Bikers in the foothills already have a lot of options: They can ride on the road, down a mountain or in skate parks. Soon they will also be able to ride around a track at 40 miles per hour with several other people on the track at the same time.
Erie, Colo., is home to a new velodrome scheduled to open this summer. It’ll be the second one in the state, after the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs, which is open to the public 22 hours a week through September.
Velodromes are big tracks made of wood. The new Boulder Valley Velodrome is angled down 42 degrees at the turns. Riders use bikes without brakes to avoid rear-end collisions according to Boulder Valley Velodrome developer Doug Emerson. Emerson is a cycling industry veteran; he's owned University Cycles in Boulder for more than 25 years.
Emerson says riding on a velodrome is fundamentally different than riding anywhere else. His facility will host amateurs looking for exercise, as well as races. Emerson says the facility will eventually have grandstands, where spectators can watch the races, and lights that will allow nighttime competitions.
Earlier attempts to draw riders to a velodrome in the Boulder area have failed, most recently Boulder Indoor Cycling's facility. But Emerson isn't phased. He says building an outdoor velodrome makes more sense in this area. And, he says, cyclists are craving it.
"With the demographics we have on the Front Range, it’s like we’re building the first hockey rink in Montreal," Emerson says.