The Rollapaluza crew arrived at the Revolution track event, held on Saturday night in the Manchester velodrome, thinking they could watch some racing.
Not a chance!
"Any hopes we had of mingling with the stars and watching the top class track racing at Revolution disappeared at 5.30pm when the venue opened and a queue of eager racers of all ages formed at the sign-on desk," said Caspar Hughes of Rollapaluza.
Rollapaluza is a business taking bikes, rollers and big clocks around the country, getting people turned on to a form of cycle sport madly popular in the 1950s. Rollapaluza is a two-up event, with the aim being to be the first to cross the ‘finishing line’ on one of the bikes, blue or red. This finishing line is a series of cogs and belts, turning the hand of a ‘clock’ which measures not time, but distance, measured with red and blue dial hands. Adult riders race a 500m sprint, children race 250m.
Top-end sprinters can do the 500m in less than 19 seconds. 19 seconds of pain.
At Revolution, 170 individuals competed on the Rollapaluza rigs and roller-race specific Condor bikes.
"We’re glad we brought two two rigs," said Paul Churchill of Rollapaluza. "We’re used to being busy, but this was exceptional."
Out of 27 girls taking part, BikeBiz junior reporter Hanna Reid, aged 9, beat girls of twelve and thirteen to take top spot.
The junior bikes are also roller specific and also made for Condor.
Churchill said: "Condor cycles share our belief that Rollapaluza is a great way to get kids involved in cycling and they have supported our schools programme by providing us with children’s bikes. We always take these to our public events, but not our night-time, night-club style events.
"We’re hoping to attend all the Revolution events, which will be great as adults and kids alike will be able to compare their performances across the series."
The first round of Rollapaluza’s winter open London League takes place in an East London pub tonight.