After the recent “defrocking” of Lance Armstrong we learned Americans still have a long way to go to earn international respect in competitive cycling. Europeans continue to dominate international cycling rankings and along with Asians can make the case that they build the best bicycles. And Europeans have the best cycling infrastructure on the planet that will give them competitive advantages for years to come.
As in all dire straits there is a silver lining: the US has one of top 10 cycling routes in the world as reported by National Geographic — no place to go but up!
Velodromes Coming To America
The US is overwhelmed by the onslaught of competitive racers worldwide. Japan, with just one third of the population of the US, has twice as many velodromes; Australia and Argentina have about the same number. In a country that has failed to pick up the world’s number one sport, soccer, for decades, the quick but muted growth in the number of velodromes is par for the course.
To get an idea of how far the US has to go, take a look at the following video of Europeans going crazy at a cycling event. This type of behavior is unlikely to happen anytime soon in the United States.
Types of Velodromes
Velodromes come in all shapes and sizes and can be permanent, semipermanent, demountable and portable and can range in cost from tens of thousands to tens of millions of dollars. The velodrome built for the recent London Olympic Games cost $60 million (38 million pounds). Some recent velodromes built in the United States received funding from crowdsourcing funding platforms like Kick starter.