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Cycling Fri Jan 28 2011

Chicago Velo Campus Might Actually Be Happening

Keirin final.
Photo by Ed White

If you're a Chicago competitive cyclist, you may have heard about an effort to develop a Chicago "velo campus" that would feature an indoor velodrome, BMX and mountain bike tracks, and other cycling-specific facilities. You may have heard that some pretty big local names in cycling were involved in the effort and that funding was coming along.

Well, it seems that things are coming along better than we thought. The A.V. Club reported today that the Chicago Velo Campus (Facebook) is scheduled for completion in 2013, with some events beginning later this year on an "interim" wood track. Rumors are swirling that its location will be in the south side of Chicago, perhaps as part of the new U.S. Steel lakefront development.

The news about the Velo Campus follows the announcement that Des Plaines Mayor Martin Moylan wants to locate a velodrome in his municipality. Not many details are available about that effort.

Several big questions linger: how many velodromes does Chicagoland really need? Are there really that many track cyclists to warrant three velodromes, including the established Ed Rudolph facility in Northbrook? Ed Rudolph has its faults, namely its "relaxed" banking and shared infield with a soccer field. But does Chicago need two more velodromes to take up the slack?

Secondly, where's the money coming from? Public funds are in incredible short supply these days and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and Chicago Parks don't have the millions (nor willpower to push the cause) to build a 'drome facility for a small segment of the Chicago population.

More details will be coming soon, I'm sure. Until then, it's time to applaud the effort so far.

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Emanuele Bianchi / February 1, 2011 10:23 AM

thanks for the report about Chicago Velo Campus,
As founder and president of the organization I can tell you more about it in greater detail, set an interview if you like.
Feel free to email me anytime and I'll do my very best to allocate some time.

Here some notes related to your piece:

1 Chicago Velo Campus has been registered and in activity many months before the Des Plains announcement, unless there are tracks of that effort back in Spring 2010 (time CVC effort turned from concept into a registered organization)
2 Chicago Velo Campus is privately funded and its a self sustainable project
3 the need for velodromes in the USA is very well known to track cyclists, aside from the only USA "STANDARD" velodrome in Los Angeles called ADT (only INDOOR velodrome of the whole nation) that is UCI approved, and can be used for world class competitions, there are many others like our great Northbrook velodrome.
the problem is that Northbrook is not exactly what a velodrome should be shaped like, Ed Rudolph builted it (and its great that he did as we all have had a chance to enjoy cycling thanks to it), but the track was a secondary project built around something that ruled the project, so the shape (length and degree of banking) is totally out of the standards.
What this does is pretty simple, anytime any of our riders from Chicago makes it to Nationals, Worlds, or would like to compete in a 6 day race around the world, the impossibility for that rider to train on the standard tracks keeps him or her out of the game.
I've witnessed this with my own eyes and there are hundreds of competitive riders that can tell you this in greater detail.

The USA needs more velodromes, no doubts,
Unless we dont care about cycling as a whole, WE DO NEED MORE VELODROMES
When a few years ago I moved to the USA, it sounded strange to discover that AUSTRALIA had 8 indoor velodromes and we, the great United States of America have 1 single 250 MT indoor velodrome?

Or what about the European Union that has over 20 indoor velodromes, is it then hard to understand why our athletes have an hard time conquering gold medals at the olympic games?

Chicago, the Midwest, the whole UNITED STATES need more velodromes and if they are built as a smart project, being green, available to everyone, self sustained, generate employment and bring the new generations to the great sport of cycling
Wouldn't it be great?
I would ask this same question to our over 1700 followers in FB to see the answer...

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