So you want to be a Cycle Speedway Rider

Racing for yourself is fun but the chance to share in team competitions can be equally satisfying.  Unlike many other sports, you get the best of both worlds as a cycle speedway rider.  This section sets out some of the basic questions you might be asking as a newcomer to the sport and the answers you will need before setting out in search of the action at your local track.

What sort of bikes are used?

Cycle Speedway bikes are very basic and features none of the expensive accessories that you might find in other types of cycle racing.  Newcomers can usually put a good bike together for a relatively small amount especially if they are prepared to shop around for second hand parts.  Brand new ready to race bikes are available from your specialists suppliers.

What does the rulebook say about bikes?

The rules are very clear and worth remembering as you start to build your own bike.  "A racing machine shall not be fitted with brakes, brake attachments, mud-guards of any size, rat trap or metal pedals, toe clips or straps, lamp brackets, wing nuts, any form of gears or any other fittings considered dangerous by the referee.  Handlebars shall not exceed 30" (75cm) in width measured in a straight line from end to end, each shall be protected by a soft substance, preferably handlebar grips.  "Special rules about wheel spindles state that any excess should be sawn off so that thay are flush with the wheel-nut.

How dangerous is the sport?

This is usually mum's first question but tell her not to worry because cycle speedway is very safety conscious and serious injuries are few and far between.  Riders can expect to pick up occasional knocks and grazes, but generally the sport is no more dangerous than other activities such as football or skateboarding.  First aid facilities are compulsory for organised race meetings.

How do I start?

Clubs are always on the lookout for new members so don't be shy.  Pay a visit to your local track, introduce yourself to someone and ask them if you could have a trial.  They will be happy to let you have a few practice sessions before going ahead and spending money on a bike of your own.  senior riders will be pleased to help you and may even have a few second-hand bike parts to dispose of.

What competitions can I race in?

Team matches take place every weekend from April to October at local and national level.  Tour local club will always welcome newcomers and endeavour to give you the opportunity to try the sport out.  There are special competitions for all age categories including under 13s, under 16s, under 19s and seniors.  There are even veterans competitions for the over 40s!  So whatever your age there is a competition especially for you.  There are local and regional competitions in all age groups - and if you excel in one of these you can progress to the national finals.

Do I need any special clothing?

The most important item is a crash helmet.  These are compulsory both for training and competitive racing.  Get some advice about crash helmets from your local club or the sport's governing body, the British Cycle Speedway Council (BCSC).

The rules also state that the riders body must be covered from the neck downwards.  Style of footwear is a matter of choice but this must be predominantly black and training shoes are found to be most suitable.  Black training bottoms are normally worn.

Can girls or ladies compete?

Most certainly!  The BCSC actively encourages equal opportunities in the sport and a few young ladies do compete at club and local level.  Ask your local club secretary for more details. 

Where can I get further information?

Paul West
British Cycling
National Cycling Centre
Stuart Street
M11 4DQ

Tel:  0161 274 2000

Fax: 0161 274 2001

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