"Competitions and community rides
It probably started with Breaking Away, that Oscar gem of a movie in 1980. Bicycle racing was cool again, the most cool it had been in almost a century. Then fashion designers adapted the style of cycling clothes for street wear, the 7-Eleven team was the first American team to compete in the Tour de France and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles gave the U.S. National Cycling Team a venue to display its newfound contention for medals, winning multiple gold, silver and bronze.
It was in this climate of renewed appreciation for the sport that the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis opened its gates in 1982 for the National Sports Festival. The state-of the-art, 333-meter velodrome at 3649 Cold Spring Road was precisely engineered with banked turns of 28 degrees, and quickly became a hot bed for track cycling in the United States.
Indianapolis has a rich history of velodrome racing dating back to the 1890s. Arthur Newby, who also built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, constructed the Newby Oval, a quarter-mile, pine bicycle track with seating for 20,000 spectators. It was here that a young African-American athlete set a track record for the mile and was then banned from the velodrome. Marshall “Major” Taylor went on to become renowned as the fastest rider in the world despite great odds and overt racism.
This Friday night, June 29, the Major Taylor Velodrome celebrates its 25th anniversary in the best way it knows how: high-speed track racing on fixed-gear bikes with no brakes. Racing begins at 7:30 p.m. and admission for spectators is free.
For more information on the Major Taylor Velodrome and its summer programs for cyclists of all abilities, go to www.majortaylorvelo.com.
NUVO-Cultural Trail Series
The NUVO-Cultural Trail Cycling Team will contribute to the 25th anniversary celebration by kicking off its fifth annual race series at the Major Taylor Velodrome on Friday night, June 29. A 10-mile scratch race will be the feature event of the Hot Summer Nights racing program and officially launch the series. The top 10 racers over the finish line after 10 miles of high-speed track racing will earn points for their respective teams.
The NUVO-Cultural Trail Team Series brings high-quality sanctioned races to the regional calendar every year, and this year is no exception. In addition to the 10-mile scratch, five criteriums are scheduled throughout the summer in Indianapolis, Madison, South Bend, Bloomington and Zionsville. The first criterium in the series is Saturday, June 30, at Eagle Creek Park. The race begins at 1:20 p.m.
Hot Summer Nights racing begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Admission for spectators is free. Only 30 racers will be accepted for the NUVO-Cultural Trail 10-mile race, and they must be licensed as a Category 1, 2 or 3 on the track.
For more information on the NUVO-Cultural Trail Cycling team, go to www.nuvoculturaltrailcycling.com.
The most effervescent celebration of Indy bike culture is the award-winning annual NITE Ride promoted by the Central Indiana Bicycle Coalition.
• The ride is June 30, 11 p.m.
On-site registration is Saturday at the Major Taylor Velodrome from 4 to 10 p.m., and is $27 per person. The NITE Ride races on the velodrome begin at 7 p.m. and admission for spectators is free.
For more information on the NITE Ride go to www.cibaride.org or call 317-767-7765.