Come and ride the world's smallest velodrome in London!

Red Bull's Minidrome is built and ready for action on 15 January

by Dave Atkinson   January 6, 2011  

You're going to be in London on 15 January anyway, aren't you? to go to the London Bike Show? Well make sure you bring your fixed gear bike and sign up for a go on Red Bull's most excellent Minidrome – the world's smallest velodrome – while you're about it. They've got 100 places up for grabs on the tiny boards. when the 'drome comes to town at York Hall in Bethnal Green, just a few miles from ExCel.

If you haven't heard of the Minidrome it's Red Bull's attempt to condense the thrill of track racing into a nightclub setting with a genuinely tiny track. We first head about it when they trialled it in New Zealand but the UK track is a different beast entirely, built in Germany by Velotrack, the team who built the velodromes for the Atlanta Olympics and the recent Delhi Commonwealth Games. For the track geeks it's a 'kloides combined with circles' design that allows the rider to apply consistent pedal pressure and requires no steering work, which is the most modern design and also the easiest to ride. It should be easier to stay on the boards than it was on the NZ track, which was a two-semicircle design. For the record we don't know what kloides are. The track designers claim that speeds of up to 80km/h should be possible, although of course you'd have to be certifiably insane to get even close to even half that.

The London Mini Drome is open to fixed riders of all ages, but you do have to have a bike with a track height bottom bracket - no converted road frames will be allowed as there's too much danger of messing up the boards. To register your interest just head over to the Minidrome website and fill in the registration form top right. Entries close at 5pm on January 10, after which Red Bull will make a random draw of 100 participants, assuming more than 100 people register. Qualifying (single riders) begins at 3pm, and the fastest 32 riders will head to the knockout stages where it's a knockout pursuit format. For a taste of what you'll get, check out this vid of the NZ track...

Red Bull Minidrome from Eyeball Moving Image on Vimeo.

If you don't want to ride but fancy catching the action then there's a capacity of 500 for spectators. Admission is free but donations to the campaign to save Herne Hill Velodrome will be taken. (http://www.savethevelodrome.com). We'll be venturing down for a special early doors go on the track before qualifying starts, so stay tuned for news on that. Assuming the local A&E has WiFi.

4 user comments

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I'd like to see a madison event on that.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1339 posts]
7th January 2011 - 11:57

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'kloides' is most likely the 'street math' term for 'cycloids'.

Used to hang out with the wrong cantor set in my youth.

posted by bazzargh [144 posts]
7th January 2011 - 12:44

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Ok this is really geeky but it bugged me that using a cycloid didn't make sense in this context. The company who made this is german, and I think the bad translation of 'Kloides' is not from cycloids (Zykloides in german) but clothoids (Klotoides). Clothoids (aka Euler spirals, or Cornu spirals) are the solution you get if you try to make a continous transition from a straight path to a circular path - ie acceleration towards the centre of the circle increases linearly from 0 to some maximum g. More on this here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Track_transition_curve

Bizarrely, while clothoids have been used since the mid 19th century to design smooth curves on train tracks, they've only been deliberately used for velodromes since Atlanta '96 - a computer designed track made by the same people that designed Red Bull's minidrome - who now work at worldrecordtracks.org . (See, this all made sense in the end)

posted by bazzargh [144 posts]
8th January 2011 - 21:21

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Thanks Bazzarch, that makes sense to me - it's been nagging away at me ever since I wrote the original story about the mini-drome and couldn't find anything out about kloides anywhere.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4136 posts]
8th January 2011 - 21:52

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