This page is not updated regularly. For program dates and current information, please see
This program is designed to introduce juniors up to age 15 to the track. This allows them a safe place to get started before they are ready to race against adults or move into more advanced programs for older juniors.
Everyone from complete beginners to competitive racers will be welcome.
The program’s priorities are for each rider to:
- Learn track etiquette so they can ride safely with others on the track.
- Learn the physical skills they need to ride safely.
- Have fun.
- Practice the sort of drills used in more advanced racing programs.
- Learn the rules of the various types of races they will run into at Hellyer and at state and national championships.
- Get fast.
This program may attract a wide range of riders with very different goals. Priority will be given to those who are enthusiastic about track riding, but who still need to work on the basics. Of course we will try to be flexible so that everyone has fun and gets a good workout.
Each session will include some verbal instruction, skills work, group riding and individual efforts. We’ll have some mock races if there are enough riders of similar abilities. Every rider who is motivated to progress will leave this program ready to join more advanced training programs and start racing (subject to the usual requirements).
Bicycles are provided. There will probably be enough to go around, but if there are too many riders of the same size they may have to share bikes. Of course you can bring your own track bike if you have one. Only fixed-gear bikes with no brakes are allowed.
When: Typically on Sunday afternoons. Please see http://www.ridethetrack.com/juniors.html for exact times and seasonal changes. Rain cancels.
Where: Hellyer Park Velodrome, San Jose
Who: If you can ride a road bike and are between 10 and 15, you are welcome.
Cost: Parking at Hellyer County park is $5, but the program is free, including bike rental.
- A waiver form must be signed by your parent or guardian before your first session.
- Email us by the Friday before each session if you will be attending. The address is Sunday at juniorvelo dot com. If you do not do this, you will not be allowed to use a “rental” bike.
- You must bring a bike helmet. Helmets must be worn any time you are on the bike – even if it’s not rolling.
- At the track we have standard pedals available, and they work fine with ordinary shoes. If you ride clipless pedals, bring them along.
- A cooperative attitude.
- Willingness to have fun riding a track bike.
The session will be canceled if it is raining. If in doubt, contact Steve Ryan an hour or more ahead.
Current organizers and coaches include Rob Jensen, Andrew Lanier, Steven Woo, and Glenn Kubacki. Email sunday at juniorvelo dot com, which will reach more than one of the organizers.
For phone numbers, please email so the numbers don’t have to be posted on the web.
Q: What should we bring?
A: In addition to the helmet and pedals, a bottle or more of water or a sports drink is a good idea. There will be lots of short breaks where they can grab a small snack if they have one. Also, be aware that temperatures can vary quickly. Bring clothing to cover a range of temperatures. Several thin layers are more adaptable than one thick one, especially because riders may be working very hard or taking it easy at different times during the session. Something comfortable and dry to change into afterwards can be a big plus for the drive home.
Q: Can my child use his own bike?
A: Only if it’s a track bike.
Q: Is this an expensive sport?
A: You have a lot of control over costs. Most velodrome activities at Hellyer are free for juniors. They really only need a good helmet to try track riding, and they will soon want pedals, shoes, cycling shorts and gloves to be more comfortable. These things don’t have to be expensive models. At the other extreme, if you want your child to race the nicest bike around, it’s going to get very expensive.
Q: My daughter is on a structured training program, can she do her own workouts?
A: No. We will try to be flexible, but the group comes first. Consider hiring a coach if your child wants to be that serious.
Q: Can I watch?
A: Absolutely. There are bleachers, and usually shade.
Q: Can I coach?
Q: Can I ride?
A: Generally, no. Occasionally we will have an adult who is a current Hellyer racer on the track as a mentor. In general, however, we want to keep faster, heavier riders out of the mix.
Q: Can I leave?
A: We would like for parents to stay for the first session, and at least until their child is comfortable on the track. After that you may leave, but you need to be available by phone in case of problems. Of course you need to be back before the session ends at 5 so we can close the facility and go home.
Q: We don’t have appropriate pedals. Are there some we can use until we find out if he/she likes this?
A: The track has traditional toeclips-and-straps pedals you can use, and these work with tennis shoes.
Q: Why should I ride track?
A: It’s fun. You can compete against the best or just ride at the level you enjoy. You will develop great bike skills which will help you in road and criterium races. Many juniors find it’s a good way to make friends. No cars. I could go on…
Q: Will I be fast enough to do this?
A: We don’t expect all riders to be at the same level. If you enjoy riding any kind of bike, give this a try.
Q: Will this program be fast enough for me?
A: We’ll always include efforts where each rider can go all out at his own pace, so even the fastest riders will get a good workout. Just be aware that you will not do every drill at top speed.
Q: What if I can’t be there every time?
A: That’s okay. We would rather see you once a month than not at all. Of course regular attendance helps you and this program stay strong.
Q: Can I do this just for fun?
A: Yes. You need to pay attention and participate in the workouts, but you don’t need to do outside training and you don’t need to race.
Q: Can I get to the national championships by joining this program?
A: We are not professional coaches, but we can give you a good start. You will do many of the same drills as the riders in more advanced programs. Still, you’ll probably want to seek additional advice and experience before going to higher level competitions.
Q: What do I wear?
A: We only care about your safety, so only the helmet is absolutely mandatory. Gloves are a great idea in case of a fall, and of course cycling shorts feel best on the saddle. There’s no need to wear a cycling jersey unless you already have one, but bring an extra layer in case of cool weather.
Q: What do my times mean?
A: We time some of your efforts at the workouts, primarily because you (the riders) keep asking for it. We may use the times to form groups or set handicaps for certain drills, but otherwise the times don’t mean much. Remember that your times may improve rapidly with practice, especially if you are new to the start techniques used on the track. Also, if you were preparing for an important race, you would work to find the best gear for your event. At these practice sessions, you will be using a general-purpose gear ratio which varies from bike to bike, and will affect your results.