CLEVELAND - Cleveland will join some two dozen cities in the country to have a velodrome when the steeply-banked cycling track opens in August.
The Cleveland Velodrome , in the city's Slavic Village neighborhood, attracted 400 cyclists for a preview Friday evening. The riders were part of the monthly Cleveland Critical Mass ride.
Viewers of this year's Olympic games in London will see velodrome-style competition.
"In Europe and in other parts of the world there are hundreds and hundreds of tracks," said Matt Litzler, vice president of Fast Track Cycling.
Off Broadway Avenue, the $300,000 track is phase one of what the builders hope will one day become an indoor venue that will be an economic catalyst for the area. Working toward that goal, they want to include the neighborhood as soon as the facility opens.
Children under 18 with a signed waiver from a parent will be permitted to ride for free.
"It's about bringing something else for children to do here in the city of Cleveland," he said.
A special bike is used on the track, one with no brakes and only one gear. A minimum speed of 17 mph keeps the cyclist on the banked tracked.
Multiple cyclists can ride at the same time. At the preview, Litzler said they had a seven-year-old and a 70-year- old ride the track.
He also added that being on a bike-only track keeps the cyclist clear of roads and road hazards. "It's a very safe way to ride, it's a very exciting way to ride."
Although in our city's modern era a velodrome is virtually an unknown structure, Cleveland’s Public Auditorium hosted many velodrome bike races during the 1920s and 1930s.
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Twenty-five local World War II veterans boarded a Cleveland Hopkins flight to our nation's capitol early Wednesday morning.