Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Derby Velodrome

It may seem strange, in these difficult financial times, to see how, here in Derby, we can justify spending £28m on what is really a multi-sports stadium with a state-of-the-art cycle track.
Well. firstly the cash has not all come from the good citizens of the City of Derby.  Much of it has come from grants made by various organisations. Had this money not come to Derby, it would have gone elsewhere.
Since the London Olympics and two consecutive British wins in the prestigious Tour de France, the popularity of cycling and cycle sport in the UK is at an all time high.  Derby is ideally situated in the centre of England with no other such facility within 60 miles, so cycling enthusiasts and spectators will boost the local economy by travelling here to see events and to participate in them.
The building will have provision for other sports such as badminton, table tennis and the like as well as being a venue for various concerts.
The site on Pride Park is well chosen, being within walking distance of Derby's Railway Station and the Bus Station. It stands next to Route 6 of the National Cycle Network which links Southwards towards Leicester, eastwards to Nottingham and also (via Route 549) to Stoke-on-Trent and via Route 68 to Ashbourne.  Even on to Berwick-upon-Tweed, by way of the Pennine Cycleway, although I doubt that anyone will come that far!
Pride Park is very much a brown field site, having originally been the very polluted home of Derby's gas works. Being next to the River Derwent, which carried all sorts of noxious chemicals away on to Nottingham via the co-joining River Trent for many years, has been sealed off by the sinking of piling to surround the whole site, now developed into a modern industrial estate housing Derby County's Pride Park Stadium which stands next to the Velodrome, and sharing car parks.
Currently construction of the building is on target with the roof and walls covered, giving protection from the on-coming Winter weather. Fitting out the inside will take another 12 months and we hope to see the opening event here in October 2014.
There will be a capacity crowd to see some well known names in the cycling world, so come along if you can get a ticket. 

Several layers of a variety of materials cover the walls and we have yet to see the final cladding which we understand will be thousands of shingles in three shades, gold, silver, and bronze, representing the medal colours,

Saturday, 14 September 2013


The original concept for this blog was to post a series of videos of my cycle rides, but tests showed that making videos on a bike was not such a good idea. Vibration of the bike mounted camera gave poor pictures, especially on rough surfaces, and the slow speed of a bike meant some pretty boring sequences.
Plan B was to use a series of still photographs displayed as a slideshow, but this too had it's problems with poor control of the sequence by the reader, so here is Plan C where the pictures are displayed in order of the ride and you can scan through them at your own rate,  zooming them to full screen size by simply clicking on the picture.
The cameras are both compact digital Canons, a G12 Powershot and a SX500IS Superzoom.
The bikes are various, a Dahon Groove with 20" wheels and full suspension.  A Dahon Curve SL which has 16" wheels and folds small enough to be carried onto buses and trains for journeys away from home.  For some of the rides my Claude Butler Cape Wrath mountain bike is more appropriate with it's wide range of gears and it's grippy tyres.
So ride with me to some beautiful and interesting places, mostly not accessible by motor car and too far to walk.  The bicycle is the ideal means of transportation for such journeys, being silent, non-polluting, healthy, and most of all ............... FUN!