Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Well, get your legs moving, that is. Track bicycling is a lot like NASCAR, only the vehicle of transport is a single-speed bike with no brakes. Sound dicey? It isn’t—not under the good instruction found at San Jose’s Hellyer Park Velodrome
. At the Saturday morning beginner sessions, novices get a “crash course” on how to speed around the 23-degree embanked track known as a velodrome. First, the instructor will teach you to follow two completely counter-intuitive mantras: relax and keep pedaling, even if you have no brakes (the pedals don’t coast; they’re always moving forward with the bike). Then it’s on to some pace line drills, rolling around the curves of the track. Relax and keep pedaling: Once you do catch the riding rhythm, the good times really start rolling. You’ll be hanging on “the rail” in no time. Wheelies not recommended.
Don’t have the right wheels? Hellyer Park Velodrome rents out quality track bikes for $5. There is a $5 fee for the Beginner Training Session, which is offered every Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Rain cancels.