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How hard can it be? Journal editor tries out Street Velodrome

Journal editor Andrew Papworth takes on the Street Velodrome as part of the Lowestoft Summer Festival

Journal editor Andrew Papworth takes on the Street Velodrome as part of the Lowestoft Summer Festival

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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.

Journal editor Andrew Papworth takes on the Street Velodrome as part of the Lowestoft Summer FestivalJournal editor Andrew Papworth takes on the Street Velodrome as part of the Lowestoft Summer Festival

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.

Journal editor Andrew Papworth takes on the Street Velodrome as part of the Lowestoft Summer FestivalJournal editor Andrew Papworth takes on the Street Velodrome as part of the Lowestoft Summer Festival

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.

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.


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