The £100m VeloPark will be opened to the public at the end of the month, and the owners are predicting a sell-out. The VeloPark incorporates the Olympic velodrome and the Olympic BMX track. New on the site are a five mile mountain bike course, that dips beneath the A12 and snakes around woodland, and an undulating one mile road circuit surfaced with butter smooth asphalt. The road circuit is also flood lit so will be usable at night and for “nocturne” races.
VIPs and members of the press were shown around the facilities yesterday. 140 young people from five local schools were on hand to appear in live TV bulletins and in newspaper photographs. Blue skies and bright sunshine – and Laura Trott and Mark Colbourne – were on hand to remind everybody of the 2012 Olympic Games. Olympic and Paralympic champions Trott and Colbourne are the official VeloPark ambassadors. The riders did a number of – slow – circuits of the velodrome’s track to open the venue. Earlier, journalists had been allowed to take part in track, MTB, road and BMX sessions, looked after by Go-Ride coaches. Go-Ride is now sponsored by the Bicycle Association via the Bike Hub levy fund. Derrick Ashley, chairman of the Lee Valley Park Regional Authority which operates the VeloPark, described it as a “world class venue which has a community at heart.” His prediction that sessions at the venue will be a sell-out could very easily come true. There are forty Go-Ride clubs close to the VeloPark, and hundreds of schools. Lee Valley Regional Park Authority estimate that up to 500,000 people will visit the VeloPark each year.
VeloPark will host the latest round of the Revolution Series, with Trott joined by riders such as double world champion Joanna Rowsell, and Jason Kenny. (Visitors travelling to Stratford International station, local rail hub for the VeloPark, sometimes get to ride on Jason Kenny: he gave his name for one of Southeastern’s engines).
When the VeloPark opens on 31st March it’s possible not all of the five mile mountain bike course will be rideable. This is because the winter’s rains have prevented seeding and other landscaping measures. The closed MTB course features a black, blue and red skills loop close to the velodrome. And a MTB-specific bridge has been built over an access road.
The BMX course has been remodelled since the Olympics Games. For safety reasons the starting ramp has been reduced from eight metres to 3.8 metres high. There’s also half a pump track to enable beginners to get a taste of the table tops and berms on the full BMX track.
within the velodrome. The official bikes for the VeloPark were supplied by Condor of London. The shoe brand for track sessions is Lake; the hire helmets were supplied by Kas