it’s really not a hard adjustment. If you don’t have a track bike, rentals are available. Most drop-in sessions are either 60 or 90 minutes, typically with the slower groups on the black line and the faster groups on the blue line as a reasonably quick, steady pace. Smooth, steady and predictable are the watchwords for drop-in sessions – with pacelines typically in the 6 - 8 people size, any speed changes needs to be minimized (and gradual) to keep everything flowing, and passing slower groups needs to be smooth and with lots of communication – all stuff covered in the certification.
There is a small, but dedicated contingent of regular rec trackies who go to the drop-in sessions to spin around the boards together as an alternate to Zwift during the winter. It does seem strange to wake up at 5am, to drive 1hr to Milton, pay ~$18 to get on the track for 6am, ride for 60-90 minutes at threshold with sprints until your legs are shattered, then shower, go for breakfast, and drive back home before anyone else is up in your house.
But man…what a buzz to be rolling at 40kph with no brakes or gears next to your WCC friends in 25 degree heat in the middle of winter, on a 45 degree banked wooden track in a world class $60M cycling facility. It doesn’t get old.
It wouldn’t be a @Francqlife post without stories, videos, and vanity race pics to show you what it is like. All in the hope that you see you will have friends who will be there to show you the ropes. @bdoberst has a million pictures and good videos to share. Track bike are a bit crazy. So simple. So fast. @TommyB has a pretty sweet ride. Mine is a bit old school (below), but you can’t miss it on the track.
Racing is pretty awesome. @TommyB will tell you all about it. He showed me the ropes and we even managed to do a Madison together once. @Bopper convinced me to join his Team Pursuit at the Canadian Nationals a couple of years ago. Here we are holding 45 kph together swapping the lead every lap.
@Francqlife and @TonyF have provided all the info to hopefully get you pumped up to come to the track this winter.
I am always happy to talk track (drop-in, structured training, and racing)…let me know how I can help or if you just want to talk and get excited about adding this branch of cycling to your experience.
I am at the Milton track 1-2 times/week from late August through to early May (training, racing), and then every couple weeks through the summer. If you’re headed that way (or need info to head that way) let me know and we can catch up and chat.
Cheers and see you turning left someday soon.
(edit: thinking…I organize an annual ‘try the track’ session at work (3rd year coming up in a week!) at the Milton track. If there was enough interest, I’d be willing to help organize a WCC ‘try the track’ this winter. We would need 19 interested riders. No certification needed. Let me know.)
Thank you Kerry for posting this…track is a truly exhilarating experience and one that will make you a stronger and steadier rider on the road or gravel. You learn how to anticipate other’s movements on a bike when you don’t have brakes to rely on. It’s also a fantastic way to maintain fitness over the winter months. It sure breaks up the monotony of trainer rides…that is for certain.
I know I talked to a few members in the last couple weeks that were curious. Please, check out the links and give track a try. If you don’t want to commit to certification, there are Try-the-Track sessions available which get you up on the boards in on session. You will be ready get certified after that session though…be forewarned!
Hope to see some more club members out there soon.