How hard can it be? Journal editor tries out Street Velodrome
- Credit: Archant
When the Street Velodrome visited Lowestoft, Journal editor ANDREW PAPWORTH was one of those to have a go - but soon discovered it was more of a challenge than he first thought.
When I was asked if I wanted to have a go on the Street Velodrome when it came to Lowestoft, my initial thoughts were: 'Sure, how hard can it be?'
As I arrived to get kitted out for my turn on Lowestoft's biggest attraction that weekend, I was starting to wonder if I was about to regret my decision.
Although I often cycle around Lowestoft, the ramp seemed awfully steep and the bend a little bit too tight - a classic recipe for an amateur like me to fall off.
Seeing riders whizz round high on the edges of the curve - almost sideways, it seemed - didn't fill me with confidence.
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And when the organisers urged me not to be brave and wear some protection for my elbows just in case, I had no hesitation in accepting. But despite the heart racing slightly as I attempted the ramp for the first time, I felt quite a sense of achievement as I came successfully negotiated it to come back down the other side - bike and elbows intact.
A few times I needed a helping hand from assistants standing at the apex of the bend as I learned the ropes and endured a few wobbles.
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But I was soon going round and round repeatedly in front of a mass of people who had gathered to see the likes of me and Waveney District Council opposite group leader Sonia Barker have a go.
Soon the organisers felt I was up to a decent enough standard to have a race against Beach Radio presenter Paul Carter (above).
Sadly, he'd got the hang of it rather better than me and, despite a few high turns, eased to a comfortable victory. But for me, the victory truly was the sense of achievement at being able to do something that only 15 minutes before had looked impossibly daunting.
With a few more attempts, I'm sure I'd be able to go a bit faster and maybe even give Paul a run for his money. For now though, I settle for not falling off - and a slightly more gentle cycle ride along the Lowestoft seafront.