cycling · fitness

The big wide world of cycling

One of the things I love most about cycling is how many different kinds of riding there are. I identify first and foremost as a road cyclist but I’m not close minded about it.

I love most of them and suspect I would love the ones I haven’t tried yet. They’re on my list!

From fat tire bicycle tours in New Orleans to our local velodrome, the Forest City Velodrome, aka the Salad Bowl of Death, I love them all.

Okay, maybe not this. I don’t think I’d like this. Mostly because I’m sure it would involve my death. Death in a scenic location, but death, nonetheless.

Sometimes I even combine radically different styles of riding on the same weekend. Last year I did the MEC century on a Saturday, followed by the Tweed Ride on the Sunday.

I even blogged about my “big tent approach” to cycling here.

And it’s happening again.

May is the month of London’s Second Tweed Ride and the Springbank Road Race. I’ll be riding in one (in tweed!) and marshalling at the other (keeping geese off the 2.2 km race course).

1. Tweed Ride

Tweed Ride: The (Second Annual) London Tweed Ride is Saturday, May 9, 2015, and it’s time to register now!
It’s free!
It’s fun!
It’s for everyone!
And the first 100 to register on eventbrite (and ride) will be entered in a draw to win a bike! Sign up now and tell your friends!

On ride day, check in starts at 11:00am at Queens Park, site of the OEVCA Healthy Hearts for Spring Festival. We ride at noon, exploring London’s neighbourhoods and stopping for tea at Meredith Park in SoHo before returning to Queens Park by 2:00pm.

Contact us at

Twitter: @Ldntweed
Register to ride:

2. Springbank Road Races

The London Centennial Wheelers are proud to present the 47th annual Springbank Road Races, to be held on Sunday, May 3, 2015 in London’s beautiful Springbank Park. This OCA sanctioned event will be held on the same closed 2.2 km course as in the past and offers over $4,000 in cash and prizes. The width of this fast and technical loop varies, combining a narrow paved path on the back of the course with a wide and flat finishing straight, and makes for exciting and spectator-friendly racing. This year the Springbank Road Races will again be part of the O-Cup, Ontario’s premier road cycling series.

Important: riders are asked *not* to pre-ride the course on the Saturday prior to race day. We have in the past had some rider/pedestrian near-misses, and would like avoid that this year. It’s bad publicity for the race, and puts a strain on our relationship with the City of London.

Tentative start times, distances, and fees are available on the Categories & Start Times page.

Online pre-registration will be available on the OCA’s webpage, and sign-in opens at 7:30am on the day of the race.

For more information, or to volunteer your time, please contact Chris Vlemmix (Race Director) via email at or by phone at (519) 702-6022.

Finally, please note that the information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. In case of a discrepancy between this site and the official Technical Guide, the latter shall be taken as correct.

See you there!


Also, in my social media newsfeed, though not anywhere close to London, here’s video from the single speed national champs in New Zealand:


Planning Our Visit to the Salad Bowl of Death



I first referred to it as a salad bowl. It feels like you’re riding around on the inside of a wooden salad bowl.

My friend David added “of Death.” He did Track 1, Intro to Track, with me a few years ago. The first time you corner it’s hard to hold your line because it feels like you’re riding really fast into a wooden wall, Deep breath, hold the black line, and look through the corner. You can get some sense of what that feels like here.

It’s real name is the Forest City Velodrome.

“The Forest City Velodrome is an indoor cycling facility in London, Ontario, Canada. The building was constructed in 1963 as the London Gardens, home to the London Knights ice hockey team. In 1994 it was renamed London Ice House. In early 2005 it was remodeled into the Forest City Velodrome by local cycling enthusiast and track racer Rob Good and Albert Coulier’s Apollo Velodrome Systems company. The Forest City Velodrome is the shortest permanent velodrome in the world, measuring 138 metres with 50-degree bankings and 17-degree straights.” From Wikipedia

I like this video, A mood piece from our trip to the Forest City Velodrome. Music by Dave Brubeck and Silvergun.

I’m not sure how much I’ll ride at the velodrome. I’m still mulling my options. See Seven winter cycling options (I’ve tried them all!)

I love track riding but prefer the more sensible 250 m tracks. I loved the Invercargill velodrome in New Zealand, also the outdoor one in Mosgiel, outside Dunedin, NZ. It was hard getting used to wind on the track and bad weather cancellations though.

Indoors, on a shorter track, the feeling of riding around in circles can sometimes feel incredibly thrilling. Whee! Speed! At other times, when there is a longer endurance piece of riding to do, it feels a bit like a hamster on wheel. My friend Bob used to refer to riding at the velodrome as “hamstering” for just this reason.

And hey, although this is a short, steep, scary track, at least there aren’t snakes in the infield.


Anyway, I think Track 1 is a fun thing to do with a group. If you ride a bike you can do Track 1. It’s terrifying looking but I’ve not known anyone not to make it through Track 1. Tracy and I are going with friends from our Saturday morning rides and our Thursday evening rides. We’re going for fun, as a group, and of course we’ll blog about it later!

We’re booked in for November 9th at noon. Interested? You can join us here.