The History of Track Cycling

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The History of Track Cycling

Team GB have had huge success of the years most recently with Elinor Barkers triumph at becoming Scratch World Champion in February (2019). Over recent years Asgard have supplied secure metal bike sheds to many members of this hugely successful team. The British cycling team has certainly made history over the years, but what is the history of this incredible sport and where did it all begin?

What is track cycling?

Track cycling is a bike racing sport that is held on specially built (mostly indoor) tracks called velodromes. To race on a track, bicycles must be specially built and the speed in which they can go around the track is breathtaking. Well known British track cyclists include Chris Boardman, Chris Hoy and Asgard shed owners Laura Trott and Elinor Barker.

Indoor Track Cyclist Competing in the Velodrome  

Where did track cycling begin?

The sport of track cycling began around 1870, when cycle sport was something new and exciting, in post industrial revolution Britain. Indoor cycling tracks looked similar to the modern velodromes we’re used to seeing now, they were made from wood, had two straight sides and two slightly banked turns.

Track cycling became a popular indoor sport during the Victorian era and soon there was a growing number of velodromes popping up all over England. The locations of some of the early velodromes included London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool.

The longest standing velodrome

It may come as no surprise that the oldest velodrome in the world is situated in Great Britain. In fact, the Brighton velodrome was constructed in 1877 and still stands today. Interestingly, it was the British army that helped to dig out the foundations for the construction, adding to the track’s rightful place amongst Britain’s true modern heritage.

Today it’s used by keen track cyclists, youth groups and cycling clubs who could one day become part of the hugely successful team GB cycling team.

Unfortunately, in 2014, the Preston Park track had to close for competitive racing, following concerns about the safety of the track, but the closure didn’t last too long. Brighton’s historic cycling venue reopened to competition cyclists in 2016, following a £148,000 refurbishment, helping the venue to comply with health and safety regulations. The track is now up and running, with cycling competitions being held all year round.

When did track cycling become an Olympic event?

Track cycling has been part of the Olympic Games since 1896, when the city of Athens hosted the first modern era competition. The only exception was when Stockholm hosted the Olympic games in 1924 and only the cycling road race was held.

What are the race formats?

There are typically two different types of race format in track cycling, sprint and endurance.

Sprint competitions

Sprint competitions generally include four types of race.


Endurance competitions

Endurance track cycling competitions generally include the following races.

Team Sprint
Track Time Trial


Individual pursuit
Team pursuit
Scratch race
Points race

Miss and out

Track cycling world records

As with any sport, world records are set frequently and track cycling is no different. Britain is fortunate enough to have some fantastic track cyclists, who are both experienced and emerging talents in their field (or track to be more specific).

Three long established talents from team GB, who have set world records in the sport of track cycling are Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Boardman.

  • Chris Hoy - Flying 500m Time Trial at 24.578 seconds
  • Bradley Wiggins - Hour record at 54.526 kilometres
  • Chris Boardman - Hour record at 56.375 kilometres

Asgard makes history with bike sheds

You may or may not be aware that Asgard has supplied some of the very best of Great Britain’s cycling talents with secure metal bike sheds. If you’re a keen track cyclist, looking to make your own mark on history, you’ll need a safe and secure place to store your bike. If this is the case, you should look no further than Asgard’s collection of bike sheds. There’s something to suit all needs.

Images sources:
Dullhunk (Manchester velodrome) -
Simon Williams (Womens Omnium: Flying Lap) -

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