What is the Arizona Bicycle Center?
The Arizona Bicycle Center is a multi-use facility that encompasses an education center, safety training center, and velodrome.
Tucson, Arizona is considered one of the top cycling destinations in the country and it is one of the best places to be an endurance athlete. The year-round riding weather, terrain, and unbeatable community make Tucson a sporting hotbed. The city and Pima County have invested millions of dollars into linear parks, trails, bike paths, and bike lanes, and to date, are the only city-region to be listed as gold status on the League of American Bicyclist’s list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.
The ABC would provide the community with a safe location to learn and practice bicycle skills- especially for youth. The safety center would allow youth to practice skills such as stopping, turning, and other smart riding techniques. It is absolutely vital to provide a safe, welcoming location for youth to exercise and learning good cycling skills can create a lifetime of healthy choices. A more active youth population means lower risks of obesity and other health-related issues later in life. The ABC would provide a much-needed facility.
The other great part of the ABC is a velodrome. A velodrome is an oval track with banking to allow cyclists to carry speed as they ride on it. The surface is typically wood or concrete and is incredibly smooth to allow for a fast, comfortable ride. Velodrome bikes, or track bikes, have one fixed gear and no brakes- this allows for faster speeds and better control over the bike. Track racing has many forms from individual timed events to mass start races with sprints. Track racing provides something for everyone regardless of your athletic preference. For spectators, track racing can provide an edge-of-your-seat excitement from the speed, skill, and tactics!
Velodromes also provide a safe and fun introduction to cycling because they are free from cars and other obstacles. New riders are safe to practice different skills and have the ability to ask knowledge staff and instructors questions about how to ride. No other facility can provide a better environment for getting adults and youth hooked on cycling.
Here is a video from a track in Chicago, and another from a world-class race, to give an idea of track racing:
There are, of course, several other types of racing including time trials, match sprints, and points races.
UA Cycling is a proud supporter of the Arizona Bicycle Center project. The ABC would give our team move avenues to be involved with youth in our community. Furthermore, our team competes on the road, trails, and in cyclocross and would gladly take part in track racing if the nearest velodrome wasn’t in San Diego, CA. We are confident that a velodrome in Tucson would solidify our region as a place to ride and train. In addition, we would work to bring USA Cycling’s Collegiate Track Nationals to Tucson upon completion of the velodrome.
How can you help make the project happen?
The current goal is a public-private partnership to finance the construction of the velodrome. You can read the project proposal here: Tucson_Velodrome_Feasibility_and_Use